The other day as I was heading down to Fort Santiago along Roxas Boulevard, i noticed that there were several billboards on the front lawn of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. An unusual sight as the CCP lawn was normally kept clear so that people would have an unobstructed view of the facade of the CCP, the fountains and the long sweeping driveway leading up to the entrance of the main hall. It wasn’t just one billboard but a whole slew of them blocking the view and causing an eyesore. Upon closer inspection I was quite surprised to see the contents of the billboards themselves–it said quite plainly ” On this site will rise xxxxx condominiums” !!! What!!?? Imagine the shock, surprise and indignation that went through my mind as the prospect of having yet another row of eyesore condominiums spring up in the Metro and not only that, it was going to be placed right in front of the CCP!!
All I could think of was–whose brain-fart is this? Another fine example of Government’s Urban Planning; or lack thereof. Also, are we so poor and desperate that we need to sell off part of our nation’s cultural heritage–aren’t we supposed to be in a strong growth cycle just now (until the next political genius throws a monkey-wrench in the works). So why the need to sell the lot? I’m in the hope that maybe it’s all just a stupid joke and the sale will be rescinded.
Other countries in the Asian region have a very strong preservation ethic when it comes to their historical and cultural structures–countries such as Malaysia, Singapore and even ultra-modern Japan know the value of preserving their old buildings. Old buildings lend a charm and character to any area that they’re found. A living historical record which is hard to recapture once gone.
So take heed ; not only is Manila in crisis from the trash in it’s streets and the pollution from buses and jeepneys and it’s general disarray, it also stands to have one of it’s greatest icons defaced.