Noong ika-12 ng Hunyo 2015, sa pagdiriwang ng ika-117 anibersaryo ng kasarinlan ng Pilipinas, mapalad ang inyong lingkod na mapili ng Inquirer.net, ang opisyal na website ng pahayagang Philippine Daily Inquirer, ang aking piyesa para sa kanilang Independence Day Essays. Malugod ko pong ibinabahagi sa inyo ito.
For most of us, a street is just a place where people walk or vehicles pass from and to a specific location. But for some, it becomes a silent witness to personal anecdotes or important events that have shaped moments or, sometimes, milestones in history.
Here in Manila, we have streets that are considered historical. Their written or even unrecorded stories make them alive in spirit, but some of them lack government attention, public appreciation and, in some instances, historic preservation. One of these is Escolta, a street which used to be the Philippines’ central business and shopping district.
It was March 2014 when I started volunteering at Escolta. I just felt that with all things I’ve learned as a concerned Manileño, a history lover, a former college editor and a full-fledged volunteer, I know I can contribute to strengthening public awareness for Escolta’s revitalization.
For over a year now, I have been involved in organizing walking tours and events, and extending their presence on social media. These activities encourage everyone to appreciate, contribute and invest in the street and its iconic buildings. I also serve as coordinator between Escolta’s community leaders and institutions that can possibly contribute to its restoration. We’ve just commenced the Escolta Volunteer Arm, an ensemble of students and young professionals who want to volunteer in reactivating Escolta as a creative hub for young Filipinos.
Through vociferous yet civil means, I hope our government will realize that Escolta is worthy of beautification and redevelopment. In time, with all joint efforts, the historic business center will rise as the city’s promising tourist destination alongside Intramuros and Luneta.
Making people aware of the importance of preserving our 444-year-old capital city’s heritage, like Escolta, is the best thing that I have done, so far, for our country.
Published article URL: http://opinion.inquirer.net/85737/there-is-hope-for-manila-in-escolta