historical landmarks

Rise from the ashes: Gutted Manila Central Post Office begins rehab

Lance Spencer Yu

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Rise from the ashes: Gutted Manila Central Post Office begins rehab

Benjamin Nabong/Rappler

Eight months after the fire, the Department of Tourism is committing P15 million to kick-start the rehabilitation of the Manila Central Post Office

MANILA, Philippines – In 2023, an inferno gutted Manila Central Post Office (MCPO), burning for more than 30 hours and reaching the highest level of alarm.

By the end of it, the building’s neoclassical facade, framed by 16 enormous white pillars, were left soot black. Filipinos grieved the loss of one of the oldest landmarks in the nation’s capital, tracing its roots back nearly a hundred years.

Now, eight months after the fire, architects, heritage experts, and government officials are coming together to bring its burned-out husk back to life.

The Department of Tourism (DOT), through its infrastructure arm Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), has committed P15 million to kick-start the MCPO’s restoration and rehabilitation. The fund will go towards the detailed architectural and engineering studies for the “conservative assessment and pre-restoration work” of the building.

Here’s the breakdown of the P15 million budget as stated by the DOT:

  • P6 million – design of the shoring, design of the construction scaffoldings for the walls, design of the temporary roof, and methodology for the work
  • P6 million – condition assessment plans and building of diagnostic results
  • P3 million – process of cost analysis of the state of damage of the MCPO

Project consultants and officers from TIEZA and the Philippine Postal Corporation have already conducted a preliminary evaluation of the MCPO last January 16. Now, the Department of Tourism said that they are working on the “creation of plans for the pre-restoration work” and the “creation of the rehabilitation and conservation plan.”

“When the Manila Central Post Office was destroyed in a massive fire, we lost not just a building, but an edifice that holds the rich history and past of the Filipinos,” said Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco. “We are delighted to have worked closely with the Philippine Postal Corporation, the management of the Manila Central Post Office, and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts to ensure the proper and meticulous restoration of the landmark.”

The MCPO sits as the backdrop of the recently beautified Pasig River Esplanade. The building’s restoration is expected to tie in with the “Pasig Bigyan Buhay Muli” – or PBBM – program under the Office of the First Lady. Rappler.com

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Lance Spencer Yu

Lance Spencer Yu is a multimedia reporter who covers the transportation, tourism, infrastructure, finance, agriculture, and corporate sectors, as well as macroeconomic issues.