Pieta, Nuestra Señora de los Remedios
MH del Pilar, Malate, Manila

First of all, the 2008 Beijing Olympics will open today. Good luck to all athletes.

Now with the photo, it’s a local interpretation of the famous Pieta and is dedicated to the victims of the Manila battle which was part of WWII’s Pacific struggle, much like the related Memorare monument in Intramuros.

I believe that the war’s biggest victim would be the city itself. I know it has been said a dozen times before that aside from Warsaw, no other city came out of the 2nd World War as damaged as Manila. And we can always blame the war, but we can perhaps also blame ourselves collectively for never attempting to recover from it at al, at least aesthetically.

Postwar Manila never looked looked as charming as rebuilding wasn’t the priority of the surviving population and government then.  It may take forever before Manila gets back a semblance of its prewar wonders (which was a lovely combination of traditional, colonial, European, American neoclassical and art deco) or assume an ultra-modern identity that can contrast well with its few surviving and restored treasures (much like any big city elswhere now). But while Manileños patiently wait, we continuously search for its hidden gems and enjoy what’s underneath the tough, rough and chaotic overcoating.