Heritage Sites

Escolta's El Hogar: A Testament of Heritage and Love

Metro Manila

Choose Philippines
Choose Philippines | Jul 13, 2015

A Philippine structure hailed as one of the most beautiful in Asia since its inception is in danger of becoming yet another mountain of rubble.

The El Hogar during the 1920s. © Philippine History and Architecture

The El Hogar Filipino Building, or simply El Hogar, is an early skyscraper in Manila built. It stands at the corner of Juan Luna Street and Muelle dela Industría in the Binondo district and contributes to the spectular pre-WWII cityscape when one cruises through Pasig River. It is flanked by the First City National Building on the right and the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank Building on its rear.

El Hogar and the First City National Bank Buildings in the late 1960s. © Definitely Filipino

Boasting a Beaux-Arts architecture, a neoclassical architectural style taught at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, the El Hogar was designed by Ramon Irureta-Goyena and Francisco Perez-Muñoz and was built in 1914. Some of its interesting features are the two garden courtyards and the mirador or balcony, which provides an astouding view of the Pasig River and southern part of Manila. El Hogar's staircase, with a sculpted mythical griffin on its base, is considered as one of the most ornate in the city.

The El Hogar's intricate staircase grillwork, which included a sculpture of a mythical griffin. © Manila Nostalgia/Isidra Reyes

It was said to be a wedding present for Doña Margarita Zóbel y de Ayala and Spanish businessman Don Antonio Melián Pavía. The building housed the Sociedad El Hogar Filipino, a financing cooperative, and the whole Melián business empire composed of Filipinas Compañía de Seguros, Tondo de Beneficiencia, Casa de España, and Casa de Pensiones. Other tenants were Ayala y Compañía, Sociedad Lizárraga Hermanos, and Smith, Bell and Company.

The El Hogar Filipino, one of the city's oldest American era structures, now on the verge of destruction. © Historic Preservation Journal

As of the moment, the building's title belongs to a certain Ritz Premiere Corporation, which wishes to demolish the building.

Heritage advocates are calling on celebrities to help in resisting the demolition and promote awareness for the preservation of the building's and the city's rich history.

"Napakarami na tayong mga heritage structures na nawawala. Mas mabuti 'yung nakikita natin 'yung mga palatandaan ng ating pinagmulan," said Isidra Reyes of the Heritage Conservation Society in an interview with ABS-CBN.


(Video report from Ces Drilon, ABS-CBN News. Photos from Arquitectura Manila.)



1) 15 Greatest Things We Miss From Old Manila

2) Get to Know Anda, the Historical Landmark the Gov't Plans to Demolish

3) Historic Manila Bay Landmark Now in Rubbles—And Not by War


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