Friday, August 6, 2010

The Grandeur of Manila Hotel

* behold, the Manila Hotel!

* one of the hotel’s huge halls, just forgot the name

* the best weapon: a cup, for the coffee

* made acquaintance with some of the students from the Philippine Normal University who endured my lousy discussion of my poster presentation

Perhaps once or twice, it is good to have a taste of high life. I t fine-tunes one’s behavior and compels one to exercise proper decorum. Besides hopping into some of posh hotels in Davao City a few years ago––thanks to the insight and adventurousness of my thesis adviser––the only taste of grandeur I have obtained thus far is at the Manila Hotel. Not that I checked-in into one of its rooms. A conference that I attempted to attend to starting a few years back served to effect the visits to Manila Hotel.

On my first visit a few freely-distributed reading materials shared the fact that the place is historic in its own right. It was only later, upon poking into some details here and there, that I was able to get a hold of some information. One: General Douglas MacArthur resided here prior to the Second World War. Two: the Japanese flag has flown on this hotel for the most part of the WWII. Three: there is a place called MacArthur Suite where some of his properties and mementos are found. I wonder if they can be seen by the general (visiting) public and take some pictures of them. Four: at some points in our histor y, the hotel figured in some of the activities of Presidents Marcos and Cory.

* I venture to say that the painting is an Amorsolo judging from the signature found on the lower right corner of the art piece; found at the hotel lobby

* the Manila Hotel lobby with (they say) its Doric columns; I am of the opinion that the area is more lovely with just a few lights, this was taken during a brownout; in the center of the lobby is a part of the adjacent restaurant/cafeteria of some sort

* obviously self-explanatory; perhaps what is left to be discovered is the reason/s why Jacob Dickinson put the tablet there; found on the outside wall of the hotel

* a shot of a lifetime – the Manila Hotel main entrance

As to its construction, it was made to compete with the already existing Malacañang Palace. It was opened in 1912. The construction of the hotel was actually a part of the plans for the city of Manila, thought and effected by then Governor General William Howard Taft, Daniel Burnham and William Parsons. It was Parsons who made the design of the hotel.

Also found inside is a space for what could have been the clubhouse of the Rotary Club of Manila, the first – it is said – in the country and in Asia. It was founded by Leon Lambert together with four other Americans. Their first meeting was held at the Fiesta Pavilion of this hotel, still in existence, on January 29, 1919.

We have experienced their service as far as the dining table only. The staff is generally amicable but some were not able to completely hide emotions. The receptionists were awesome although I am fully aware that they were made to be exactly like that: well-groomed and attractive. One of the few things I found amusing there were those employees cleaning the balustrades at the hotel lobby. They seemed not satisfied even if it looked like the balustrades were already shining gold!

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