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MANILA – The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) on Friday unveiled a historical marker at the newly-reopened Luneta Hotel in Manila.
Luneta Hotel, which has yet to be officially launched to the public on Manila Day this year, was reconstructed jointly by its private owners and the NHCP.
Because it was considered a historical site, NHCP ensured that every detail of the hotel since it first opened for business in 1918 will be restored.
Luneta Hotel owner Dr. Grace Francisco-Torres said that giving the hotel a historical marker challenges its administration to enrich further its historical and cultural value.
“Sa pagbubukas ng Luneta Hotel sa susunod na buwan, makakaasa kayo na ito ay maghuhudyat ng panibagong pahina ng kasaysayang iaambag namin sa aming mahal na siyudad na Maynila at sa ating bansa,” said Torres.
The French renaissance-styled hotel was designed by Spanish architect-engineer Salvador Farre.
According to its owners, the hotel became popular among the elites and foreign dignitaries in the country during the colonial period. It survived the bombing of Manila by the Japanese soldiers and sheltered American GIs during World War II.
The unveiling of the historical marker and soft launch of Luneta Hotel was also attended by NHCP Chair Dr. Maria Serena Diokno, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and Manila Tourism Consultant Carlos Celdran, among others.
Luneta Hotel will resume its operations on June 24. The prices of its suites range from P2,900 to less than P9,000.
INCREASE IN TOURISTS EXPECTED
Meanwhile, Celdran claimed that the restoration and reopening of the Luneta Hotel means that Filipinos are finally reclaiming back their identity.
“It’s ushering a new age. It’s nice to see that the Philippines is investing in its own history by restoring it. This could have been another tragic story of another beautiful hotel torn down.”
Celdran also said that because Manila is embracing its heritage, a boost in its tourism industry is expected to happen.
“As we can see, cities that value their heritage have high tourist arrivals. Nobody wants to go to an ugly city that looks like everywhere. Manila is reclaiming its heritage, reclaiming its identity so definitely the increase in tourists is bound to happen.”
He also emphasized the importance of the Heritage Law of 2009 which gave NHCP the power to protect cultural sites like the Luneta Hotel from being destroyed.
“Thanks to the Heritage Law of 2009, all the heritage buildings cannot be torn down without the approval of the NHCP. Thanks to the Heritage Law of 2009, we have not much to worry about but we still have to be vigilant.”