The building stood near the Pasig River, On the corner of Juan Luna Street and Muelle De Industria in Binondo. A four floor building of Neoclassical and Renaissance flourish was designed by Ramon Irureta-Goyena and Francisco Perez-Muñoz and built in 1914. It was the abode of
Don Antonio Melian’s financing cooperative the Sociedad El Hogar Filipino, and the offices of Smith Bell and Company. It was known as El Hogar and it was one of the silent witnesses to the events along the Pasig River, from the Americans and their Benevolent Assimilation, Quezon and the Commonwealth; the Empire of Japan and the Co-Prosperity Sphere; the Liberation and Destruction of Manila; the Philippine Republic; the Ascendancy and Decline of Marcos; the Presidency of Aquino, Ramos, Estrada, Macapagal and Aquino the Son. El Hogatr survived wars, earthquakes and typhoons. Now it is believed that it will finally fall to modernity and progress.
Earlier this year, the tenants of El Hogar have left and the copper plate that bore its name has been taken away. To be destroyed or to be redesigned it is still a death sentence for El Hogar. This silent witness is going going gone,
Death by progress. (i) Assisted by the independence of local government and (ii) a lack of legislation for financial incentives in preserving heritage structures. (iii) Aided by depression of the land where El Hogar stood: The center of finance has moved away to the outskirts of Pre World War II Manila. (iv) Prodded on by the belief it is better to built anew rather than improving the strictures of the buildings. And (v) the relatively small voice of dissent arguing for preservation.
Yet the voice of dissent seems to be the only way for now. Unless the building has a powerful champion. The old Churches cannot be demolished by private individuals – It would be the Religious powers that would do that, or war and disasters.
But … Perhaps not only dissent will stop the death of El Hogar maybe reason will prevail. El Hogar could be refurbished. Maybe even made up to date with the present building codes and still preserve its historical and cultural features. Who knows.
But since El Hogar will cease to exist take a picture now
it will last longer.