The State of Philippine Heritage

As long-time readers and those who long been following the Urban Roamer would know, I have long been appreciating heritage. Over the years, I have been fortunate to meet a number of people who are passionate about it as well, thus helping me expand my knowledge and appreciation about our heritage and somehow become part of a continuing struggle to preserve what is left.

That struggle, sadly, is an uphill battle that is not easy to win. In fact, a number of these battles turned out to be bitter and devastating defeats on the part of heritage. While it is easy to pinpoint blame as to who are responsible for such sorry state our heritage is facing at the moment, let’s take a look closer as we find out that addressing these issues is not as simple as it seems. With that said, let’s first look at the situation we have right now.

the recent issue regarding the demolition of Admiral Hotel reflects the sad and endangered state Philippine heritage is facing at the moment

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Santa Ana Revisited

It has been a while since the Urban Roamer last visited the historic district of Santa Ana in Manila. At that time, the series was written based on the Urban Roamer’s scant knowledge of district as gathered from third party sources.

Over time, I have gotten to learn some new things about this district, most especially recently thanks to my interaction with people who know a great deal about the district itself, not to mention the opportunity to explore more in depth at least parts of it thanks to my work as a volunteer for the Cultural Heritage Mapping Project of Wikimedia Philippines supported by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.

That opportunity came in the occasion of a recent Wikiexpedition  (not to be confused with the one) which was focused on mapping the different heritage landmarks around the district, also known as a whole as the Santa Ana Heritage Zone. Volunteers were assigned a specific part of the district to map out and document, not to mention explore some other sights along the way. Continue reading


The Admiral Hotel and Anchor Land’s Deception

Lately, Philippine heritage, most especially Manila heritage, has come under attack no less thanks to big developers who aim to “redevelop” those structures into something more…modern and commercially viable. And unfortunately in a number of cases, “redevelopment” for them means: “we’ll tear this old, historic building down and build something modern that is devoid of historic value, heritage be damned.”

That may be the way of thinking developer Anchor Land has when it has decided to demolish the almost 80-year old Admiral Hotel and build a new structure which would be a boutique hotel that will, in their words, “keep its heritage alive and ensure that it remains as a historical landmark.”

To which I say, SCREW YOU, ANCHOR LAND!!!

Okay, I am getting myself ahead of the story. So, allow me to delve deeper into this matter.

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Reviving Quiapo’s Heritage: The Story of the Padilla House

It has often been stressed here and in other sites that Manila’s Quiapo district is like a diamond in the mud. There are so many beauty to be discovered in the midst of the urban decay which sadly permeates this part of the city. Nevertheless, there are some reasons to be hopeful for Quiapo, with the presence of preserved landmarks like the Bahay Nakpil-Bautista, the ongoing efforts to restore Kasa Boix, and a revived heritage structure which the Urban Roamer will be writing about today, the Padilla House.

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The Philippine Heritage Mapping Workshop and the 1st WikiExpedition in Manila

It was a fulfilling, though tiring and sleep-deprived 3 days from May 2-4 at the Wikimedia Philippines Cultural Heritage Mapping workshop that I was fortunate and privileged to attend.  My thanks again to the people of Wikimedia Philippines, especially the people behind the Philippine Cultural Heritage Mapping project headed by Joel Aldor, for organizing this 1st ever workshop event.


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