Guest article by Jessica Greenberg
(Image: oscarmachaconjr, reproduced with permission)
The first time I saw Compania Maritima, I was surprised to find a hollow structure with beautiful arcs and balusters that made me wonder what the building used to be during its glory days. If ever you get to visit Cebu City in the Philippines, you’ll find the building near Plaza Independencia facing the South Road Properties (or SRP), a highway beside the sea, giving it the look of an abandoned shipping office.
(Image: Michael Sinjin Pineda, reproduced with permission)
Built in 1910, the Compania Maritima was once known as the Fernandez Building. It was occupied by the Shamrock Hotel during the pre-war years, but the building’s internal structure and roof were destroyed during the liberation of Cebu City in 1945.
After the liberation, the crumbling building was repaired and became the main office of Compania Maritima, one of the biggest shipping lines in Cebu City serving many key cities in the Philippines. Compania Maritima also occupied the first international port in Cebu. But the company filed for bankruptcy in the late 1980’s and the building has been abandoned ever since.
(Image: Lureyn Llemit, reproduced with permission)
Local authorities are thought to be considering a law that will protect Compania Maritima and other heritage sites within Cebu City. There are also reports that the Compania Maritima building will be transformed into a maritime museum. Such a heritage site would certainly be a point of pride for the city.
About the Author:
Jessica Greenberg is an exchange student from San Diego, California. She is currently studying architecture in Cebu City, Philippines and is fond of landscaping and design.
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