Manila now has a new tourist attraction, after the Bureau of the Treasury agreed to open the restored Ayuntamiento Building in Intramuros to foreign and local tourists and the public in general.
Treasurer Roberto Tan said the agency was still finalizing the details on how it could open the historical building to the public, without disrupting the day-to-day operation of the Treasury, which is in charge of raising funds for the government.
“We will coordinate first with the Intramuros Council and see how it can be integrated in the Manila tour,” Tan said.
The BTr spent P1.3 billion for the rehabilitation and restoration of Ayuntamiento de Manila. Tan said “with the cost of restoration, we are happy with how it turned out considering how much we spent.”
“It is not cheap to restore a historical building, there are many limitations,” Tan said.
The treasurer said the agency was not allowed to tear any walls or any part of the original building and was also prohibited to change the design of both interiors and exteriors.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad agreed that such “restoration is expensive.”
Ayuntamiento de Manila, located at the corner of Andrés Soriano Avenue (formerly Calle Aduana) and Cabildo Street beside Manila Cathedral, was rebuilt three times over the past four centuries, after being damaged by earthquakes and war.
It served as the office of the American military governor in 1903 and hosted the First Philippine Assembly. It was destroyed during the Battle of Manila in 1945, with only the outer walls of the first floor standing. The Bureau of Treasurer funded its reconstruction, based on the 19th Century design. It was completed in 2013.