Saturday, 30 January 2016

"Quo Vadis Manila?"

"Quo Vadis Manila?"

(based from a post from Paulo Alcazaren)

"Manila used to host dramatic cinematic capitols and elegant centers of capital. Today they are crumbling to a slow death by negligence, or shrouded to hide their impending demise from within. We cannot do without our heritage of architecture. We cannot be a capital of culture if we erase masterpieces of the past, the creative output of previous generations of Filipinos, the inspiration for new generations. Quo vadis Manila?"

- Paulo Alcazaren

Well, regardless of what the system has allegedly "trying" to "preserve heritage" and "identity" in that metropolis, the continuous degeneration brought  by that same system's unbridled "development" has almost turned Manila into a whorehouse if not a dump of cultural garbage.


From these pictures featuring its old yet remarkable buildings rotting and waiting to be demolished (or already demolished), and at the same time seeing new yet shorn of significance (except commercialism) rising from its ruins, Manila has changed its outmost appearance, and yet still yearning for its once-cherished grandeur as the "Pearl of the Orient."

Quite awkward, if not strange to see how most its contemporary heritage, be it pre or post war has been neglected much by its citizens whilst favouring unbridled commercialism "in the name of progress", yet trying to be a capital of culture with some of its remaining edifices being preserved most likely for "showcasing Filipino culture" in case of old churches like Quiapo or San Sebastian, Spanish-era houses like those from Intramuros, and few pre and post war buildings situated in the main arteries like Roxas Boulevard or AgriFina circle.

Source: Flcikr
Source: Edgar Allan Sembrano
But how about the really neglected ones? Lucky that the Metropolitan Theatre that it has been cleaned and restored. But how about the Capitol Theatre? The abandoned Philippine National Bank building at Escolta? The HongKong and Shanghai Banking Corporation building? PhilBanking at Anda circle? VeterBank at Bonifacio drive? Or the well-known El Hogar whose 'attempt for demolition' had been stopped by a temporary restraining order? 
Such degeneracy that has been tolerated by the system has made these buildings feel really neglected, deteriorating, till enough to be demolished and be justified by bullshit such as old, dilapidating, hopeless to be preserved, anything whatsoever that obviously having a“lack of vision” coming from both national and local governments. What more of values that has been sacrificed in favour of mere material benefits such as those politicians who pocketed enough funds in exchange for letting these so-called "developers" destroying anything significant to assert their pseudo-developmentalist fantasies.

And these fantasies has less to do with uplifting the people. After all, does these working-class families lived in those high-rises? Nope. 

Anyways, despite all these shit the system has greatly done and still doing, there's still hope that awaits for everyone. Especially to those who are really clinging to its deep yet healthy roots that made a society surviving throughout those times and never being left as it really being cherished as such.