Calle De La Escolta: Travel Back In Time For A Day
It is an exciting time to be in Manila. It seems like there are revolutions happening all over the place by young activists who want more for their city. I use the term revolutionary because these bold individuals are transforming industries. I have been fortunate enough to witness creative revolutions lead by artists like Mansy Abesamis, Robert Alejandro, Art Fair Philippines, National Museums, Carlos Celdran, Chef Miko Aspiras, Kristina Sy, Nica and Kayo Cosio and so many more! These inspiring Filipinos are leading a revolution to give more to the people of Manila through creativity and design, and they are not the only ones. There is a revivalist movement happening in Escolta to jump start and preserve a rich part of Manila's history. I explored Escolta for a short afternoon and could feel the beginning of a new wave movement.
Small museum in First United Building
Escolta Street is a historic east-west street located in the old downtown district of Binondo. It runs parallel to the Pasig River, from Plaza Santa Cruz to Plaza Moraga and Quintin Paredes Street. The street is home to several fine examples of early skyscraper design in the Philippines. In Spanish, it is known as calle de la Escolta. Its definition as a historic financial district includes Escolta and other surrounding streets of Binondo and Santa Cruz. [salamat wikipedia.]
This particular afternoon I let Real Living's article on Escolta guide me. Interiors have always inspired me, I might as well let exteriors have a turn. First up, the Calvo Building and time capsule of a museum. The Calvo Building was erected in 1938 and still stands today despite the wars that raged through Manila. Manila has been robbed of so much at the hands of others, this is a really cool place to be and see structures that have stood through those perilous times.
HISTORIC CALVO BUILDING HAS A MUSUEM LOCATED ON THE SECOND FLOOR. YOU WILL FIND HISTORICAL PHOTOGRAPHS AND ANTIQUE GLASS BOTTLES OF ALL DIFFERENT KINDS. DON'T EXPECT A LOT BUT IF YOU'RE IN THE AREA IT IS WORTH A VISIT EVEN IF JUST FOR THE NOSTALGIA.
The First United Building received a breath of new life and a name make-over, the Hub|Make Lab a revivalists dream. The Hub|Make Lab is a jumpstart to cultivate young artists, artisans, entrepreneurs, creators and the like. There is a small bazaar, art exhibit and some other odds and ends. I am absolutely appreciative of the movement and hope they continue to add more effort to the place. It felt more like it was on soft opening as opposed to the hustle and bustle I had hoped for. Still worth a visit, in fact for it to continue to get better they need more patrons and members of the community!
In passing I walked by the Manila International Peace Center and was intrigued by it's name. I couldn't find much information on the organization and would love to know more. If you know anything please do share, salamat!
And now, the iconic futuristic building in Esctola aka The Commercial Bank and Trust Company Building. As I looked upon it I imagined the streets lined with busy professionals making their way from point A to point B in classic attire from the 1950's. I bet it was such an exciting time to be a part of the Escolta era. Since I have only been in Manila since 2009 I am captivated by previous ages of Manila that I never knew or even some I have never thought about. Manila has such a rich history.
At the start of my walk through Escolta I found this tarpaulin so helpful posted on one of the buildings under construction. The map was very helpful but what I found most beneficial is that someone took the time to compile a map and hang it - this shows they care! They want people to learn about Escolta and understand and enjoy Manila a little bit more. Good job people!
When visiting Escolta, don't expect anything over the top. The museums are more like a small exhibit but still worth a visit for their history, plus they are so cheap. Also remember that it was just in the last few years that people have really tried to revive Escolta. Be patient and enjoy it for what it is, a cool historical block in old town Manila.