September massacre

THOSE who love Manila, ex-Pearl of the Orient, and appreciate the uniqueness of its urban fabric and personality will never forget the September, 2014, massacres. In the space of 30 days, we Filipinos lost the Army & Navy Club, the Admiral Apartments, and the vista corridor of the Rizal Park. What unspeakable scandalous, criminal destruction of our built heritage!

Last August, the affable Mr. Johnny Litton invited me to the presentation of the Admiral Bay Suites, that mammoth anti-aesthetic skyscraper on Roxas Boulevard. Mr. Litton assured me that Anchor Land Holdings, Inc., the project proponent, will conserve the original Admiral Apartments and make it an integral part of their pharaoh-nic development. I could hardly believe that finally there is a developer with a sense of history.

During that event, held at the Boracay room of the Sofitel Hotel, I met Isidra Reyes who gave a well-researched, impressive powerpoint presentation highlighting the Admiral’s historical value,

But soon afterwards, Anchor Land Holdings DEMOLISHED the Admiral Apartments! What happened? The unheralded massacre provoked the fury, not only of heritage conservationists, but also of the general public, especially those who know Manila by heart. I called Johnny Litton; he was at a loss for words.

Here are excerpts of Ms. Reyes statement on the Admiral massacre: Dr. Salvador Z. Araneta and his wife Victoria Lopez, proprietors of the heritage Admiral Apartments, were very significant personalities in Philippine business, polities, education, and philanthropy. Several books have been written about this exemplary Filipino couple; a postage stamp was even issued on the centenary of Dr. Salvador Araneta’s birthday accompanied by a biographical essay extolling his contributions to the country as a public servant, an eminent constitutionalist, educator, economist, and businessman. Mrs. Araneta was herself a prominent figure. (more)