Monday, September 04, 2006

Manila: Bravo Makati City!

I don't usually post articles in full here in my blog; but since the Philippine Star website doesn't keep an archive of its past articles, I'm posting this really great article about Makati here. Imagine, if a highly-urbanized city such as Makati thinks this way, then the more other cities and municipalities should!

Makati's other face, the older one, is unknown to most Filipinos since we have always known it as the country's business center. But along the banks of the Pasig River, in the J.P. Rizal and Makati-Pateros Road areas, you'd be surprised to find centuries-old churches and other heritage structures.

Among its built heritage resources are the ruins of the Church of the Nuestra Senora de Gracia in Guadalupe Viejo (above) and the Saints Peter and Paul Church in Barangay Poblacion (right) which when I visited it a few months back, still had an intact interior complete with a wooden retablo and old floor tiles. While driving along the Makati-Pateros Road, I was also suprised to see an old chapel with an unaltered facade! I wonder how it looks inside. Photos are from the Makati City portal.

Unlike many towns and cities which demolish or renovate their old municipal halls, Makati preserved theirs and built a modern one in a different location. Their old municipal hall is now the Museo ng Makati.

But the poblacion and barangays along the Pasig River are not the only ones with heritage structures. Don't forget the Nielson Tower, our old pre-war airport along Makati Avenue which is now the Filipinas Heritage Library, as well as the Manila Polo Club, the Santuario de San Antonio in Forbes Park, and the Sta. Ana Race Track among others. The Makati portal also mentions the Libingan ng mga Bayani and the American Cemetery and Memorial but these sites are now part of Taguig City.

I'm sure you'll be happy reading the article below. Two thumbs up to Makati mayor Jejomar Binay! I hope Manila mayor Lito Atienza follows your noble example.

Makati seeks to rediscover its past
By Michael Punongbayan
The Philippine Star 08/30/2006

The country's financial capital, known for its high-rise buildings and commercial centers, now wants to rediscover its past as it steps back in time to unravel its rich culture and traditions.

The Makati City government, with the help of historians and other experts, has launched a Heritage Conservation Program (HCP), which will retrace, re-learn and help residents appreciate the city's history with the synergy of past and present to foster future growth and development.

Mayor Jejomar Binay said he has foreseen the value of preserving the culture of Makati City anchored in the old adage, "ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makakarating sa paroroonan."

Barangay Poblacion, the historical seat of Makati City's traditions and governance, has been chosen as the pilot barangay where the first Heritage Zone will rise.

To realize this goal, Binay has sought the assistance of Instituto Cervantes' Spanish Program for Cultural Cooperation (SPCC) and the FEATI University.

Dr. Julio Galvan, general coordinator of the SPCC has signed an agreement with Binay, which releases to the city government a P200,000 grant that will help fund the cultural mapping of Barangay Poblacion.

Binay said completing the three-way partnership is Feati University represented by its president Dr. Adolfo Jesus Gopez.

The academic institution will provide cultural experts, professors and a research staff that will conduct the cultural mapping of Barangay Poblacion.

"They will document historical structures and landmarks and ingrained practices and beliefs," Binay announced.

He said a heritage preservation plan will be created from the data gathered by the study group up to November this year.

Binay added that he has assembled a committee composed of representatives from the city government, residents and the private sector to oversee the heritage project.

With the help of Instituto Cervantes and Feati University, he expressed confidence in the program that will relive the past for the people of the present while inspiring future generations.
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