Sunday, March 11, 2012

(krvilla.030612)

Photo taken in a Metro Manila public elementary school near where we used to live.

When my colleagues and I were at the school, I brought one to the back of it to show a mini-park. It still sits there, a quiet witness in the noon-day sun of how that part of the city has transformed.

Gone is the impressive ancestral home, west of the park, of the city's most influential family. Even before the family matriarch passed away some years ago, they built in its place a row of townhouses that bear extra-ordinary scale and proportions than most urban "townhouses."

Across is the compound owned by another family from which members have contributed invaluably to the social sciences and education, art and architecture. Some of the family's descendants were friends of mine back in high school.

The property gate facing the park used to welcome Manila's literary and artistic personages. Inside it was one of the pioneering and most unconventional private galleries to have ever been established in the country and I am proud to be part of its roster of exhibitors. Founders of present-day artist-run spaces acknowledge the gallery as a major influence. It is now hushed.

Nearby the park is the historic church but the solemnity of its facade has been removed by the looming presence of a new high-rise condominium in the background.

Otherwise, some pre-war houses are still along the park perimeter, as are the medium-height park trees that provide shade to the usual vagrants who retire on benches for siesta.

The photo above, however, has its own story. Read it on my first "real" story-entry which I posted on a new awesome site called Cowbird.com here.


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