10/4/16

Plaza Dilao: The Memory of Paco’s Japanese Community

Note: This is a long overdue entry that was originally planned for last year. I managed to have it published today though the plaza has been affected by the ongoing works of  the Skyway project that it looks different now. We can only hope this plaza will manage to survive and its legacy intact

Plaza Dilao in Manila’s Paco district these days finds itself in an interesting spot. As an open space of sorts, it finds itself being sadly squeezed in between the major traffic chokepoints of Quirino Avenue and the old Quirino Avenue Extension. So apart from the few trees, the sights you mostly get to see are vehicles, especially trucks stuck in traffic, or the sight of the Skyway Project under construction at this time of writing.

As such, it is easy to overlook Plaza Dilao, or just dismiss it as some dull plaza in the middle of congested roads. But who would think that this neglected spot in the city holds so much history, a heritage of a past that connects this city all the way to the Land of the Rising Sun back when it was under the rule of shoguns and daimyos?

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03/9/16

The Two Houses of Jose P. Laurel

Jose P. Laurel has a somewhat mixed legacy for having served as President of the Japanese-sponsored Second Republic from 1943 to 1945. Whatever achievements his administration had were overshadowed by the specter of Japanese control over the country, especially with their “support” for an independent but pro-Japan Philippines, and the horrors of World War II at large, especially towards the end when fighting between the Japanese and the US-led forces brought about much death and destruction to the country. Despite this, he is regarded as a good president who had nothing but the Filipino interests at heart and did what he could in the situation prevailing that time in the face of Japanese control.

President Jose P. Laurel (photo courtesy of Filipiknow)

Interestingly, Laurel is also one of the few personages in history who has a preserved legacy as far as the structures associated with him are concerned, with two houses he has lived in still remain standing in the midst of the rapid urbanization in the metropolis that has brought about a rapid loss of its built heritage. Continue reading

11/8/10

Paco Park: from mournings to weddings

These days, you may find it weird that a park can be situated in an unlikely neighborhood of sorts, surrounded by buildings and commercial establishments, right in the middle of intersecting roads which make it look like a rotunda plaza. Despite how “unfriendly” the site of Paco Park is today, it holds so much historical and cultural value that it has deserved the needed attention and preservation, all the more so now as urbanization and the decay it has brought is a serious threat not only to the park’s landscape but throughout the city as well.

paco park

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