“I don’t have any explanation why the Filipinos are like this…???” and Bambi threw her arms in the air.
After Bambi had spoken, there was an open forum and Mary, a Canadian, asked: “Why don’t the Filipinos establish an organization that will maintain and conserve these historic structures … something like Britain’s ‘National Trust’?”
We all knew that we already had HCS Heritage Conservation Society, of which several in our group were members. But funding so that it could have “teeth and claws” was an entirely different story…
It isn’t just those pine trees in Baguio which everyone is babbling about; the overly emotional public outcry is probably the work of the dirty tricks department of a law or public relations firm in Manila. The beautiful Baguio of old [ Session road, Burnham park, Baguio cathedral, the convents of various religious congregations, elegant mountain villas and gardens in the Leonard Wood area, Wright park, “Mansion House” the presidential summer residence, the original Baguio country club, the American Camp John Hay, etc. ] has long been ruined anyway by political greed, disorganized development, and multitudes of squatters from all over the country. It isn’t like the SM group is committing the gravest sin removing those pine trees; far worse atrocities have already been committed and even more are in the offing. It’s sooooo much else all over the country and inside all of us… Sooooo much of our national heritage has been destroyed, is still being destroyed, and will still be destroyed — all in the name of “progress.” We Filipinos inherited the “disposable” mentality imposed subliminally by our American colonizers: We throw everything away, including ourselves. We have thrown our sense of national identity away in a frenzy of “globalization,” to the extent that our youth now want to emulate our black, Negro brothers — not even in their native Africa — but in hiphop Harlem in New York city, in the United States.
The problem with a lot of the Roman Catholic parish priests, specially those assigned to the heritage churches, is that they sincerely think that what they like for their parish churches is beautiful and suitable, when most of the time, it is exactly the opposite…
Very rare are the likes of Diocese of Cubao Bishop Honesto Ongtioco D.D. who engaged the services of patrician artist Rafael del Casal “carte blanche” to redesign the Immaculate Conception parish church to the Cathedral of Cubao. Both Bishop Ongtioco and Mr. del Casal are gentlemen of uncompromisingly elegant tastes and their collaboration has been exceptional. Combined with the generous funding of Captain Oca and the other benefactors, the result is an absolute artistic marvel unique in these islands [ except for the very few areas where Mr. del Casal was not involved ].
It’s the “Uglification of the Philippines,” and the average Filipino is powerless against it. Poor guy. What he thinks is beautiful is actually ugly by world standards.
Unless the Filipinos of culture and resources act — the intelligentsia, the culturati, and the plutocracy — there will be nary a trace of “Filipino heritage” — whatever little of it remains — in the near future.