Occupy Escolta Reviving the Queen of the Streets
On May 27, the museum will bring together speakers who have rallied and worked for the revival of Escolta in the forum titled “Occupy Escolta: Reviving the Queen of the Streets” with architect Dominic Galicia, Romel Leal Santiago and 98-B COLLABoratory.
The panel discussion on Escolta Street will narrate Philippine history through the lens of architecture.
This National Heritage Month, the museum recognizes the struggle to preserve structures of the past. With the proliferation of well-funded high rises and mega structures, keeping the relevance of old structures has been an enormous challenge. Heritage structures have been left to deteriorate until they become forgotten objects diminished by vandalism or, worse, until wrecking balls take them apart.
In recent years, many have answered the call to preserve Escolta Street not only by resurrecting its rundown buildings, but also by resuscitating community involvement.
Revitalization efforts such as Occupy Escolta and other projects stemming from Escolta Commercial Association Inc. partnered with the local government to refit buildings, undertake street cleanups and reevaluate street plans. These organizations aid the repurposing of spaces and allowing new tenants to inhabit them. One of these, the First United Building, has become a home to exhibition spaces, cafes and startup offices whose occupants are also advocates of reviving the area.
Programs created by younger stakeholders have brought back attention to Escolta through the exhibitions and programs of 98-B COLLABoratory and Viva Manila’s Escolta Block Party! With tours, film screenings and pop-up stores erupting in the neighborhood, varied crowds occupy the street, proving that revival doesn’t only mean rebuilding physical structures, but also reactivating a more engaged community.
The public programs are sponsored by Gourmet Farms Inc.
. (Story/Photos by: Thea Garing and Yna Musico)