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1925 S. Villanueva Building Restoration Efforts

Submitted by on December 11, 2011 – 8:32 pm12 Comments

S. Villanueva Iloilo

You may not have noticed, but most of our heritage buildings in the old Calle Real and its adjacent streets are in big need of help in restoring them to their former glorious state. As we celebrate the rise of Iloilo’s new icons like high rise buildings and infrastructures, our old central business district, though very much alive in its economic activities, is already in state of decay and deterioration.

Iloilo Restoration Project

As I walked in the old Calle Real Street (now JM Basa), I was very happy to see the restoration effort being done by the Iloilo Cultural Heritage Foundation Inc., in cooperation with Iloilo City Cultural Heritage Conservation Council, at the 1925 S. Villanueva Building (opposite of another S. Villanueva Building currently occupied by RCBC at Arsenal Street).

Iloilo S. Villanueva FacadeBuilt in the period of American occupation, the S. Villanueva Building is a good example of a structure with Art Deco design. Flush with money from the booming sugar industry, the Ilonggo elite sent their children to study abroad. Some of them studied architecture in the US and later adopted Art Deco influence in their designs. Art Deco was very prominent in the prewar years in the West.

The architecture’s lavish use of eclectic ornaments and motifs gives this building a luxurious look. But aside from its beauty, the S. Villanueva building represents the Ilonggo’s unparalleled craftsmanship and creative imagination and design. Most of Iloilo’s prewar buildings contain these features and until now serves as a toursim attraction for the Central Business District.

Villanueva Building Facade Details

If we are to compare Iloilo in her heyday during the 1920s to early 1940s, an American may confuse Iloilo’s CBD with New York because of her intense American influence. But today, that glorious past only left a shell in which we live in. An echo of the past only reminds of how the Queen City of the South reigned in her time, a reminder that serves as a challenge for us to restore that glory and beauty.

I wish the Iloilo City Government, the Iloilo Cultural Heritage Foundation Inc, and Iloilo City Cultural Heritage Conservation Council all the best in their efforts to restore and conserve our heritage. And for my fellow Ilonggos, what can we contribute to help in conserving our city historic fabric?

Villanueva Building RestorationVillanueva BuildingVillanueva Building Facade

Correction: The initial post described the building as “1927 S. Villanueva” but based on the restored facade, the year 1925 was added below the name of the building. Going back on my earlier post, I cannot anymore find the source where I took the year 1927. To minimize confusion, I followed the description of the restoration project. (02.25.12)

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  • These are beautiful buildings. I hope they will be preserved and used for many years to come.

  • tina munoz wenger says:

    Restoration efforts must be a priority if we must rely on tourism as income. Europe is indeed blessed by keeping their heritage intact through preserving their old, beautiful and history-filled buildings. The more historical buildings you preserve the more interesting your town becomes. People connect with the past and it is through the past that they can relate better at what they are looking at, where they are staying at. Yes, by all means go forward on this commendable and worthwhile project.

    • Mark Segador says:

      yes, i agree. i hope the owners will cooperate with the city government in rehabilitating our heritage buildings. Iloilo City is fortunate to have these structures survive for almost a century, it’s sad that some of these buildings are in state of disrepair today. I really fell in love with Iloilo City downtown area because of these old buildings.

  • Alfred Adrian Chavez says:

    I cannot but marvel on these buildings each time I pass by the downtown area. I wish that the efforts poured out will bear fruit…

  • Vaan says:

    It’s good to know that the city government is giving importance to the restoration of these buildings. These buildings are part of Iloilo’s cultural treasures. Ilonggos should be proud.

  • Jorvy says:

    hi! it’s so nice to stumble upon your site likewise showcasing the restoration project along arsenal street. you might like to see how it looks like now in my tumblr site. i took the photos just this week.

    • Mark Segador says:

      Thanks Jorvy! I saw your pics at Tumblr and they’re amazing. I believe the S. Villanueva Building occupied by RCBC is now also repainted. Can’t wait to see both of this buildings in their restored state.

  • Alfred Adrian P. Chavez says:

    I really went to the downtown to witness the newly restored building!!! I hope Admin you take few pictures of the building at night. It was all worthwhile. After a few minutes of strolling from atrium (which I really wanted to do… how I miss Iloilo a lot!!!), my sweat and fatigue were all gone like a smoke. The restoration is magnificent. I hope in my next visit, the RCBC building is done. The Iloilo river is so lovely! I wish to see more activities in the river like kayaking, dinner, cruise, etc… I also passed by the many people eating street foods nearby Robinson’s Place. I think admin you could feature it here also! It was a nice experience indeed! Iloiloilove!!!

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