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‘Pambansang pamana’: NCCA pledges to help rebuild Manila Central Post Office |

Arts and Culture

‘Pambansang pamana’: NCCA pledges to help rebuild Manila Central Post Office

Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo -
âPambansang pamanaâ: NCCA pledges to help rebuild Manila Central Post Office
The Manila Central Post Office Building before the fire that broke out last May 21, 2023.
NCCA Public Affairs and Information Office / Paul Sugano

MANILA, Philippines — The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) expressed sorrow for the Manila Central Post Office Building that was gutted by fire yesterday.

In a statement sent to, NCCA said that it is deeply saddened by the razing of one of the country’s oldest and most beautiful buildings.

“Ikinalulungkot po ng Pambansang Komisyon para sa Kultura at mga Sining (NCCA) na tinupok ng apoy ang Manila Central Post Office Building,” NCCA said.

As an “Important Cultural Property,” the Manila Central Post Office Building was among the country’s most valuable cultural treasures.

“Bilang isang natalagang Malahagang Yamang Pangkalinangan (Important Cultural Property), tunay ngang masasabi na isa ang gusaling ito sa mga pinakamaganda sa ating lungsod at isang mahalagang bahagi ng ating pambansang pamana.” 

Built in 1925, the Manila Central Post Office Building is a neo-classical structure designed by Filipino architects Tomas Mapua and Juan Marcos de Guzman Arellano with American architect Ralph Doane. Mapua is the country’s first registered architect who designed De La Salle University’s St. La Salle Hall. Arellano, meanwhile, is credited for the design of the National Museum of the Philippines’ Executive House, the Manila Metropolitan Theater, the Jones Bridge and Cebu Provincial Capitol, among others.

When the post office building was completed in 1926 and inaugurated in 1927, it was considered as the country’s “grandest” building. 

In 1945, however, the structure was destroyed during World War II and was rebuilt in 1946. In 2018, it was declared an Important Cultural Property (ICP).

The former headquarters of the Bureau of Posts, later renamed Postal Service Office, the Manila Central Post Office is the country’s center for postal services. It is where the Philippine Post holds office and provides delivery of goods, communications, merchandise and payment services.

According to firefighting volunteer TXT Fire Philippines, the fire that gutted the building sparked from its basement at about 11:41 p.m. last Sunday. At 5:44 a.m. yesterday, the fire reached general alarm, the Bureau of Fire Protection's highest alarm level, prompting the calling of all available firetrucks in Metro Manila to respond.

Renacimiento Manila, a cultural organization dedicated to Manila’s rebirth by reviving key heritage areas, is hopeful that the building will be resuscitated since it suffered worse during the month-long Battle of Manila.

As an ICP, according to the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009 or Republic Act 10066, the post office building is entitled to receive government funding for restoration.

Likewise, the NCCA, in a statement, pledged to provide additional support to fast-track the post office’s refurbishment.

“Kasama ang mga sangay pang-kultura at iba pang tanggapan ng pamahalaan, handa pong tumulong ang NCCA sa abot ng aming kakayahan hindi lamang sa pag-ayos ng nasirang gusali, kundi maging sa pagbabalik ng normal na operasyon ng Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost). Hinihiling din namin ang pakikiisa ng lahat sa mahalagang gawaing ito,” NCCA said.

“Nawa ang pag-ayos ng mga nasira ay masimulan nang walang gaanong abala sa hanapbuhay at paglilingkod ng mga kawani ng PHLPost, na ating inaalaala dahil sa mga hamon na kanilang hinaharap ngayon.”

RELATED: ‘Built heritage emergency’: Advocates lament fire at Manila Central Post Office

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