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Occupy Escolta: Reviving the Queen of the Streets

On 27 May 2017, (Saturday) 2 – 4PM, the Lopez Museum and Library brings together speakers who have rallied and worked for the revival of Escolta in the forum, Occupy Escolta: Reviving the Queen of the Streets with Ar. Dominic Galicia, Romel Leal Santiago, 98-B COLLABoratory’s Miguel Inumerable, and The Public School MNL’s Reymart Cerin and Vince Africa. The panel discussion on Escolta Street narrates Philippine history through the lens of architecture, and the reviving of the old by marrying it with the contemporary.

Escolta Street, when recalled, conjures the images of golden ages, vestiges of Americanized buildings, silent theatres, and Filipinos walking in pressed white suits under the Manila heat. Hailed the Queen of the Streets, it became a booming district that married entertainment, business, and leisure. However, the bombs of the Second World War and the neglect that came with time decimated Escolta, turning it into another casualty brought about the destruction of that time period. Slowly, the glittering buildings of the past morphed into oddities in the ever-evolving 21st century skyline.

This May as we celebrate National Heritage Month, the LML recognizes the struggle to preserve structures of the past. With competition rife against well-funded high rises and mega structures, keeping the relevance of old structures has been an enormous challenge. Heritage structures are left to deteriorate until they become forgotten objects of the past diminished by vandalism or worse, until wrecking balls are readied to take them apart.

In recent years, many have answered the call to action to preserve the once glorious Escolta Street, not only to resurrect its rundown buildings, but also to resuscitate community involvement, filling its roads with an enlivened public.

Revitalization efforts of the street such as Occupy Escolta and other projects stemming from the Escolta Commercial Association, Inc. partnered with the local government to refit buildings, street cleanups, and the reevaluation of street plans. These organizations aid the repurposing of spaces and allowing new tenants to inhabit them; one of these being the First United Building. It has become a home to exhibition spaces, cafes and startup offices whose occupants are also advocates of reviving the area.

Programs created by younger stakeholders have brought back attention to Escolta, through the exhibitions and programs of 98-B COLLABoratory (98B), and Viva Manila’s Escolta Block Party! With tours, film screenings, and multiple pop-up stores erupting in the neighborhood, varied crowds occupy the street proving that revival doesn’t only mean rebuilding physical structures, but in reactivating a more engaged community. Learn more about these projects and what the future holds for the Queen of the Streets.

To register, or for inquiries and concerns, call (+632) 631 2417 or (+632) 635 9545, (look for Thea G. or Yna) or email

Registration fees are as follows: PHP 115 for students, teachers and senior citizens; and PHP 135 for Adults.

The following Public Programs are sponsored by Gourmet Farms Inc.