MANILA — Mayor Joseph Estrada does not hold back on the surprises that await the audiences that will be coming to “Balik-Tanaw sa Maynila,” an event organized by the Manila City Hall Department of Tourism.
The four-day celebration will be happening from June 20 to June 23 along the whole stretch of the Roxas Boulevard Baywalk.
Estrada said that the commemoration of the 445th Araw ng Maynila is a blast from the past, going back to how the country’s capital city looked like in the early 19th century.
“Parang nakakalimutan na natin kung paano ang Manila dati. Gusto nating buhayin ang turismo…makita ng mga kabataan kung ano yung kultura dati. It is a preservation of history and culture, para alalahanin ng mga tao ang itsura ng Manila noon,” the mayor said.
“Manila was the only center of commerce. When you say Philippines, Manila na agad. Where Manila goes, others follow. People say a lot of things about Manila, but it is still a premiere city,” he added.
People can expect a lot of amazing attractions awaiting them in the outdoor exhibition. There will be displays of Manileños’ traditional lifestyle and livelihood, as well as the city’s ancient structures. There will even be interactive photo booths. Talented artists will be in the venue for on-the-spot portraiture.
Realistic simulations of the Manileño life will make guests feel like they have really stepped into the real olden world of the city.
Estrada reminisced on how life was like in the olden days. Being born in Tondo, he said that children used to play dama, luksong tinik, and sungka on the streets. He recalled going to church with his mother and seeing women selling candles, rosaries, and other things outside.
He also mentioned that he used to sneak in cockpits with his friends as their source of entertainment. People would travel from one place to another by riding on kalesas and tranvias. All of these will be found in the event for the guests’ enjoyment.
“Ganito kami noong araw. May harana kami, ganito ang ligawan noong araw. Ibang-iba na sa ngayon,” Estrada said.
People will see how boys romantically serenaded the girls before in their nipa huts.
Aside from the many attractions, spectators can expect to watch performers gracing them with live music by playing the Rondalla and Serenata; there will also be a “balagtasan,” and many other forms of entertainment.
This is only one of Mayor Estrada’s pursuits for the tourism development of Manila. The mayor allotted P200 million last January to reacquire the Metropolitan Theater (MET) from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
“The MET was originally owned by the city of Manila. When I became mayor I really wanted to reclaim it and make it the cultural center for the country,” Mayor Estrada said.
“For the past years we have been reviving Manila’s old glory as Asia’s ‘Pearl of the Orient’,” Estrada added.
Mayor Joseph Estrada invites all Manileños: officials, school faculty and students, other sectors, and even non-Manilans, to come and see the sensational “Balik-Tanaw sa Maynila.”
When asked why he is using every muscle to create this event, Mayor Estrada said, “To reminisce the traditions that young people did not see. Para ma-appreciate ng mga tao ang kanilang pinanggalingan. The way to bring back Manila’s old glory is to reflect on the past so we can work on the future. This is for the people of Manila.” PNA/northboundasia.com