Monday, December 22, 2014

Preserving views - some thoughts on history and heritage

Much has been written about the Rizal Monument in Manila and the view of the monument being ruined by the construction of a high-rise condominium behind Rizal Park. While it is a very sensitive issue to many people especially those who are concerned with heritage conservation, some people tend to take the issue for granted; likely due to an ignorance or the utter lack of appreciation for history and heritage. So when I had the chance to take some photos of the monument I did so even though it was just a quick pass along Roxas Boulevard on board a vehicle.

A photo of the Rizal monument as we traveled along the northbound side of Roxas Boulevard
Another photo of the monument moments after the previous one and showing DMCI's Torre de Manila in the background
While the approval of the high rise condominium speaks volumes about how bad land use or zoning controls are not just in Manila but in many parts of the Philippines, it also says a lot about contractors, architects and planners in this country. Perhaps this is indicative of the times with people generally not giving a damn about history and heritage? Are people in general and professionals like architects and engineers in particular needing more education about history and heritage conservation?

I also chanced upon another view that was ruined by the same condominium. The same condo can clearly be seen in the background of what is an iconic view of Manila City Hall's clock tower. I don't have a photo of it yet but I will likely get one the next time I pass by the area. This is basically the same if not a worse case compared to the high rise condo behind Quezon City Hall, which for a long time remained unfinished due to many issues that hounded the developers. Have we learned our lessons from these experiences or shall the same mistakes be made once again elsewhere?

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