UP Visayas to formally unveil restored Main Building

UP Visayas will formally unveil the newly-restored UPV Main Building after the turn-over ceremony from the National Historical Commission on Friday, August 16, 2019 at the Iloilo City campus.

NHCP Chairman Rene Escalante and Exec. Director Ludovico D. Badoy will lead the turn-over rites. Sen. Franklin M. Drilon, Deputy Speaker Loren B. Legarda and UP Pres. Danilo Concepcion will be joining the turn-over together with other local officials.

It was in February 28, 1929 when Dona Juliana Melliza formally donated 10,000 square meters of her lot to the Municipal Government of Iloilo to be the location of a dreamt "massive and splendid municipal hall for Iloilo."

On the same year, Municipal Councilor Evelio Zaldivar suggested the presentation of the plan to the Bureau of Public Works (BPW) in Manila for assessment and review, which was unanimously approved by the Municipal Board.  The projected cost of building construction was P90,000.

Engineer Aquino received the grant loan amounting to P50,000.00 on January 20 to February 1931  from the director of the BPW in Manila to start the building construction.

BPW Consulting Architect Juan Arellano designed a very formal, one level structure with neat row of arched windows which started in 1935. The main entrance dividing the horizontal plane in two equal parts echoed the arches of the windows and is flanked on either side by austere looking composite pilasters. It was capped with interesting cupola or dome.

He devised the facade to look more grandiose and interesting by letting his Italian friend, Francesco Riccardo Monti, sculpt  two seated  bronze male statues representing the abstract concepts of Law and Order on either side of the entrance and a bas-relief of four figures above the arched opening. The design of the building is a composite of neo-classical and revivalist influences though Art Deco and nativist elements are predominating in its interior.

The centerpiece of the building are the Court Room and the Session Hall, also known as Lozano Hall, which was named as such in honor of Cresenciano M. Lozano, a Guimarasnon law-maker who authored House Bill 2368 granting Iloilo a status of a chartered city in 1937.

The Iloilo City Hall was inaugurated amid much fanfare and celebration. It was a double celebration during Christmas season in 1936 as the inauguration of the presidencia or the House of the People and the elevation of the municipality of Iloilo into a chartered city by December 19-31, 1936 also took place.

It was in 1945 when Mayor Fernando Lopez and the Iloilo City Council passed Resolution 485 appealing for a Junior College of the University of the Philippines be established in Iloilo (December 18). On February 21, 1946, the city council reiterated to the UP Board of Regents its request for the establishment of UP Junior College in Iloilo.

The city council unanimously approved Resolution 461 formally donating the pre-war city hall and its site of 10.8 hectares for the exclusive use of UP Iloilo College (April 8). The University of the Philippines Iloilo College (UPIC) was formally opened with Dr. Tomas Fonacier as the first Dean on July 1, 1947.

A Restoration grant of P54M was allotted by NHCP in 2017 for the rehabilitation and adaptive re-use of the UPV Main Building through the facilitation of the Sen. Franklin Drilon and Sen. Loren B. Legarda. (With sources from Dr. Randy Madrid, CWVS)

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