Historic prewar sculptures return to Jones Bridge amid restoration

Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 23 2019 12:24 PM

MANILA - Two sculptures of the so-called "La Madre Filipina" have been brought back to their original location at the Jones Bridge in Manila, just days before its rehabilitated design is inaugurated.

Manila Mayor Isko Moreno inspected the progress made on the bridge at dawn Saturday, which he said he has been doing nightly.

"Siyempre, excited kami bilang Manileño, maibabalik na sa kaniyang bahay ang La Madre Filipina dito sa Jones Bridge," he said.

(Of course, we’re excited as Manileños, La Madre Filipina will return to its home here at Jones Bridge.)

The La Madre Filipina originally consisted of four unique statues representing different aspects of the Philippine motherland and were placed at the four ends of the prewar bridge designed by Juan Arellano.

One was lost in the Battle of Manila during World War 2. The surviving statues were relocated.

A replica of the lost sculpture, which was reconstructed from accounts and old footage, was the first to be brought back to the bridge.

It depicts the La Madre with a torch and potted plant with two men on her side.

The other one was moved Friday night from its previous location at Rizal Park after the City of Manila, the Department of Tourism, and the Intramuros Administration signed a memorandum of agreement turning over custody of the statue.

This one shows the mother caring for a girl and a boy.

The last two statues remain at the Court of Appeals building in Manila.

One statue has the La Madre with a child and older male, the other with two young men holding representations of law, government, and technology.

Moreno said he is confident these sculptures would eventually return to their place on the other end of the bridge.

Aside from the now-viral classic lamp posts placed on the bridge, retrofitting also includes solar-powered light sources on the road, as well as lights on the side of the structure.

Original Filipino songs will also be blasted from speakers placed amid plants in the middle of the bridge.

The songs will focus on the kundiman or classic Filipino love songs.

"Naglagay tayo ng konting music parang ambience lang, patutugtugin natin, mga kundiman, para mapaalala natin sa mga kabataan anong uri ng musika mayroon tayo," Moreno said.

(There will be kundiman songs playing in the background to remind the youth the kind of music we had back then.)

"I hope magustuhan ng lungsod ng Maynila at ating mga kababayang Pilipino. Unti-unti nang sinasabuhay ang nakaraan at ano ang tunay na Maynila."

(I hope people will appreciate this. We are slowly reviving the past, and what true Manila is.)

When renovations done on the historic Jones Bridge in Manila are unveiled to the public on Sunday, the first two sculptures will be standing on pillars at the foot of the bridge, seemingly welcoming commuters to Binondo on the other side.

They may at first seem new to many passersby, but the sculptures both represent and are part of the original design the bridge is trying to return to through its restoration.