Contact Us
Century International Hotels



RP architecture as tourism destinations
Source: Manila Bulletin
Author: B. Carreon
Date: 0000-12-11
This article is not entirely an examination of things past, of old structures destroyed by human and natural forces, of buildings left to rot and crumble. Far from it. This article tells of a progression, an evolution of styles befitting the changing times. They are at one point fortress-like, dark and solid; frail and skeletal even playful on the other end. Notwithstanding the architectural maxim: Form follows function. Hence, they are visually appealing, and those with histories are all the more interesting. Their tourism component easily sighted. Testaments of human skills.

Although the Romans were imitative of Greek forms, of their distinct contribution is the thermae or bath. They were social places complete with the facilities present in modern spas. Massage rooms, gyms, steambaths, Jacuzzis and sauna which in those days was called laconicum. Also unmistakably Roman are triumphal arches which are in homage to soldiers who were successful in conquering new land in addition to the empire. Similar in structure and form is the Arch of the Centuries at the University of Santo Tomas, the oldest university in the Philippines. There is not much literature on the arch so it is difficult to validate nor nullify the claim that it is indeed a triumphal arch. It served as monumental entrance during the time when the campus was still confined within the walls of Intramuros. When the university was moved to its present location in Espaņa, the arch was also transferred to symbolize all the students who passed through it, among whom were national hero Dr. Jose Rizal and President Manuel Quezon.

The Luneta Hotel is something not to be missed. It may have been long abandoned and may be a constant topic of talks on demolition; its beauty is only slightly tainted. It boasts of French Renaissance design highlighted by dormer windows within mansart roofs. The interval of semi-circular and pedimented windows and the ornate grillwork fencing the balcony are also reflective of the design period. As if taking similar cue is a multi-story residential building in the heart of Makati. The dormer window and the mansart roof are present. The iron grillwork is almost identical. What is interesting to note is that they are like twin structures, although time separates them, but if one were to look closely, their location (old and new business districts) and purpose is shared.

It is perhaps because of an associated nobility and romantic interludes that Camelot Hotel was designed as castle. Castles were first built as forms of defense during the medieval times. Romanesque to be specific. But the pinnacles of this period were the cathedrals which rose majestically. The Manila Cathedral is a good example. It follows the Latin Cross plan with a nave and twin aisles on each side. There are pier columns supporting a triforium arch. The portals are formed by an excessive series of round arches. The Cathedral houses a crypt for all archbishops of Manila.

Being the first all-steel church and the second all-iron structure next to the Eiffel Tower, the San Sebastian Church follows Gothic architecture but unlike the famed Cathedral of Notre Dame, it does away with the flying buttresses. Instead the upright buttresses were crowned with double pinnacles. The parts were pre-fabricated and manufactured in Belgium. Inside are pier columns forming fan vaults. Pointed arches, rose windows, trefoil and stained glass typical of Gothic cathedrals. San Beda College also took inspiration from this architectural style as evident in the pointed arches lining up its facade and the tracery patterns.

In 1863, a catastrophic earthquake destroyed most of what we now classify as century-old churches. Malate Church endured the great fire of 1910, the bombing of the Second World War and a major typhoon in 1970 which blew off a big portion of the roof. There was a time when the roof over the nave was made of tile and the one above the aisles of iron sheets. The Solomonic columns on the second story are good example of Baroque architecture. The heavily gilding and application of c-curves in its blessed sacrament are also features of Baroque. C and S curves plus scrolled buttresses classify the church-turned museum in Villa Escudero in Quezon Province as Baroque, it now houses religious images, national costumes and souvenirs from travels of the Escudero clan.

[ San Sebastian Cathedral Wiki | Manila Cathedral Wiki ]


Indonesia Thailand USA Europe Canada Hong Kong Philippines