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Philippine Architecture Then And Now

(By Augusto Villalon)

The Filipinas Heritage Library recently organized the photography competition "Noon at Ngayon" (Then and Now) on the evolution of Philippine architecture.

Each entry served as a historical witness that compared past and existing conditions of architectural landmarks in the country.

The former Manila Electric Company generating plant located in what was suburban Makati totally gave way to the new Power Plant Mall. All traces of the old plant were replaced with the bland architecture of what today is one of the most luxurious malls in Manila.

Juan Arellano, one of the founding fathers of architecture in the Philippines, completed the Manila Post Office in 1926. The structure was heavily bombed by American shelling against the Japanese during the "Liberation" of Manila in 1945. The structure was completely rebuilt after World War II.

Years have not been kind to the elegant six-story Luneta Hotel that faces Manila's Rizal Park. The abandoned building has been empty for the past decades.

Basilica del Santo Niño in Cebu City, where the oldest religious icon in the country is enshrined, is one of the country's centers of pilgrimage. A concrete structure to accommodate an overflow of pilgrims who attend a once-yearly religious festival is an empty concrete shell once the festival is over. It replaced an extensive lawn that once was a green refuge in the city center.

The exhibit in September of 2004 demonstrates that a picture is truly worth a thousand words.


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