What is Escolta to us now? It is an unknown territory to most. It is a place where time hasn’t been kind to its structures. How we overlook the history of its walls and pavements. Worn out buildings and even abandoned spaces. A deteriorating area because of extensive neglect by the government and the community residing near it that supposed to advocate sustaining the life of Escolta.
Escolta in her glory years was known to be grand in its architecture and as a centralized location that houses malls, drugstores, stores and stand alone theaters. She was roaring lioness that commands respect and adoration in her time.
It was the commercial hub of Manila during the early 1900s and was a witness to many pioneering establishments in the country: first ice cream parlor, first movie house, first electric tram among others.
Commerce in the area was booming, large financial institutions, high-end boutiques, restaurants, and production houses. Neoclassical and Beaux artistry in its buildings built thru various visionaries of the world renowned local and international architects.
Escolta’s glory days are far gone now. Her theater drapes are now closed and its limelight flickered to death.
Come 2012- a group named 98B COLLABoratory was created. It is an artist –run advocacy and space initiative in Manila. They focus on community building, networking of artist, local material merchants and kitchen. Their main objective is to create a space where creative centric individuals from all forms of disciplines artists, designers, curators, writers, musicians, filmmakers, activists, educators, researchers, cultural workers, performers, architects, and students together with the general public.
Seeing the potential that is in Escolta Street, having vast open-air museum and exhibition of architectural heritage and magnificent sights. 98B COLLABoratory saw an opportunity to create a venue smacked in Manila. They are currently located on the mezzanine floor of the First United Building. The elegant six-story art deco building was built in 1928 and designed by Andres Luna de San Pedro (son of Juan Luna, a world-renowned Filipino painter during the late 1800s). Its history and heritage have been part of 98B’s backdrop.
For the last three years, 98B COLLABoratory (98B) in partnership with the First United Building (FUB) have been organizing the Saturday X Future Market at Escolta
A project started by a collective community of artists, 98B the market aims to bring back the glory days of the former premier shopping district. Every weekend, most predominantly Saturdays. Where local artist makers of multidisciplinary design discipline gather and sell their own products. Entrepreneurs gather here and set up shops to interact with the community and sell artist-made merchandise, crafts, and quirky vintage items.
You can find prints of different art styles and different media from several of the emerging artists present in the market. They do not capitalize their art too much so you’d be able to purchase items at a very reasonable price.
The HUB serves as an incubation space for those who wish to experiment with a more market sustainable space.
Aside from the Saturday market, there are block parties that happen annually to advocate local artistry, history and basically inviting the entirerity of Filipinos to come celebrate one day of festivities. For the 3rd ESCOLTA BLOCK PARTY the Escolta community, in partnership with Viva Manila, hosts the 3rd MNL URBAN DESIGN FESTIVAL.
This will happen on May 20th (Saturday) from 11:00 AM- 11:00 PM
Get to meet artists, local business owners and heritage conservationists at the Escolta Block Party! Entrance is free of course. The organizers aim to create various pocket events such that’ll spread throughout the day.
The day will include tours, a shopping bazaar, film and video screenings, talks on heritage, and local food and drinks.
Ditch your Megamall or Ayala Malls and try experiencing what Manila has to offer. Re-awaken ourselves and see what these artists see. Also, we all need a change in sight after all.
Experience Escolta in a new light, with diverse people from different walks of life and even nationalities. Have a better appreciation of our history and homegrown collective community that strives to conceal Escolta’s history and value.
More information you may visit their official website and handles;
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