National Artist for Architecture Juan Nakpil designed the iconic Capitol Theater located along Escolta Street. However, the lack of maintenance and care has left it to decay through the years. When we visited Escolta, the structure was scheduled for demolition. Only its facade remained.
Efforts have been made to preserve Escolta’s memory, like the maintenance of the First United Building and Calvo Museum. The Calvo Museum houses an extensive collection of Old Manila pop culture–from musical score sheets, old film posters, and contracts, to newspaper clippings and beverage bottle designs from the 1920s to 1950s. Once one of the tallest buildings in Manila during the 1920s, the First United Building is now the venue for art fairs, block parties, and a community museum.
They are just some of the reminders of what was once the premier central district of Manila. But while Escolta has become a melting pot of creative energy, we hope it becomes more than just an Instagram-worthy place.
Escolta holds a piece of Manila’s cultural heritage. Each building has a story to tell. Escolta needs more people to put in the work to maintain and preserve its rich history.