Perceptions of Tourists to Manila Hotel and Its Contribution to Philippine Culture

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PERCEPTIONS OF TOURISTS TO MANILA HOTEL AND ITS CONTRIBUTION TO PHILIPPINE CULTURE CHAPTER 1
The Problem and Its Background
Introduction
Unknown to many, the Manila Hotel is one of the attractions that the government can offer to both local and foreign tourists. It is a showcase of Filipino Ingenuity and the uniqueness of artistry that only a Filipino can do. Most of the Filipinos, particularly those in the provincial areas are not aware of the beauty of Manila Hotel. Lucky are those who have visited and toured citadel and personally viewed the eye-catching designs and the fantastic interiors.

The Manila Hotel is a 570-room, five star hotel in Manila, Philippines, located in the heart of the Manila Bay area. It is the oldest premiere hotel in the Philippines, built in 1909 to rival the Malacañan Palace, the official residence of the president of the Philippines, and opened in 1912. It was built on an area of 35,000 square meters along Roxas Boulevard.

Filipinos should be aware of the wealth and resources that abound in the country. It may not only refer to natural resources but also includes those that were created or built for whatever purpose it may serve. The manila Hotel can be taken into account as one of them. However, only few have knowledge about this fortress; most of them are well-known personalities and government functionaries who have access to the place. Common or ordinary Filipinos have no information, unfamiliar and not interested on this important asset.

Gracefully standing in one nook in the Bay Area is the Grand Dame of all Philippine Hotels, the Manila Hotel. Built in 1909 and opened to the public 3 years later, the Manila Hotel is a good reminder to the country’s colonial past as well as of days of a bygone era, of knights and maids, of gentlemen and ladies, of taste and temperance, of quality and urbanity

It was in the tenure of Governor General William Howard Taft when the beautification and planning of Manila were undertaken under the supervision of top architect and DC city planner, Daniel Burnham. Tasked of overseeing the development of Manila and Baguio, Burnham prepared a master plan for Manila that was slowly implemented. Some of the remnants of this master plan are the restored Neo-Classical corridor found along Roxas Boulevard (formerly Dewey Boulevard). In the same plan was the proposed construction of the Manila Hotel. However, it was Architect William Parsons who would make the Manila Hotel a reality. A graduate of Paris’ Ecole des Beaux Arts and a former professor of architecture at Yale, Parsons led the construction of the Manila Hotel.

Built in the “California Mission” style, the Manila Hotel was basically a large, white-washed concrete house with a pitched roof colored green. Designed for the tropics, the steep roofs were built for the good interior ventilation as well as the easy run-off of rainwater. As one drives up the circular driveway leading to the main entrance, the guest enters into the grand lobby. Its original lobby (which is presently the restored Manila Hotel’s fore-lobby) was huge during its time and was gracefully appointed. The entire lobby was white and was accentuated with lush tropical green plants. Supported by twin white Doric columns, and separated by exquisite arches, the lobby showcased two grand stairways. The two grand staircases led to the mezzanine where a music room, guests’ parlor, and Children’s dining room were found. The Children’s dining room was a very Victorian hallmark, which helped the adults in having comfortable and “worry”-free meals.

The Manila Hotel was also the first Asian hotel to sport electric elevators. There were two elevators in the lobby, one for each side. There were also two private elevators and a servants’ elevator. The main dining room of the pre-war Manila Hotel spanned from the left end of the lobby towards the direction of the bay. It was semi-circle in order to insure each guest of an...
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