Monday, 13 March 2017

"Years after seeing a mall replaced the track"

"Years after seeing a mall replaced the track"

(or Notes after remembering the San Lazaro Hippodrome in Manila)

It seems to be too nostalgic for yours truly as he sought pictures of the old San Lazaro Hippodrome.

Now currently replaced by a shopping mall and some high rise buildings inside the once known racing park, San Lazaro Hippodrome has been remembered by many as the place where horseracing enthusiasts as well as bettors went, watch, and bet for horses racing fast from start to the finish line.

And like the earlier article about Makati's own "Santa Ana Park", this person somewhat recalls seeing those buildings that, prior to its demolition, boasted of its classy architecture that also supports its purpose as a racing park. And even making a district synonymous to it.

According to its history, the Manila Jockey Club, owner of San Lazaro Hippodrome, was formed in the summer of 1867 by a group of racing aficionados led by the Spanish Governor-General Jose de la Gandara, and supported by affluent personages sharing the love for horse racing and hence, willing to create a racing park that is, the first in South East Asia.

However, its original site was on Sta. Mesa, wherein an street is named "Hippodromo" after the first race track situated in that district. But years later, it moved to San Lazaro, wherein it lasted for decades until its relocation to a much bigger complex at Carmona, Cavite, and is now called The San Lazaro Leisure Park.
What now stands on its place right on Tayuman and Felix Huertas Streets is SM City San Lazaro Mall. And behind it are two housing development projects — Celedron Park (townhouses) and Avida Towers (high-rise condominium apartments).

Obviously, only few could remember how that building stood by from the commonwealth era down to the early years of the millennium. Very few pics are being shown in various sites as yours truly was searching about the old complex with its art deco exterior prominently featured as well as the field. During this person's childhood days he sought that building as the jeepney passes through San Lazaro district and saw the words "San Lazaro Hippodrome" and "Manila Jockey Club Inc." in its edifice. 
However, with developers, such as Ayala and Henry Sy's SM took over the entire lot, that remarkable art deco edifice, in spite of being considered as an architectural masterpiece was end demolished from top to bottom, and like any other commercial establishments rose nothing but plain simple "modern architecture" that smacks of entirely of commercialism than those of heritage. 

That somehow made heritage groups and nostalgics alike surprised and initially opposed the idea of demolishing the known building. And like themse concered, one would think that the old edifice that had built during the American period and stayed for decades must be preserved for posterity while the rest be developed as any other lot, while others would wanted to see a sports complex to take over so as to meet the demands of Manilans needing a place to engage in sports activities like track and field to football; but, since commercialism dominated much of contemporary Filipino life has resulted to seeing malls taking place of parks as center of activity. 
And at its worst, it requires demolishing it thinking ot has no use or even insisting it as old, ugly, or even irrelevant and unfit to be included in the entire complex's development. SM San Lazaro and Avida towers took place of the known hippodrome, while Circuit Makati took place of Santa Ana Park; both had good, decades-old architectural features meant to be preserved, but since commercialism triumphed, these rather end as pictures if not memories of those who sought, entered, worked, and enjoyed in and out of the building.

But all despite these the commoner thinks that life goes on as time passes by, creating numerous changes and sacrificing one for another. The case of old edifices like San Lazaro, Santa Ana, or even Jai Alai shows that no matter how remarkable the edifice is, it will end under the wrecking ball so long as commercialism and consumerism exists.