Assessing The Cainta Municipal Hall Cultural Studies Essay

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The former Municipal Hall of Cainta does not exist anymore since it has been completely destroyed by fire. Therefore, today's Cainta Municipal Hall was built and finished in 1995 during the term of its then-Mayor Benjamin Felix. The pleasing horizontal looks and its highly developed style of architecture reflects the region's step towards economic modernization. Therefore, we can no longer see signs of Spanish colonial architecture in today's Cainta Municipal Hall. In fact, the current building of the municipal hall reveals to us on how the field of architecture has been revolutionized through time.

The architectural structure of the building breaks away from the historical style of architecture. Therefore, this prevents the region from maintaining its cultural and historical atmosphere. The modernized architectural features of the municipal hall seem to attract businesses and commercial establishments instead of its local people. In fact, it represents the economical competitiveness and as well as shows its intensive move towards economic growth and development. The economic stability and prosperity seems to be the region's top priority. Therefore, their deep rooted cultural, historical, and ethnical characteristics remains neglected.

As a center for commerce and industry, all these modernized structure and features we see in the municipal hall of Cainta serves for a common purpose and that is to broaden its local economy. Therefore, these prevents their local constituents from appreciating and as well as transmitting their own unique cultural identity and traditions. In fact, their intensive move towards modernization and industrialization also becomes a major barrier to the region's traditional conservation efforts. Therefore, the major challenge of the region is to attract commercial establishments and as well as inspire its constituents to take pride with their own roots and traditions in today's much globalized society.

Our Lady of Light Parish

In 1707, Padre Gaspar Marco S.J. initiated the construction of the stone church in Cainta. And this was later on completed by Padre Joaquin Sanchez in 1716. Our Lady of Light Parish is one of the oldest living historical parishes in the province of Rizal. Even though the parish was not able to survive and withstand the impact of wars, earthquakes, and typhoons, we could still see the remains of its original structure on the outer walls and the façade of the parish. Unfortunately, the interior of the parish had to undergo major renovations. Therefore, we can hardly see the original interior structure of the old parish. However, the influence of the Spanish colonial architecture is still evident. In fact, its architecture clearly unveils the impact of three hundred thirty three years of Spanish colonization in the Philippines.

The overall structure of the parish appears to be influenced by early Christian and Byzantine style of architecture. In fact, the plan of its structure is in longitudinal form and it has a cross shape plan with dome over its central axis. And its repetitive identical shape of the windows creates and over all sense of harmony and balance. The interior decoration of the parish on the other hand also seems to have been influenced by Byzantine visual art, since the parish is decorated with glowing mosaic art portraying Crucifixion of Christ and Mary. And apparently, these glowing pieces of artwork leave people awestruck as it represents the divinity and magnificence of its religious icons.

Our Lady of Light Parish is indeed the living historical heritage of Cainta. Therefore, it has been regarded as the greatest pride of its people and as well as its region. The subjects depicted in the parish visual artwork also represent the culture and living traditions of its townspeople. In fact, the famous plays and re-enactment of Crucifixion of Christ such as Cenakulo and Penetecia has been regarded as a representation of their own distinctive cultural identity. Therefore, the parish represents the historical background of the region and as well as help preserve their own cultures and traditions. In fact through this, people continuously live out their traditions through generations. And no doubt that parish will continuously bring people together artistically and religiously.

Cainta Public Market

The region's traditional lifestyle has changed over time. In fact, good quality and relatively inexpensive imported homeware products seem to hinder the production of the region's traditional indigenous crafts. Therefore, we can see few stalls with old traditional yet artistic stuffs like banig, sombrero, pamaypay, andador, duyan, and palayok. In fact, people no longer get acquainted with their own local arts and crafts.

Cainta public market place reflects on how the region embraces the western economic ways in order to thrive in the global economy. Therefore as a result, the townspeople have become so detached from their very own history, traditions, and cultures. In fact we can see how industrialization and modernization threatens the preservation and conservation of the region's ethnicity in today's much globalized society.

Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall

Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall is the biggest and the most visited shopping mall of Cainta. It is also popular among its neighboring provinces. Mall is truly a place where globalization is rapidly taking place. In fact, we can hardly see signs of traditional and cultural arts inside the mall. It seems like the aesthetic appreciation among the people has changed over time. As I entered the building, I heard modern and international pop music everywhere. Moreover, the mall is filled with colorful photos, signs, banners, and posters. As I walked around the mall, I was able to see how foreign looking models have dominated the place. In fact, even mannequins do not mirror nor reflect the image of ethnic Filipinos. This evidently communicates to us the influence of colonization and globalization to our community's perception of beauty.

Food court located at the ground level of the mall is lined up with Filipino native delicacies and typical everyday Filipino foods. However, as I went up to the other floors, I got mesmerized with the designs and interiors of the foreign restaurants, food chains, and cafes. Everything seems to be a matter of entertainment since people are more attracted to places with modern and luxurious environment. Modern beauty salons have also become popular community art space, since it allows the people to undergo various artistic experiences. However, all of these are clear representation of how our native and ethnic arts are threatened by these various contemporary arts in today's multicultural society.

The movie theatre of the mall has always been popular among the people. In fact, this has become a famous art form which a lot of people enjoys and appreciates nowadays. The indoor amusement and entertainment center is also visited by a lot of people. Here we can witness the prominent symbols and top tourist attractions of other countries such as the Eiffel Tower, Tower of Pisa, Pyramid, Taj Mahal and even Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The place has always been an ideal bonding place for families and friends. Therefore, if prominent symbols and top tourist attractions of the Philippines were presented instead, then, it might have not only received credit but might have also become a truly educational place.

The Filipiniana corner of the department store is the only place where we can get a glimpse of various Philippine indigenous arts and crafts. Here, we can find native handicrafts such as wood carvings, baskets, jewelries, hand woven bags, and many other items with various tribal designs. However, the influence of foreign cultures can also be witnessed, since there are items such as happy Buddha, Chinese money frog, and framed Filipino version of Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper. Since art is an integral part of our lives, local and international businesses have fused commerce with art and as well as technology. Therefore in today's capitalist society, art serves for income generating and money-making purposes. In fact, commercial art nowadays endangers our own cultural unique identity and prevents us from appreciating our own traditions and cultures. Therefore, we should strive really hard to preserve and promote our own rich traditional and ethnographic art.

As we all know, the culture of the two very influential countries, Spanish and America respectively was brought to the Philippines. Therefore through this very enriching experience, I was able to once again see how the culture of the Philippines was expropriated by these two very influential countries during their colonization. The colonial culture indeed dominated the lifestyle of the native Filipinos, but now globalization and capitalism is taking its place.