Anda monument

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It is sad to see the Anda Rotonda go. Here was a magnificent circle with enough open space to be a park, looking green under the sun, emerald in the rain, existing in the midst of traffic and congestion to show a better way of doing things. It was a welcome sight and a glimpse of felicity like open space, greenery and a legacy to be cherished and remembered. For the monument to Anda, who stood up to the British who came to these shores in illwill to plunder, a precious legacy was the norm of the times. And now the rotonda will be broken into pieces replaced by traffic lights for four streets or maybe just two. And the monument will be transferred to some obscure part of Intramuros, out of sight mostly. Is this the future we will face? Will the Quezon Memorial be undone, will Remedios Circle be reconfigured to smaller pieces, more concrete, diminished space? How mundane, banal and unimaginative. And ineffective for traffic and perilous for any monument as historical legacy that is there.

If this is a DPWH idea, it is a misbegotten one. Rotondas are traffic regulators with more amplitude for different directions than traffic lights. This means you are not curtailed to four directions but can have more – six, eight, etc. Washington DC has the Du Pont Circle which has proven its worth through time. London has the Piccadilly Circus (circus is another term for rotonda). Madrid has a distinctive number all over the inner city i.e. Cibeles, etc. Rotondas are used to access one’s chosen street in flowing traffic. Everyone slows down when entering a rotonda and maneuvers toward where he will get off. It is orderly, continuous and not time-consuming unlike waiting out traffic lights.

Manila has been losing its roundabouts or rotondas over the years. The one that had the Carriedo Fountain in the middle which used to be in Sta. Mesa or Magsaysay Boulevard was exiled to the National Water and Sewerage Agency (NAWASA) office in Quezon city, out of place and out of mind. It effectively undid the rotonda in the area. Has the traffic improved in Sta. Mesa (despite flyovers instead of rotondas?), not really. Traffic lights have not helped, there is always a waiting time instead of a continuous flow. Meanwhile the result of this precipitate move in Sta. Mesa is that of obscuring the legacy of Carriedo who donated the first waterworks for Manila and is now forgotten and unhonored by a city with no feeling for the past, thanks to present clueless administrators.

I grieve for the Anda Monument which like a Lego toy to a child is allowed to be dismantled, moved aside and, well, forgotten. It deserves better. It is a tall monument and I worry how it will be moved and by whose expertise and concern. I do not see these essentials with the way we treat the past or what is left of the past to us. It seems to hold no value from the indifference if not vandalism that prevails. On our watch we are seeing its dismantling in unacceptable ways. First we neglect our tangible legacy, then we pronounce it damaged, obsolete and meaningless which then forms the basis for finally doing away with it.


Can someone ever explain why we lost the Jai Alai building in executioner-style fashion? Can someone justify the demolition of the wall with the Monti sculptures from the pre-war Meralco building? What about the exchange of old monuments for new as in Plaza Roma in the past? What about the criminal neglect of the Metropolitan Theatre, now derelict, soon a ruin? For the majority, particularly those in charge, new is always better, old is obsolete, almost embarrassing. No wonder we have less and less grace in our public lives from our dismissive, heartless and ingrate attitudes towards the past.

Sorry, but getting rid of rotondas is not even modern or effective. Watch what port congestion will do to the unrotonda that takes the place of the Anda Monument site. The European Union which has embarked and accomplished the modernization of highways throughout its member countries uses rotondas as a standard for regulating traffic and it works very well. Rotondas indicate the use of skill and discipline, maybe that is what we cannot come up with. We have horror vacui, amnesia, inattention, ignorance and a destructive streak. Therefore, away with rotondas.

In the case of the condemnation of the Anda Monument and rotonda as a solution to the Port Area traffic problem, it will be one that will not hold.

miongpin@yahoo.com

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3 Comments

  1. Indeed, rotondas are good traffic regulators and better than traffic lights. They were even adopted in Australia some 20 years. I have seen the ones in Sydney where my siblings lives. It is sheer stupidity to remove the Anda monument and Rotanda to improve traffic and relocate it to an obscure place in Intramuros.

    Anyone who says that the removal of Anda Monument & Rotanda is long overdue Speaks Out of Ignorance.without any idea on traffic engineering and the historical value of the monument. i have seen what happened to the Carriedo fountain at Nagtahan located at the junction of Ramon Magsaysay Blvd. and Gov. Forbes. Yes, it has been consigned to oblivion in Balara at the MWSS & LWUA compound. What a pity. A Spanish-Filipino father of a triend told me it will never happen in Spain.

    I am reminded when I was in Italy in 1989. Their subway system cannot be finished because there were archaeological findings in the areas where diggings were done. These artifacts had to be evaluated for its historical value. The construction did not continue until the value of the artifacts were assessed by authorities.

  2. Rotondas in Manila are mostly archaic and the one at Anda is long over-due to be removed. As to the statue being moved to an obscure location, that is up to the people and the government. Why pre-judge?

  3. please leave the monument as is,better transfer all the pier and container port outside the

    city, just like in other country