Crowds of people gathered in front of the Bonifacio Monument in Manila to witness the launching of the musical dancing fountain last February 12, GMA Network reported. City mayor Isko Moreno encouraged locals and tourists alike to visit the new attraction, especially to celebrate the love season.
The dancing fountain featured colorful lights with waters flashing to the tune of Filipino novelty songs, including “Piliin Mo ang Pilipinas.” Its rectangular shape and varieties of lights make it possible to form the Philippine flag when viewed from the top. The public can catch the shows every night from 6:30PM to 11:30PM, lasting for 15 minutes.
Moreno and Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna led the inauguration of the new attraction, with the former saying that the project is part of the government’s effort to revive the glory of the nation’s capital.
Adding that there’s nothing more precious than seeing the smiles of fellow Filipinos, Moreno dedicates the refurbishment initiatives to the people.
Bringing Vibrancy Back
Since Moreno took office last year, the city government of Manila has been very firm on sprucing up streets and historical areas around the district. Late last year, the newly refurbished Jones Bridge was introduced to the public. The hundred-year-old bridge is now dressed with new lamp posts that have motifs and patterns reminiscent of those during the pre-war era, a barricade in the middle of the four-lane road, a fresh coat of paint, and ornamental plants. For improved safety, solar road studs are also installed. It took two months to finish the P20-million rehabilitation project.
The city government, however, doesn’t stop at Jones Bridge, the gateway to the oldest Chinatown in the world. In a recent report from Business Mirror, Moreno bared rehabilitation plans for Binondo itself. He vowed to make its streets cleaner and more passable. He urged the private sector to clean up buildings, especially the heritage ones. Age-old structures, such as Philtrust, Chinabank, and The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp., are already under renovation by respective owners.
Moreno wants to introduce a 10-year property tax holiday for business owners who would refurbish their buildings. To encourage more businesses in Binondo, the government is also looking at adopting technologies that can speed up applying for business permits and paying tax obligations. With Binondo slowly reinstating its image as a major financial hub in the country, the real estate sector is expected to thrive, creating promising investment opportunities. Experts from Colliers International, in fact, project aggressive property development initiatives in the fringes of Metro Manila as the land values in top CBDs increase.
As for the general public, Moreno also revealed that some city-owned properties will be the site for vertical parking towers. Pedestrian lanes connecting Binondo to Escolta will also be constructed to encourage the public to walk and by extension, lessen vehicles on the road, reducing traffic gridlock.
Also part of reviving Manila’s old glory is providing residential housing for informal settlers. Tagged as “Tondominiums,” the projects will be like other condo buildings, complete with elevators and basic room amenities, including a bathroom and a living room, Manila Standard reported. The complex will be built on a 3,000-meter lot in Binondo and a 2,000-meter land in Tondo.
Reviving Cultural Tourism
The tourism department backs Manila government’s efforts to spruce up the country’s capital. Its promotions board has been busy with its Intramuros Revival Project in the previous years. In 2017, Fort Santiago opened the newly renovated Paseo Soledad and Plaza Moriones, as Manila Bulletin reported.
The former, a pathway leading to the fortress, was beautified with flowering trees and a colorful fountain at the center. The latter, on the other hand, is a segment of the linear park near the Pasig River, which was made accessible through the gate called Postigo Nuestra Señora de Soledad.
The Rajah Soliman Theater, meanwhile, opened its doors to the public in the same year as mentioned, in time for the 50th celebration of one of the country’s most prestigious theater groups, Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA). The refurbishment of the outdoor theater included better dressing rooms and back of the house facilities. Last Valentine’s Day, buskers playing different genres of music lined up near the theater, serenading visitors.
Meanwhile, the most recent development in Intramuros was the opening of the dungeons. The underground cells served as Baluarte de Santa Barbara’s storage vaults and gunpowder magazine.
Sources: GMA Network, Manila.gov.ph, Business Mirror, Manila Standard, Manila Bulletin
Main photo via Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso’s Facebook Page