MANILA, Philippines – Google joins the commemoration of the City of Manila’s 444th founding anniversary with the launch of Manila Reborn, an exhibit on the postwar reconstruction of the city featured on Google Cultural Institute as part of its remarkable collection on Remembering the Second World War. Manila Reborn explores how war can destroy a city and transform a way of life, while highlighting the resilience and adaptability of Filipinos.
“We want the viewers to understand that no one really wins in a war,” said Faye Cura, associate manager in charge of Filipinas Heritage Library’s special projects & exhibitions, who wrote and curated the exhibit. “It destroyed a lot of our heritage, books & artworks & buildings—which many young Filipinos today are not aware of.”
The exhibit includes pre- and post-war photos by Teodulo Protomartir, the notable Filipino photographer who first brought the 35mm format to the Philippines and popularized street photography; and photos of the Battle for Manila from the US Army’s collection. Most of the pictures were provided by Prof. Ricardo Jose, an expert on World War II – Pacific Theater.
Many of the images from the war are available in libraries and archives abroad, but its continued digitization have widened their accessibility. The photographs of the exhibit have long been a part of the Filipinas Heritage Library’s Retrato Photo Collection, which were digitized and catalogued prior to Manila Reborn—but not on a platform as easily accessible to the world.
According to Faye, “Manila Reborn could have been released in digital form 10 years ago, but it would have lacked the added historical perspective provided by the last decade—when a lot of the technological developments and the booming of Internet culture began to take place.”
“There is an abundance of art, history and heritage that is only accessible to those who are fortunate enough to go see them,” said Gail Tan, Google Philippines Head of Communications and Public Affairs. “Through Cultural Institute, we hope to make these pieces of art, history and heritage available and accessible to everyone.”
Cultural Institute is a product of Google’s mission to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Google has played the role of technology enabler for museums and galleries to share their collections and educate the world the world since 2011.