THIS week, we begin with the CCP, the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
The CCP is the iconic building on historic Roxas Boulevard that houses the best of the country’s show houses.
The CCP website lists five theaters, the same number of exhibition halls, a library.
CCP is also the name of the entire complex built around the building, said complex home to the Sofitel Hotel, the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), the Coconut Palace, Via Mare restaurant, and others.
I’m thinking, the place I have yet to be in is the Coconut Palace.
The CCP is one of many iconic buildings designed by Leandro Locsin, named Philippine National Artist for Architecture in 1990. He was commissioned by Imelda Marcos to design the CCP, which reportedly took three years to build, being finished in 1999. The CCP as an arts center was also established in that same year.
Side story: In the 1970s, amidst much toasting to the CCP architectural design (among its many other merits), rumor had it that the design was actually not original, that the CCP’s was already a copy. Pictures of the so-called original were widely circulated, and were even recently accessible through Google. Now, a Google search no longer shows the “original.” Hmmm.
Anyway. So the CCP is an Imeldific structure, essentially built by Imelda Marcos’s famed velvet glove. As were countless other landmarks – the Coconut Palace, the PICC, the Heart Center, the Kidney Center, the Lung Center, the Film Center, and so on and so forth. As an artist, though, I hold dearest the CCP itself, where I was lucky enough to perform in maaaaaaaany moons ago, as Inangbayan, mentioned in “Baguio Connections 4.”
So imagine my personal distress at being in another Imeldific building, the Baguio Convention Center (BCC), in all these past three decades, when it has become dilapidated. Whenever I am there, the performer in me, her heart – it bleeds. I sometime feel like I’m in an Ally McBeal scene where goblets of blood are spurting from my feet as I walk anywhere in the BCC, so rundown it is. I have to step outside of it to morph back into myself, blood back in my feet, background music normalized.
Right now, however, the writer in me is thinking: who’s the architect of the BCC? Next, week, we start there.