Monday, July 23, 2012

Sites In The Book: Manila Central Post Office

"Little puffs of smoke danced on the neoclassical facade."

One of the most beautiful buildings that survived World War Two is the Manila Central Post Office. Built in the 1920s by Juan M. Arellano, the building resembles the grand post offices found in Chicago and New York. This is not an accident, as the Americans wanted Manila to reflect their own image. 

The photo you see here was taken just after the battle and it was basically just a burnt out shell, but was still standing. Amazingly, other government buildings still stood after the battle. The reason for this is because they were built with the strongest materials available, to be earthquake proof. (Reinforced concrete is as hard as stone.) This would prove to be a big problem for the American GIs when they were trying to flush out the Japanese fighters hidden inside.

Soon after the war, the Post Office was restored and up until this posting in 2012, still goes about the daily routine of delivering the mail. Recently however, there has been talk of converting this icon into a 5 star hotel. I do not like this idea because it would limit access to the public. Only the elite would be able to walk its halls. A cultural icon such this deserves better treatment. If the Manila Central Post Office is now redundant, wouldn't it make better sense to convert it into a museum? Perhaps a museum dedicated to the Battle of Manila?

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