A Peek at the New Army and Navy Club

It’s been a long time since the Urban Roamer talked about the Army and Navy Club. If you missed it, you can check it out here. Since then, things have quieted down a bit, especially after the controversy that erupted regarding this building more than a couple of years ago.

Now, it seems the work on the renovation/restoration (sort of) of the Army and Navy Club is almost complete and we can finally what has been done to the building, for the most part at least. Was the work faithful to the original structure? Were there any abominable changes made? Let’s find out.

First things first, the edifice has been kept largely intact so it still basically retained the same layout as the original Army and Navy Club building. It is also noticeable that the trees that used to cover the structure have mostly been removed, or maybe it’s just the leaves that grew so much that it covered the structure, have been removed. Those people can now better appreciate its architecture.

With that said, the renovated Army and Navy Club made one significant change over the original, at least from what can be observed on the facade. It is that the second level windows are smaller compared to the original. To give you a better idea, below is the photo of the original Army and Navy Club:

image courtesy of NHCP Historic Sites blogspot site

And here is the renovated building:

From what I’ve gathered, the change was made so there will not be too much sunlight coming in to the building which would generate more heat than needed. Especially now in the time of climate change when the temperatures are now higher than they were a century ago. Honestly, while I understand that reasoning, maybe there could have been other ways to go with this. They could at least made the windows a bit bigger like somewhere between the original size and what we got today as a compromise. Instead the small windows somewhat “cheapens” the building, given its legacy. Then again, that’s just a cranky heritage geek talking.

Another thing that caught this roamer’s attention is the ongoing construction of a building at the back of the Army and Navy Club. I cannot be certain if this building will serve as a expansion of the original structure or if this structure is actually of the United States Embassy complex which is actually just behind the building. Perhaps some of you may know.

For now, I will withhold final judgment with regards to the work done to this building until it opens to the public. Unfortunately, no specific date has been given as to when that will be. For now though, the work so far has been interesting and the developers strived to stay true to the building’s architecture and history, for the most part at least. This makes it more interesting to see what the new Army and Navy Club Building has to offer once it reopens to the public.



A Monument Mural For Manila’s Hero

Bonifacio Day is around the corner, and the Urban Roamer would not be remiss if we do not pay tribute to the memory of this great and tragic figure in our history.

In the past Bonifacio Day editions of this site, the Urban Roamer has already visited the famed Monumento in Caloocan, the Bahay Nakpil-Bautista where his widow lived, and the Museo ng Katipunan in San Juan. For this year’s Bonifacio Day edition, it is time we look at another famed Bonifacio landmark in the City of Manila.

I am of course talking about the Bonifacio Monument and Mural located at Mehan Garden, right across the Manila City Hall.

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Remembering Leon Maria Guerrero

With so much buzz going on at this time of writing regarding the Philippines’ new foreign policy direction (which is, at the very least, leaning away from a traditional pro-US stance) as stated by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, the Urban Roamer can’t help but be reminded of a figure in our history who, more than 60 years ago, held a somewhat similar view on what the Philippines’ foreign policy should be.

And for this story, we shall be roaming to the area around Plaza Nuestra Señora de Guia in Ermita, Manila, where this story began about 101 years ago.

Plaza Nuestra Señora de Guia, Ermita, Manila

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A Home For Philippine Cinema: Cinematheque Centre Manila

The story of Philippine cinema is one of the most interesting, a lot of times tragic, stories out there in the realm of world cinema. Back in the day, Philippine cinema was one of the pioneering film industries in Asia, churning out hundreds of film every year during the 1950s to the early 1960s (the First Golden Age of Philippine Cinema) to a constant output of quality films during the 1970s to early 1980s. (the Second Golden Age of Philippine Cinema) Today, Philippine cinema is struggling to get up on its feet once again in the midst of various problems such as piracy, low output, and thousands of films made in the past that are now lost thanks to a lack of a national film archive.

In the midst of these problems, it is good to know that at least one of these issues has now been addressed: a facility for a national film archive that would help preserve some of the remaining gems of Philippine cinema (some surviving films are in the possession of ABS-CBN’s film archives, FYI) as well as a place that Philippine cinema can call its own: the Cinematheque Centre of the FDCP or Film Development Council of the Philippines.

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Protestantism in the Metropolis: Central United Methodist Church In Manila

More often than not, when we talk about Manila’s faith heritage, we talk about the city’s Catholic heritage. That should not be a surprise given that Catholicism is pretty much ingrained in our culture since the Spanish colonial period and that Manila, Intramuros in particular, was the epicenter not only of Catholicism in the country but in Asia as a whole, with its 7 churches located within the city walls.

Overlooked in all this is the city’s religious heritage beyond Catholic Manila. Granted they are not as old as the Catholic churches, they have an interesting story to tell as well. One of them is the subject of today’s post, the Central United Methodist Church of Manila.

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