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Monday, May 26, 2014

A Free Guided Philippine Postal Heritage Walking Tour-Escolta

There are groups of concern citizens who are trying to awaken the patriotism among the Filipinos by giving free tour and lectures on the Philippine Heritage thru post stamps and key historical buildings around Manila. I and my sister joined it twice the first one was the Philippine Postal Heritage walking tour-Intramuros and the last one was the Philippine Postal Heritage walking tour-Escolta.

Every third Sunday of the month this Philippine Postal Heritage walking tour is being held. Those who are interested you can visit their website.

The tour is from 12:00pm till night. No specific time to finish, it depends upon the weather and the participants too. We arrived in Andres Bonifacio Monument in Liwasang Bonifacio at 12:30. It  is the usual meeting place and it’s the place where the tour starts. We were just on time the tour was about to start. The tour guide was Rence Chan.

Manila Central Post Office Building was our next stop. There we were given a free starter kit in collecting stamps and there was a lecture too on understanding the post stamps as part of the Nation’s heritage, history and building the nation.

Inside the building there were group  of collectors having auction, postal exhibit and photo shoot. It was a busy building at that day. Before we left the Manila Central Post Office building we were asked to give small amount to help the Arroceros Forest Park.

After the lecture we proceed to Arroceros Park. I didn’t know that there is a park in the heart of Manila City. Inside the park is where the Department of Education’s Division of City Schools Manila. It was named Arroceros because in this area the rice trade was being held between foreign traders and the locals. Before it was a huge forest park but as time goes on and as the city’s leaders changes the forest park area became lesser, at the moment it has 1.1 hectares left.  Some area are converted into commercial area. There are wild birds, snakes and other animals and insects inside this park. It will be of great help to maintain the cleanliness of the city’s air, to  prevent more smog  and to maintain the ecosystem as well. Hope the local leaders to have that political will to make the people’s welfare on top everything.

Manila Metropolitan theater also known as MET was our next stop. It was one of the theaters during the Spanish colonial period, where local and foreign artists performed. During the world war II it was slightly destroyed but it was restored in year 1978. Sad to say the building is deteriorating. Hope the concerned institutions can find the solution to restore this beautiful historical building.

When we finished exploring the Manila Metropolitan Theater it was already dusk, the weather was cooler and nice to walk seeing the beautiful Manila. At this time we were asked to give small amount for the guards who help us in our tour.

While we were walking on our way to Escolta we passed by Mc Arthur Monument, Fire Trees, beautiful landscape of Manila. Manila is a beautiful City, the problem is there are sore to the eyes too like informal settlers, litters,   smell coming from the banks of Pasig River. Hope the government local or national can study and look for the solutions to these problems. Have political will to preserve our nation and its heritage.
This is my first time to appreciate Escolta, during  week days it’s a busy street. The buildings are beautiful although needs restorations and repairs. One of the buildings that we visited was the United First Building, this was the house of the movie outfits before.  RVQ production’s office is there although at that time it was closed so we didn’t see the museum. It was an “epic fail” but it was fun too, we climbed five floors then when we reached the unit it was closed. We were not allowed to use the elevators because its Sunday plus it was just a free tour.

The next building was the Calvo Building. It was built in 1938. It was the first  house of the GMA 7, a television channel. The Calvo Building was the house for prominent recording studios  and companies.  Today in its mezzanine there is an exhibit it is called Escolta Exhibit Hall, where showcases the collection of old music sheets, print ads of Filipino movies,  bottles, pictures and more. We were asked to pay 100.00 pesos per head for the entrance fee.

Our last stop was the Juan Luna E-Services Building. It is still on its renovation,  according to Rence Chan by August there will be no tour allowed in the building for it will be occupied by Business Process Outsourcing Offices. Juan Luna E-Service Building is registered with the National Historical Institute of the Philippines (NHI).   

There are too many beautiful and historical buildings in the City of Manila but there is no much effort to restore  them. Specially the private owned ones, its owner mostly don’t know the importance of these buildings. Hope we still have ample time to think the welfare of our beloved land.

It was a great free tour. We were just talking and laughing all throughout the tour. Relaxing it’s not a pressured tour. No time bound. Participants  can leave the tour anytime.

Kodus to the group of Rence Chan for lending their precious time to conduct free guided tour.

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