The PNB Financial Center

When we moved to the Philippines, one of our cat carriers was damaged during the flight.  After quite a bit of e-mailing back and forth I convinced Philippine Airlines to cover the cost of the carrier.  The catch was that I had to go all the way to the PNB Financial Center which is near the Mall of Asia in Manila.  It takes about two and a half to three hours to get there from where I’m staying in Antipolo.  It might be a quicker trip if I had a personal vehicle, but I was and still am relying on public transportation, for now.

The building was a lot more impressive than I thought it would be.  I expected to walk into a standard office building with a lobby and some elevators and then go up to some musty offices.  The building had musty offices alright, but the architecture was really amazing.  The eery part is that the place was mostly deserted.  It’s not surprising, considering how it’s in such an out of the way place, but at one point it must have been a bustling center of activity.  Maybe before the advent of ATMs?

PNB Financial Center, Manila

PNB Financial Center, Manila

There is a huge room with a semi-circle of counters that at one time must have served as teller stations for people making over-the-counter transactions at the bank.  The mezzanine has rows of offices, which is where the PAL cashiers are.

PNB Financial Center, Manila

PNB Financial Center, Manila

The balcony and courtyard areas of the building were closed off, but I could look through the windows and see statues and benches.  It would have been nice if I’d been able to look around out there.

Relief Carving at PNB Financial Center, Manila

On the way out of the building, I noticed the relief carvings mounted on the walls of the lobby.  They each had a different scene.  If I remember right they depicted different periods of Philippines history.  I should have taken photos of the other ones, but I was worried the guard would stop me and then make me delete the photos I’d already taken.  I have no idea if photos are allowed in there.

The building has the quiet, empty feeling of a tomb, but has potential.  I think it’d make a great building for a museum, art gallery, or exhibition hall for small events.

My wife mentioned that at one point that area had all been part of a bay and had been modified for use through land reclamation.  It’s no wonder Manila floods.  Part of it is below sea level and the other part is barely above it, as reclaimed land.  Land reclamation is still an impressive thing, though.

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