A country’s theater is a landmark – CCP should be a tourist destination – Manila Bulletin
The 50-year-old main building of the Cultural Center of the Philippines finally gets a makeover
Turning 53 this year, the main building of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) will finally get its long-awaited facelift thanks to a three-year rehabilitation plan starting this year until 2025.
The plan emanates from the audit of the building carried out from 2018 to 2019, which became the basis of what needed to be treated and rehabilitated.
“The building audit made it possible to diagnose the extent of the necessary repairs. The data collection assessment indicated that there are damage issues at several sites, such as leaks, corrosion and structural weaknesses caused by water ingress, earthquakes and fatigue. Additionally, we need to update the center’s fire protection, environmental protection and other building codes,” said CCP President Margie Moran-Floirendo.
PCC President Arsenio J. Lizaso says the center is a source of pride for all Filipinos and a showcase of the best in Filipino arts and cultures. Therefore, there is a strong need to rehabilitate the CCP.
“Philippine audiences deserve a national cultural center where they can enjoy the arts in a comfortable setting redesigned for its time. Our artists need new and better stages and places to showcase and showcase their talents and abilities. We need venues that can accommodate more modern productions, as well as globally competitive stage facilities and equipment. We need training facilities for our actors, dancers and other performers,” Lizaso said.
The whole project will cost around £950m, of which £440m has been earmarked for the first phase and £515m for the second phase, which is expected to cover the refurbishment of the hydraulic pit, elevators loads and lighting and sound systems for theatres.
During “Bulawan,” the CCP’s 50th anniversary gala, Moran-Floirendo led the fundraising project for the rehabilitation and renovation of its facilities, with BDO Unibank Inc. underwriting the gala concert and donating the first ₱ million.
“We are hoping for additional funds from the government so that we can include other important elements. We anticipate that once fully renovated, the main CCP building will last for another 50 years,” said CCP Administrative Manager Teresa Rances.
The rehabilitation project of the Tanghalang Pambansa (main building of the PCC) begins on the fourth floor, roof terrace, and at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (small theater of the PCC). Over the next two years, the plan targets the remaining floors. Renovation work will continue on the upper and lower basements until 2025.
According to the plan, the Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo (main theater of the PCC) will be the last to be rehabilitated, probably from 2024. This includes the renovation of the hydraulic orchestra pit, which has not been modified since its installation in 1969.
The freight elevator, which is often used to bring massive sets, heavy equipment and musical instruments directly to the theater stage, will also find a new lease of life. Both theaters have flooring issues and the wood planks on the walls have termite infestations that need to be dealt with.
The foundation of the building will have reinforcement works, although its general condition is still quite stable.
The audit report also showed that it was necessary to revise the power lines and the drainage system. The old drainage system has too many corroded metal pipes.
CCP plans to construct a new outdoor cistern in the south parking area to supply water to the main building and the nearby Production Design Center (PDC). It will also supply water to the fire protection system, which will be built side by side with the cistern tank. It will generate water for the sprinklers. Although a foam type fire system has been installed in areas where artwork is located to protect CCP’s valuable assets.
Currently, the wastewater treatment plant is connected to the main building of the CCP and to the PDC. This year, the CCP intends to connect the Tanghalang Ignacio Gimenez (CCP Black Box Theatre) and the financial/administrative building to the factories.
A new power line has been installed running from Buendia to CCP, passing through Liwasang Kalikasan and Power Center before connecting to Black Box Theatre.
The fountain has been restored. Nozzles and light fixtures have been repaired and lights have been replaced with LED lights. The chandeliers have also been refurbished.
There are other areas that need attention. “Due to climate change, the water surge is quite different now. There was a time when establishments around the complex and along Roxas Boulevard were flooded due to a typhoon. The lower basement is already below sea level, and we anticipate water could soar up, reach the power banks and cause an explosion. By getting them out, we hope to avoid this kind of problem in the future,” Rances said.
The materials used for the rehabilitation – the type of waterproofing, the replacement of corroded parts, the type of cement, among others – have been studied to adapt to the current climate. “We are moving slowly but surely,” Rances said. Every detail is studied, from the materials to the work itself. We are looking for the best possible options. Being near the bay on reclaimed land requires careful thought.
The project is made possible by the CCP Board of Directors through the Ad Hoc Renovations Committee, which is led by Trustees Stanley Seludo and Marivic del Pilar, and the CCP President’s Office. The Administrative Services Department (ASD) will oversee the entire project and work with project management firm Oscar R. Ruivivar and Associates and construction company Vista Green Builders.
CCP was fortunate to have its own team of engineers who take on the responsibility of restoring the building to its former glory. “Our engineers regularly monitor the health of an aging structure, and we are fortunate to have a great in-house team, project managers and the contractor who won the tender,” Moran-Floirendo said. .
The PCC ensures that it remains faithful to the original plan designed by national artist Leandro Locsin, hoping to preserve it as much as possible.
Lizaso hopes that once the rehabilitation is complete, the new CCP compound will become a tourist destination, attracting people from all over the Philippines and the world. It will then become autonomous and will no longer need large government subsidies.
“Ultimately, we aim to be on par with theaters around the world, in terms of technology, space and content. A country’s theater is a landmark. CCP is the home of Filipino artists and should be a tourist destination. For artists and cultural workers, the wish list is long. But with the rehabilitated building, we can at least be assured that the structural health of the building will last another 50 years,” concluded Moran-Floirendo.
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