Message: Opening of the Homecoming of “Muhon: Traces of an Adolescent City”

October 27, 2017

Message of Senator Loren Legarda

Opening of the Homecoming of

“Muhon: Traces of an Adolescent City”

26 October 2017 | Metropolitan Museum of Manila

We all know that nothing is constant in this world but change. It is inevitable because we always seek to improve, innovate and progress.

But when is a time to pause and choose to preserve rather than to develop something new?

Tonight, we will welcome these thoughts as we open the exhibit that proudly represented the Philippines in its inaugural participation at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2016.

Muhon is now home.

This exhibition underscores the reality that architecture must respond to human needs. Building is not only about creating new structures all the time. It is also about revitalizing communities and connecting the present with the past. Cities and its architecture, in a way, shape our personal narrative while allowing us to connect as a community.

Muhon reminds us that our appreciation of the past and the current actions we take will determine our future.

As we go around the exhibition later, let us allow ourselves to be immersed in each muhon. In the first room, History, let us appreciate each muhon’s history, its grandeur or naivete, its significance and apparent purpose; so that in the second room, Modernity, we can ask if each muhon deserves the current state that it has been put into; and finally, in the third room, Conjecture, we are given the chance to accept, even challenge, what each artist or architect think of how a muhon could end up in the future.

These nine muhons are but a few of the symbols of our built heritage in our midst that we often neglect but are likely part of our everyday living and of who we are. This exhibition initiates a dialogue on the progress of our architecture and issues on preservation and conservation of our heritage. Let that dialogue ignite that spark that will transform into individual and collective action.

Now that Muhon is home, we are in for a more challenging journey. As we continue to participate in the Venice Biennale—our Philippine Pavilion for the 2017 Arte Biennale, The Spectre of Comparison, proudly stands in the Arsenale, and we have just chosen the curator for our Philippine Pavilion at the 2018 Architecture Biennale, Architect Edson Cabalfin and his curatorial concept, The City Who Had Two Navels—the challenge of continuity remains.

I have filed in the Senate a proposed measure that seeks to institutionalize the Philippine participation in the international exhibitions of the Venice Biennale. It has already been approved in the committee level and we hope that it will be enacted before 2019 so that even beyond my term as senator, we will continue to participate in the Venice Biennale.

That is why it is also important that we bring home the exhibition that was in Venice. So that we nurture appreciation of art among Filipinos, so that in time, it is already the people themselves who will urge government to give due importance to art and culture.

Our participation in the Venice Biennale is one way of conversing with other nations, it is an avenue to establish contact and share our culture with the world. Art is a form of cultural diplomacy, which is a soft opener to our political and economic initiatives with other nations.

With that, I thank you all for joining us tonight. Thank you and congratulations to the team behindMuhon: our curators: Andy Locsin, Sudar Khadka, and JP dela Cruz; and our participating artists and architects: Poklong Anading, Tad Ermitaño, Mark Salvatus, Eduardo Calma, Jorge Yulo, 8×8 Design Studio, C|S Design Consultancy, Lima Architecture, and Mañosa & Co.

Let Muhon fill you with motivation to preserve the heritage that rightfully belongs to the people.

Thank you.