The Grey Chronicles


Reaching for the Sky?

With cities around the world building skyscrapers that pierce the sky, making islands out of sand and just building for the sake of building, I wonder what’s the Philippines, as a sovereign nation, doing during this construction boom or virtually “reach-for-the-sky or sky’s-the-limit” quest?

During the Spanish era, the Indios of old built formidable fortresses on behest of the then powers-that-be, the Spaniards. When the Americans defeated Spain 1898, it ruled the Philippines until 1945.

Malacañang Palace

Malacañang Palace

Malacañang Palace, a summer home originally built in 1802 by Spanish aristocrat Don Luis Rocha, then subsequently purchased by the state in 1825. When the 1869 earthquake leveled the Palacio del Gobernador (Governor’s Palace), where then the Governors-General of the Philippines originally resided in Intramuros; Governor General Rafael de Echague y Berminghan, previously governor of Puerto Rico, became the first Spanish governor to occupy Malacañang Palace. After the Spanish-American War, the Palace became the residence of the American Governor-Generals. William Howard Taft was its first American Civil Governor resident in 1900. Upon the establishment of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, on November 15, 1935, President Manuel L. Quezon became the first Filipino resident of Malacañang Palace. It has been the official residence of the President of the Philippines since. (Wikipedia, 2009)

National Museum

National Museum

The National Museum began as the Insular Museum of Ethnology, National History and Commerce under the Department of Public Instruction in 1901. In 1916, the Philippine Legislature passed Act No. 2572 organizing the Philippine Library and Museum. American Architect, Daniel Burnham designed in 1918 the building which originally housed the Philippine Congress. In 1951, Executive Order No. 392 transferred the National Museum to the Department of Education. In 1988, President Corazon Aquino issued Presidential Proclamation No. 269, declaring 1988 to 1998 as “The Decade of Centennials of the Filipino Nationalism, Nationhood and the Philippine Revolutionary Movement&#147. President Fidel V. Ramos signed Administrative Order No. 246 on 26 January 1996 creating a Presidential Committee to oversee the rehabilitation of the National Museum complex which included the turnover of various government buildings to The Museum. On February 12, 1998, Ramos signed Republic Act No. 8492, also known as the ‘National Museum Act of 1998’. Four months later, the new National Museum was opened with the formal inauguration of the National Museum of the Filipino People in the former Finance building. (WikiPilipinas, 2008n).

Cultural Center of the Philippines

Cultural Center of the Philippines

During the Marcos dictatorship from 1965, he embarked on constructing for the masses. His Executive Order No. 30 (2009) created the Cultural Center of the Philippines to promote and preserve Filipino arts and culture.

The Cultural Center of the Philippines—Philippine Convention Center [CCP-PCC] complex overlooks the Manila Bay. Inaugurated on September 8, 1969 with a three-month inaugural festival, CCP opened with an epic musical Dularawan.

San Juanico Bridge

San Juanico Bridge

In 1973, the 2.16-kilometer steel bridge connected the islands of Samar and Leyte over the picturesque San Juanico Strait as a part of the Maharlika Highway. San Juanico Bridge, the longest in the county, formerly known as Marcos Bridge, has 43 spans rising 41 meters above the sea.

Bunton Bridge in Cagayan province is said to be the country’s second longest bridge. The title of the longest bridge, however, may soon belong to a proposed bridge in the Manila Bay. This cable suspension bridge will link Metro Manila to the provinces of Bataan and Cavite. It will be patterned after the Tokyo Bay Aqualine connecting Kawasaki City in Kanagawa Prefecture to Kisarazu City in Japan.

Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 (NAIA-3)

NAIA Terminal 3 (NAIA-3)

Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 (NAIA-3), was approved for construction in 1997. The ultra-modern 189,000 sq.m. international terminal facility was designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) to have a capacity of 13-15 million passengers per year.

There is an additional 20,000 sq.m. floor area for shopping mall which connects the terminal to the indoor parking area. The Terminal 3 structure is 1.1 km (0.68 miles) lengthwise.

Thus, from the Spanish era to 1973, there were no awe-inspiring, or proud-looking edifices built in the Philippines. We might have the San Juanico Bridge, the Metro Rail Transit [MRT] or the Light Rail Transport [LRT]; or the NAIA Terminal 3, but nothing in the same league as the Malaysia’s Petronas Towers, Taiwan’s Taipei 101 or Dubai’s Burj Dubai.

Comparative Skycrapers

Comparative Skycrapers

Until June 2008! Lopez (2008) wrote:

“Efraim C. Genuino is making the biggest bet of his life. The chairman and CEO of the state-owned Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. [PAGCOR] is building a $15 billion Bagong Nayong Pilipino-Entertainment City Manila on 120 hectares of reclaimed [land] on Manila Bay. . . The project will be an integrated complex of luxury hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, convention centers, theaters, cultural centers, sports stadia, museum, amusement parks, residential villages, and a 666-m. observation tower which will be among the tallest structures of its kind in the world.”

Bagong Nayong Pilipino-Entertainment City Manila

Bagong Nayong Pilipino

Oh, well, at least the purpose is noble: “Entertainment City will shift PAGCOR’s business from gambling to entertainment.” It is also expected that the city could employ 250,000 and boost tourist arrivals to 10 million in five years. Genuino says Bagong Nayon would be PAGCOR’s “ultimate legacy and contribution to the country’s economic recovery.”

At long last, the Filipino engineers working as card dealers in Macao, or toiling as technicians in the Middle East, can look forward to coming home and work at the proposed Entertainment City.

Maybe luck would be on their side this time around, and they can be employed as full-pledged engineers!


CCP (2009). History. Online: Cultural Center of the Philippines, accessed 09 March 2009. back to text

Lopez, Antonio S. (2008). Building Asia’s next entertainment city. BizNews Asia, 16-23 June 2008. pp. 8-11, 20. back to text

Wikipedia (2009). Malacañang Palace: History. Online: Wikipedia, 05 March 2009. accessed 10 March 2009. back to text

WikiPilipinas (2008). National Museum of the Philippines. Online: WikiPilipinas, 30 January 2008. accessed 09 March 2009. back to text

Disclaimer: The posts on this site does not necessarily represent any organization’s positions, strategies or opinions; and unless otherwise expressly stated, are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Philippines License.



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