Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Manila: Save the Avenue Theatre and Hotel

Manila was the second most devastated city after the Second World War. Most of the architectural heritage that earned for us the moniker "Pearl of the Orient" was lost in the hostilities. With so little left, we must thus endeavor to preserve what is left of our heritage. It is thus sad to hear that so many heritage structures are lost at such an alarming rate.

I got this from the Heritage Conservation Society: "For those who would like to save this heritage structure, you can call or fax a complaint to Mayor Lito Atienza at 5276063 or 5274991 or send an e-mail at mayor_atienza@cityofmanila.com.ph.

"This building was designed by National Artist for Architecture, Juan F. Nakpil in the 1930s with 1950s renovation of the same. It is among those buildings with a hotel, office space, and theatre. For those who are not familiar of it's location, it is along Avenida Rizal corner Soler, beside National Bookstore."

At the right is a photo of Avenue Theatre, a proof that it did surive the Second World War! It had survived this long. What a pity if we allow it to go down just like that.

Visit "Heritage Watch," a forum website, for more information...

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  1. Anonymous23.5.06

    Sigh. I have stopped crying because my tears have run out.

  2. Anonymous24.5.06


    Has there been any interests in the Philippines to convert old structures which have historical importance to residential lofts/condos?

    Downtown Los Angeles in the US have converted most of the old buildings/factories into residential lofts. The theatre district also is slowly developing/transitioning into a residential neighborhood.

    Here in Orange County, downtown Santa Ana which is pre-dominantly hispanic has slowly converted part of their downtown into an Artist's Village.

  3. Hi John, sad to say, Mayor Atienza's Buhayin ang MayniLA does the opposite. He did pedestrianize Avenida but is allowing the demolition of this heritage structure, one of the structures which gives character to the place. How ironic!

  4. Anonymous24.5.06

    Ivan - I am all in favor of saving heritage buildings such as the Avenue...but with Mayor Atienza's record for "saving heritage"...doubt my opinion would carry any weight. Witness wanton destruction of Jai Alai building, "to built new Courts.." and to date it is a hole in the ground! - and his determination to obliterate Arroceros park....and what he has allowed to happen to the landmark Army Navy Club...the grounds are a tacky mess of fast food places and the beautiful old historic building is being allowed to molder until it will just fall down...and he can put up a casino... But keep up the fight!!

  5. Nice work on your advocacy. Saw an item on the upsilon.com website announcing your achievements. Now, these endangered articles of heritage are just the hard elements of what is broadly called culture, but wouldn't it also be nice to pay close attention to the "soft elements", i.e. other cultural artifacts like song, dance and even items of what is generically called folk wisdom (knowledge)? To see what I mean, you may wish to read my paper about it. Looking forward to your thoughts on this.

  6. That is right, there are intangible aspects of heritage definitely worth preserving. Although I've focused my advocacy on architectural heritage now since I believe we need to focus to be more efficient and effective. And there are other NGOs and individuals who are also focused on intangible heritage.

  7. just like the Luneta Hotel in Kalaw... it survived WW2 but will it survive the decay of this century??

  8. Anonymous30.5.06

    this makes us appreciate history so much more.

  9. Anonymous30.5.06

    it may be difficult but still very possible.

  10. Very, very sad! When I see the level of decay in most of the old buildings I don't think many of them will survive!
    Most pople think about short time profits and not about their legacy to the next generations...
    Sad indeed!

  11. Anonymous22.5.07

    I am an amateur "researcher" writing a history of my father's service in the US Army in the pacific during WWII. While I was working on the internet (amateur here too) I saw a picture that at first only bothered me intellectually and saw no use for it in Dad's narrative, but now at the conclusion of his story I would like to use the photo. I can't remember where it was and have spent many hours staring at photos on various sites. So I am desperate, that is why I am trying this approach: The picture is of a dead Japanese soldiers lying in the front left foreground of the photo with a nun and companion(s) walking past seemingly undisturbed on the right middle ground of the photo. I believe the photo was taken in the Philippines (possibly Baguio or Dagupan). Could you have seen this photo?
    Mark Bennett markbennett@frontiernet.net


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