I have recently joined Carlos Celdran again in his tours, particulary his Malate-Ermita and Intramuros tours. Yeah, I too hope too see Manila, in my lifetime, back to its old grandeur.
Manila Cathedral used to be the kilometer zero during the Spanish occupation of the Philippines. It symbolized the highest societal power at that time, the Catholic Church.
When the Americans bought the Philippines from Spain, they moved kilometer zero to Luneta Park and named Jose Rizal our National Hero. Originally known as Bagumbayan, Luneta or Rizal Park was where Rizal was executed and his remains enshrined in his monument.
During the Japanese occupation of the Philippines during World War II, San Agustin Church was spared by the bombing of Manila by General Douglas McArthur. It was the only one of the seven churches in Intramuros to remain standing. Built in 1589, it is the oldest stone church in the Philippines and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Surviving World War II, Luneta Hotel is the only remaining example of French Renaissance architecture in the Philippines to date. The whole inside of the building was recently reconstructed, the facade retained and renovated and the historical landmark restored to its original grandeur.
Even as a Filipino, I had negative impressions of Manila. But learning that it was once a great city, just like the lyrics of the song by The Hotdogs, I’ll keep coming back to Manila.