My grandma has often told me how Escolta was the prime Commercial spot of the Philippines in her youth. How there was once a tram line which, sadly, disappeared after the World war 2. Even during the occupation, Escolta was the place to be, after all commercial establishments built their headquarters there which exuded wealth in decoration as a sign of stability.
After the war, Escolta would never be the same again but the aura of the place would remain until the rise of Makati in the seventies. Fortunately some of the Art-deco buildings are still visible in Escolta, but they are a dying breed. Whereas in other countries, governments strive to maintain these edifices with participation of the private sector, our government isn’t doing enough to promote conservation. The only realistic way of preserving this heritage, is to allow them to be used by the private sector with architectural constraints. In other countries, it is a prestige for businesses to set up shop and preserve city landmarks.
As Manileños or as tourists of Manila we can help restore Escolta, by giving interest to it, visiting it or through activism by protesting against the demolition of buildings like El Hogar, for example.
Having said that here’s how you can spend a day in Escolta…There are lots ways to reach Escolta, but the most original way is by using the Pasig river Ferry. Fares go from 28 pesos to 95 pesos depending on the distance, the ferry line stretches from Pinagbuhatan, Pasig till Intramuros. From Makati, the nearest stop is Guadalupe which is very close to Guadalupe MRT station .