Current Events

The Philippines' National Archives Are on Fire at the Juan Luna Building

It's the hub for primary sources of information on Philippine history.
IMAGE RANCHO ARCILLA/ WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Comments

A fire that started midnight at the Land Management Bureau office in Binondo, Manila, has spread to the Juan Luna Building, which currently houses the national archives. As of 10 a.m. today, May 28, the blaze has affected the Moraga Mansion, a residential building, and the BPI Building, according to GMA News.

According to its website, the National Archives of the Philippines is tasked with "guaranteeing that documents and records are preserved and accessible to the public... Its main responsibility is to preserve the primary sources of information on Philippine history, the basic components of cultural heritage and collective memory." It preserves about 60 million documents from the Spanish, American, and Japanese occupations. 

Unofficial reports, however, claimed that office's important documents have been evacuated, and only digitization machinery remains.

Designed by American architects Murphy, McGill, and Hamlin, the Juan Luna Building was built in 1923, a joint project of the Pacific Commercial Company and International Banking Corporation Building. Since the '30s, the five-storey structure was (and continues to be) called the First National City Bank (now Citibank).

With its iconic columns and arched windows, the design features a Beaux-Arts ("fine arts" style of architecture. According to the book Arkitekturang Filipino: A History of Architecture and Urbanism in the Philippines, the structure is a prototype of similar designs of banks overseas. 

It survived the Battle of Manila in 1945 and was used for a variety of purposes until businessman Carlos Araneta purchased the property in 2009. He turned it into the Juan Luna Plaza and planned to use it for BPO offices. It was then restored as the Juna Luna E-Services Building in 2012, but safety issues dissuaded investors and it failed to turn it into a thriving BPO center.

In a CNN report dated 2017, Juan Luna building administrator Christopher Hagedorn said that the 1,600-square-meter space on each of the floors awaited "brave tenants who will be willing to risk putting up their businesses in a time machine."

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

According to another CNN report, three people have been confirmed to be injured by the blaze. 



This story will be updated.

This story originally appeared on Esquiremag.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

Comments
View More Articles About:
About The Author
Sasha Lim Uy for Esquiremag.ph
View Other Articles From Sasha Lim Uy for Esquiremag.ph
Comments
Latest Stories
 
Share
Ideas that go way beyond the traditional altar.
 
Share
Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex!
 
Share
Interior designer Jonathan Matti was the sole Filipino at the intimate de Gournay dinner at Lord David Cholmondeley's Norfolk Estate.
 
Share
Whether you're a single traveler, on vacation with a partner or with your family, try these underrated experiences in Bohol.
 
Share
Only eight Filipinas made it to Forbes magazine’s latest list of 50 richest people in the Philippines.
 
Share
Their children prepared a lovely surprise in their family home.
 
Share
From champagne-flavored gummy bears to a kit for making your own sparkling wine, these will please any champagne fanatic.
 
Share
In Japanese-occupied Manila, an American woman who was known as "Madame Tsubaki" ran a night club that offered drinks, music, and companionship to homesick soldiers. It was a front for a spy ring that funneled information and supplies to guerilla groups outside the city.
 
Share
Screenwriter Josh Singer on how he and Damien Chazelle brought the astronaut's story to the big screen.
 
Share
The 36-year-old bride said her grandmother's death affected her decision.
Load More Articles
CONNECT WITH US