Here is one of the reasons our architectural heritage is fast disappearing! We got a copy of an e-mail message which reads...
"Numerous ancestral building materials which are mainly retrieved from old Spanish mansions mostly located in the North as well as other parts of the Philippines are newly arrived. Such items we carry dates back from 15th century, includes all authentic inventory of assorted HARDWOOD PLANKS and BEAMS, ADOBE, BRICK, PIEDRA CHINA, ROOF TILES, FLOOR TILES, ANTIQUE PIECES and many more. Check out this website to see what I am talking about... you will be amazed."
I checked the website at http://www.malatumbaga.com and I was not amazed. I was shocked! The last paragraph in the website gave me the goosebumps. It reads...
"Over the last decade some prominent magazines and newspapers... have featured about our special effort and labor of love for restoration and preservation of antiques and ancestral heritage in the Philippines."
And since when did preserving Philippine heritage mean taking apart centuries-old ancestral mansions to sell for scrap?
We're trying to preserve old structures but if we allow people to buy old building materials, dealers would then scavenge for rundown or possibly even well-maintained heritage buildings and take them to pieces in order to meet the demand. In fact, the statement "Let me help you find those pieces that will add character, beauty, and personality to your project!" says it all. It's tantamount to saying "Let me find a heritage structure to take apart so that I could find you those pieces that you need."
I say this for all dealers of old house parts in general. I'd salute these companies if they instead promoted the use of replicas of old house parts rather than the originals.