Presidential aspirant and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso said he is expecting an influx of local and foreign tourists to the Manila City Hall’s iconic clock tower once all the renovations are completed and the view deck is opened to the public.
Considered as the Philippines’ version of London’s “Big Ben,” Moreno said improvements were done to the historic clock tower as part of the local city government’s efforts to make it one of Manila’s premier attractions.
Moreno was very impressed with the materials used in the renovation of the viewing deck as this will attract more tourists both local and foreign. Comfort rooms where were also constructed at the clock tower for use of visitors.
“That’s correct. It’s not like the government is saving because it will be a tourist attraction for foreigners,” Moreno declared, during his inspection of the clock tower Wednesday. He was accompanied by Manila City Engineer Armand Andres as well as other city hall officials and employees.
The 47-year-old presidential aspirant said the Manila City Hall clock tower can be compared to that of the Old Post Office and Clock Tower located in Washington, D.C.
“The view deck is beautiful. When I was in Washington, I used to go to the post office in Washington. That’s where the idea came from. Of all post offices, it is simply the tallest in all of Washington D.C. Then you take the elevator just a little bit and you see the whole of Washington. It looks like this. That’s where its concept was taken, from that of the Old Washington Post Office,” Moreno said.
With several improvements still to be done in the clock tower, Moreno told those in charge of the renovation work to put up a coffee shop where visitors can relax and chat with friends and loved ones.
Moreno said even judges, fiscals, lawyers, and city hall officials and employees can also drop by the place during break time or if they are not busy with their work.
“Prosecutors, judges, employees, lawyers can have snacks. They can also have meetings there,” Moreno said.
The Aksyon Demokratiko standard-bearer also instructed the renovation team to put up information boards about the history of Manila so that visitors may also learn of the city’s very rich history. A space will also, be reserved for painters and other artists to showcase their works.
“The history of Manila should be here. The Battle of Manila, the era of the Muslims, Spaniards, Americans, Japanese, we will put there here. So when people go, they take a walk on the view deck, because it’s sightseeing,” Moreno said.
Moreno said an information board should also be put up telling about the history of the tower clock for better appreciation of the place.
“Then the tourists should be packaged with tourist attractions that include Manila Zoo, the Jones Bridge, Lagusnilad, Kartilya (of the Katipunan), Mehan Garden, then Intramuros. You can do this for the tourism group,” he added.
An iconic trademark of Manila and of its city hall, the clock tower was designed by Antonio Toledo and was unveiled in the 1930s. Being the largest clock tower in the Philippines, the hexagonal-shaped tower has one red-faced clock placed on its three facets.
Looming east of Intramuros, the neoclassical city hall building is distinguished by an attractive clock tower that is beautifully illuminated at night. It was destroyed during World War II and rebuilt in 1946.
In the evenings, the clock tower is kept illuminated by light. The bell of the clock tower is rung three times before being followed by a melody.
The bells that are located within the tower make a sound to mark the break time of Manila City Hall employees. The bells ring again at the closing of the business day.
During the Christmas season, the clock tower is programmed to play Christmas carols that can be heard outside the confines of the building of Manila City Hall.
Although monitored regularly for synchronization, there were times that the three clocks of the Manila City Hall clock tower would each show different times.