1925 S. Villanueva Building Restoration Efforts
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.
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).
Built 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.
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?
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)Tags: Calle Real, Heritage Buildings, Iloilo City, Metro Iloilo - Guimaras