In a dark room where sleep is only welcome, I couldn’t sleep due to existing mind preoccupations. There I was looking back at old buildings in Manila, & the ones that took over their site.
My interest was sparked at the perspective of the deceased Rizal Theater where Makati Shangrila now stand. It is the creation of Juan Nakpil, an National Artist for Architecture. I didn’t clicked anything, but I was curious of some unknown reason. Its beauty perhaps? What made me more interested is the excerpted captions in one the engine results. The Rizal Theater closed permanently because the moviegoers lessened to the point where the owner of this masterpiece thought that maybe it didn’t have use anymore. Why did the moviegoers lessened in the first place? They preferred the cinemas inside the malls.
During this time when Nakpil’s contribution was to be demolished, the land acquisitions of historical sites were on sale. They will develop this lands that they will endorse as inviting places for all walks of life, but the truth is only for the ruling class. Of course, they will also add that the design inspiration will come from the former occupant for ‘respectful’ gestures. Let’s face it, the models in the ads wear expensive outfits that the ‘masa’ do not usually have, & at most times foreign models are used instead of Pinoys. Take note: majority of old historical buildings are designed by fellow Filipinos of Juan Nakpil. Those developers who took over heeded the advice of international consultants, contrary of the plea of Ar. Nakpil to the government to employ Filipino designers in nation building.
This is the point where I was urged to do something.
As a person without degree or power, I can just use my words to capture the hearts of Filipinos. Earlier, I was on a point of giving up my career – and getting tired of thinking of working for my whole life without achieving anything worthy. I couldn’t sleep, and I couldn’t sleep more of thinking that there are some things that should be thought over. Here’s the thing: I like the idea of having everything in one place. Personally, I easily become tired of having to commute from one place to another because of my wants & needs. I guess this is one of the reasons of the ex-moviegoers of Rizal Theater back then. They want accessible places in one place. In my past internship with a prominent firm inAyala, I was also asked to detail a mixed-used development where the Manila Jockey Club once where – another mixed-used development that will primarily serve the upper middle class.
It’s a clever strategy, but don’t you think that human beings are more prone to life-threatening diseases because of instant solutions? They tend to not walk very far because they are lazy, & this case applies including to food. My mentor once said that modernization is applicable, but we have to analyze the past design because maybe it is what is appropriate for the country’s condition.
I feel sadder because there was not enough persuasion from someone credible enough to deliver back then, maybe there are a lot of persons or places who were saved. Civilization sped up and people are forced to go with the flow without having the chance to think if it was the right thing to do. Although the increasing population demands towers to be built, maybe it is still respectable to retain buildings with single purposes. I just want people power be used by thinking things over before mindless actions- that sometimes take being selfless every once in a while.
Maybe at this time, I can sleep.
Photos: Jay Ramos, Jerms Estrada, and Agoda.com