With dilapidated buildings, a high crime rate and a chaotic traffic situation, it’s hard to imagine that Manila was once called the “Paris of the East.”
The good news? Officials of the National Commission for Culture and Arts and Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada want to give us a taste of Manila’s glory days.
The three-year project starts with the PHP270-million rehabilitation of Metropolitan Theater on the corner of Padre Burgos Avenue and Arroceros Street.
The Met project sounds very ambitious with a PHP43 million budget for the design and preconstruction works and a PHP227-million budget for restoration works from the NCAA.
“We have to obligate the funds before the end of the year…we are doing the comprehensive plans since April. It’s very complicated because of the level of deterioration. We aim to bid out the actual construction by October,” said consulting architect Gerald Lico.
Surrounding areas will also be rehabilitated: Spanish-era shop houses in Quiapo and Binondo and San Nicolas will be restored.
The project also includes the renovation of the Park ‘N Ride terminal beside The Met and the revival of the Escolta-Intramuros boardwalk along Pasig River; and the restoration of Plaza Del Carmen and San Sebastian Church, Manila Bulletin reports.
“When it was being constructed, it was envisioned as a people’s theater and that is our intention in rehabilitating The Met…but there is already the new media so we will reinvent it to showcase the best of culture and arts. We will also encourage students to perform here that will be subsidized by the government,” Lico added.
Pedestrianization of the landmark is also an important aspect of the project. The plan includes linking The Met with Central Station of LRT 1 parking space and construct a terminal for jeepneys.
According to the plans, the Post Office Building and Intramuros at Liwasang Bonifacio will be reconstructed once the restoration work with the Metropolitan Theater is completed.