The Terror in Torre de Manila

I doubt it if we’ll ever get rid of DMCI’s Torre de Manila. These guys are buying time—or whatever can be bought. After those senate investigations and all the media attention, after decades of delays brought about by legal technicalities, their construction would slowly creep back in.

Companies like DMCI makes their money from such developments. A friend who bought a “Torre de Manila” unit told me that the condominium was advertised for its proximity to the park. So he and his partner bought one. They’re now regretting their decision. Not because the building turned out to be obstructing the Luneta skyscape but they fear they’ll lose their investment.

Real estate companies are liable only to their stockholders and unit owners—if these two are pleased—they did their job. On the other hand, our local government and its agencies are tasked to catch projects that are disadvantageous to the general public—in this case to a heritage site.

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Well, at least this monument in Calamba is still clear of visual obstructions. But this is not Manila where land deals amounts to the millions.

Some believes that pockets were greased to get this project rolling—this of course is not beyond the realms of possibilities. Let’s no kid ourselves now. Manila city hall are acting like they woke up one day with that horrific building already standing.

Manila’s City Hall together with other Philippines agencies that were suppose to regulate heritage zoning in the capital dropped the ball on this one—as they did in so many other so called land developments that ended up destroying historical sites.

* * *

I decided not to blog about this issue until I see the Rizal shrine with its “photobomber” first hand. Last month I drove pass the monument.

Yes, it did ruin the view—a visiting dignitary offering a wreath to honor Rizal would most likely wonder what’s that obnoxious building is doing behind it!

You know the problem with Manila is that it gets leaders like Lito Atienza, who’s now a lion campaigning against “Torre de Manila” Someone should remind this guy that if he had not ordered the demolition of that historic art deco building called Skydome there would be no Terror de Manila.

He asked for it to be leveled so Manila could build a justice hall or something—what ever happened to that? From a government office to a condominium building!?!

It must be my deviant sense of humor that makes me laugh hard about how these guys’ runs Manila. It is literally a circus that never leaves town.

I don’t know how permits are issued in Manila, who calls the shots, who sits on these meetings? But like many old cities, it does have a zoning plan that’s supposed to safeguard its heritage sites. It is safe to assume that if such a zoning plan is in placed that it is loosely enforced—and I’m being polite here.

Heck, even in Intramuros a building was built not too long ago. It would not surprise me if SM Manila would one day annex parts of the city hall. It seems like everything’s up for grab in Manila for the right price.

* * *

There are some quarters that suggest that there’s nothing wrong with the Torre de Manila condominium towering over the shrine. Some even backs the construction, saying Filipinos are again “over reacting,” Some say that those making a big fuzz out of it are people that never read Rizal.

A former colleague told me that we should accept that development around the area is inevitable. I reminded her that aside from being Rizal’s final resting place the area used to be killing fields for revolutionaries—for me and to countless Filipinos it’s hallowed grounds. I asked her if someone decides to build a house or a public restroom next to her family mausoleum would she allow it? “No,” she said. So why should Filipinos say “yes” to DMCI I replied.

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4 responses to “The Terror in Torre de Manila

  • De AnDA

    Jeez, easy guys.

    Well, that building ain’t no Eiffel. Either they bring it down or they comply with the original agreement, which was to limit it to 17 up to 20 floors.

    I heard from someone who works in Manila City hall that the builders allegedly paid decision makers with fat commissions.

    So money, from the looks of it, was already made, not by Manila but those who runs Manila.

  • Myles Garcia

    I find it’s a big hou-ha over nothing. There are OTHER older, taller buildings on the TM Kalaw side which would also ‘photobomg’ the view. How come those haven’t been targeted? Why is the Torre being singled out? For a selfie view? Oh please, grow up, kids. The monument isn’t even the EXACT spot where Rizal was shot. And the “photobomb” argument is such a specious and effete one.

    As I posted on Senator Pia Cayetano’s Facebook page.. would Rizal, in whose name a lot of the outrage and indignation is being perpetrated, have been that vainglorious as to deny jobs for hundreds of workers and food on the tables of their families–just because the bkgd behind his monument was “marred”? It’s like…what kind of a deity is the prophet Mohammed if he cannot withstand ridicule from a few cartoons? Is the notion of Rizal really that “precious and flimsy” ignoring the general good and commerce that the building…which is TECHNICALLY about a kilometer away…will bring to the area and to Manila’s coffers?

    People forget that the Eiffel Tower was considered a monstrosity when it was first built. Today, it is the beautiful, iconic symbol of Paris. I mean–c’mon, a developing country like the Philippines should have better things to do than get all mussed up with a building in the background. Just turn the damned monument around. But I guess that’s too simple ‘and sacred’ a solution to even contemplate. Woooooooo….sacred…Rizal might turn in his grave. Really???

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