Tuesday, June 1, 2010


The Jai Alai Building of the Past

Its a rainy afternoon now at this part of the eastern outskirts of Manila. I think its already a goodbye to the very hot Philippine summer (or dry season). June just approached and wet season is already here. We're just hoping that the farewell of the previous season is also a hello for plenty of water that we have waited for so long for our vegetation and dams. Hope this goodbye for the dry season, but not all goodbyes are the same...

The Jai Alai Building in Taft Avenue said its farewell almost 10 years ago. The city government of Manila then started the demolition to make a room for structures that would house justice facilities for the city.

A lot of people made nods on the project of destroying the building that was synonymous for gambling and illegal activities (it was said that Jai Alai betting then was cheated, winnings were set up already). An official also tried to justify the destruction to be a symbol to the respect of justice and non-promotion of the memories of the veneration of gambling.

But some people cried out in disagreeing because the building itself is not just mainly a gambling hall. Its famous sky room was a known venue for events of the people from the high strata of the society at those days.

And most importantly, the building itself is a part of the Art Deco Style of Architecture that became prevalent at the Commonwealth era. A very few number of buildings created with the same design have remained standing after the Second World War. It's not mainly a destruction of the memories of gambling, but also a destruction of the nostalgia of a once glorious past of Manila.

If you have attended your college in Manila in the 90's (in my case, the late part of it), you will remember the building that still reflected a shadow of its past beauty, through the manner it stood, but decayed by the hands of time.

How it looked like on its final years

The building is also a reminder of the bygone glorious past that as much as we wanted to live back, we just couldn't.

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