MANILA (PNA) — Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Monday proposed the creation of Escolta Redevelopment Administration to help revive the area as transport, tourism, business, and culinary heritage hub, and to assist the City Government of Manila.
“This proposal is aimed to remember Escolta not just as a historical footnote but as part of the continuing Philippine economic progress,” said MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino.
The MMDA Chief is proposing a body similar to the Intramuros Administration which was created by law to manage the restoration, reconstruction, and urban planning of the walled city which was already declared as historical heritage area.
According to Tolentino, he is willing to draft a bill seeking for the creation of such body to be endorsed to appropriate Congressional proponents.
The idea came about after the reopening of the Escolta ferry station which made it more accessible to the public.
Tolentino said they will revive Escolta as a food tourism site this May 23 together with the ferry terminal there.
“When they ride the ferry and unload in Escolta, they can visit historical buildings and old restaurants that are serving delicious foods,” he said.
He noted that historical buildings and old restaurants can be found in Escolta, which could be an added tourism destinations in the metropolis.
Among these historical buildings in Escolta, he added, is the first broadcasting studio of television station GMA-7 owned then by Bob Stewart.
“Escolta then was the first business district of Manila because the stock exchange was located there, it was considered then as the Ayala of Manila,” he added.
Besides the historical buildings, he said, old Chinese restaurants are still operating in Escolta that continue to attract not only Filipino food lovers but foreigners as well.
Tolentino has earlier met with the Escolta Heritage Association which has expressed its gratitude to the MMDA for reviving public interest in Escolta as a food tourism site.
It has been noted during the first two weeks of operation of the Pasig River Ferry System that Escolta was the most popular destination of passengers, and even tourists, going to Binondo (Chinatown) and Divisoria.
Escolta is one of the oldest streets in Asia and is known to be the country’s first business capital and home to the oldest shops and boutiques selling imported goods from China and Europe.
By the late 19th century, Escolta prospered into a fashionable business district hosting the city’s tallest buildings and the Manila Stock Exchange. (PNA) lgi/CLTC/Hershelyn M. Dimapilis (OJT)