Portals to the past at sm manila Malls

(The Philippine Star) - July 28, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Mallgoers had the rare opportunity to go back in time and trace the history of Manila’s most popular landmarks in “Portals to the Past: A look at the historic locations of SM City Sta. Mesa, SM City San Lazaro and SM City Manila,” which was recently launched at SM City Sta. Mesa.

Held in time for the Araw ng Maynila celebrations, the exhibit will be in SM City Sta. Mesa until July 17. It will be at SM City San Lazaro until today, and goes to SM City Manila from July 29 to Aug. 12. The exhibit’s curator, architect and STAR columnist Paulo Alcazaren, will also hold lectures in SM City Manila on Aug. 3 at 3 p.m.

A replica of the Puerta del Parian in Intramuros

“Portals to the Past” features the historic districts of Manila through archival photos. Special emphasis is given to the areas where SM’s Manila Malls – SM City Manila, SM City Sta. Mesa, and SM City San Lazaro – now stand, linking past and present, and in the process letting Manileños appreciate the rich heritage of each site. Illustrations and pictures showing key sites, structures and settings of heritage and cultural importance are featured in the rest of the panels.

Manila and its five districts have stories that need to be told. These are stories of landmark events and iconic buildings, memorable monuments, and public settings that have made a difference in people’s lives through the years.

SM can be considered a landmark, as it has become part of the lives of millions of Filipinos. Its malls serve as settings for people’s daily lives for entertainment, shopping, and leisure. Being part of the old city, the malls were built on the sites of landmarks that used to be an important part of the Manila skyline.

SM City Manila is located in the city’s historic core — the walled city of Intramuros, the banks of the Pasig River, and Manila City Hall. The mall now stands on the site of the YMCA compound, where the Americans were said to introduce basketball, volleyball, and baseball to the Filipinos.

SM City Sta. Mesa’s retail destiny is rooted in the fact that it sits on the site of the old Sta. Mesa Market, an urban shopping center. It is also near the historic bridge where an American soldier, Pvt. Willie Grayson, fired that first shot that started the Filipino American War on Feb. 4, 1899.

SM City San Lazaro is located in the former site of the Manila Jockey Club. Founded by Jose de la Gandara y Navarro together with some of Manila’s affluent Filipino, Spanish and even English families in 1867, it was the first racing club in all Southeast Asia.

The exhibit is also a treasure trove for trivia with its vintage photos as well as ads featuring the young superstar Nora Aunor and former Tourism Secretary Gemma Cruz-Araneta. It also shows the transformation of the newly renovated SM Department Store in Sta. Mesa, the mall’s major anchor, from the ‘90s to the trendsetter and innovator it is today.

The exhibit’s centerpiece is a three-panel replica of iconic elements from each of the three districts — a portal from the old walls of Intramuros, the Carriedo fountain from Sta. Mesa, and a race horse from San Lazaro where mallgoers can take there photos. 

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