(UPDATE) Manila’s iconic City Hall Clock Tower has been officially declared a tourist hotspot in the nation’s capital.
The statement was in an order signed by Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso before he stepped down as the city’s chief executive on June 30.
“As early as 1996 there was a call to renovate and beautify the clock tower to become a tourist attraction, but this was only realized after 25 years,” said Domagoso, who led the inauguration of the newly renovated historic monument on the eve of his departure from Manila City Hall.
Now known as the Manila Clock Tower Museum, the city government expects more tourists to flock to one of the nation’s capital’s most recognizable spots.
The museum features a multi-sensory exhibit of historical events, including depictions of the Battle of Manila, which was designed and curated by Ohm David and Elba Cruz.
Works by the late Filipino visual artist and master of assertionism Rene Robles, as well as international artists Sherwin Paul Gonzales and Nante Carandang, are also on display at the museum.
Several award-winning artworks from the Tawid Gallery and those created by furniture artist Agi Pagkatipunan are also featured.
Domagoso said that now that the Manila Clock Tower Museum has been inaugurated, the city has succeeded once again in protecting one of its heritages.
“At first the people of Manila looked at the tower, it is the monument that is lifted because they could see the clock. Now it is an iconic place for the city and the country and we were happy to see it. ‘offer to you today because it will not only be a clock but also a tourist attraction,’ Domagoso said.
“And if you want to reflect, see the 360 degrees of the city of Manila, you can enjoy it here in the Manila City Hall Clock Tower,” he added.
The clock tower was designed by Antonio Toledo and was completed in the 1930s. It is considered the tallest clock tower in the Philippines, reaching almost 100 feet in height. It was heavily damaged during the bombing of Manila in World War II but surprisingly remained intact.
Domagoso said other cities in Metro Manila might be economically wealthier, however, “no city can come close to Manila when it comes to history and heritage.”
He also expressed his wish for the clock tower to symbolize resilience and hope for all who see it.
“I hope this clock tower will remind us to be resilient in life, that stumbling means more life lessons. What matters most in the end is to get up and move on “Domagoso said.
He noted that the concept for the renovation of the clock tower was taken from the old post office and clock tower in Washington, D.C. in the United States.
“The bridge with a view is beautiful. I used to go to the old post office in Washington. That’s where we got the idea. Of all the post offices, this is the tallest of all Washington DC. When you take the elevator to the top you can see the whole of Washington. It looks like this. That’s where the concept was taken, right there at the old office Washington post office,” Domagoso said.