Amidst the number of modern skyscrapers in Metro Manila, we forget some buildings that are very important to our heritage. One of these buildings is the El Hogar Filipino Building found at Manila’s Binondo District.
While El Hogar has been on a brink of demolition, several efforts, including those from heritage advocates, have been made to save the building, though some of its grillwork have been disassembled by its new owners.
In a modern society, can old buildings like El Hogar thrive? We think it is possible, and we have several reasons why it can blend with modern buildings, and why El Hogar is an important building for our future generation to see.
Its architectural significance
El Hogar is among one of the early skyscrapers found in Manila during the pre-war era. El Hogar is one of the buildings that best exemplify the Beaux-Arts architecture, a form of Neoclassical architecture which blends in elements of French and Italian Baroque designs with Rococo, or late Baroque, elements.
In fact, a good number of buildings in the United States, Canada, and Europe are based on the Beaux-Arts architecture, so it is more than logical enough to retrofit El Hogar building. After all, they were able to retrofit Manila Cathedral to withstand quakes.
Its historical significance
Being built in 1914, there’s a lot of history behind El Hogar. Aside from being a wedding present for Doña Margarita Zóbel y de Ayala by Spanish businessman Don Antonio Melián Pavía, El Hogar also housed prominent companies such as finance cooperative Sociedad El Hogar Filipino, which Melián, Ayala y Compañía, and Smith, Bell and Company.
And the fact that El Hogar survived the bombings during World War II, this shows that the building is indeed a survivor and a witness to history. A little retrofitting and reinforcing would definitely help in preserving the building for decades.
Located at the corner of Juan Luna St. and Muelle dela Industria, El Hogar has to have one of the best views of Pasig River. Being a corner building, one can imagine how nice it is to have an office here during its heyday. In addition, its location is opposite Manila’s Post Office Building, which is also an architectural heritage as well.
If there are efforts to clean up Pasig River over the years, I’m sure preserving El Hogar is indeed possible.
View the original article from Choose Philippines HERE. Banner photo by Duey Guison.