La Madre Filipina
The La Madre Filipina (The Filipino Mother) sculpture that stood at the Rizal Park is now back on top of the pillar at the Jones Bridge. Credits to NCCA via NPDC.

A pair of La Madre Filipina (The Filipino Mother) pre-war statues have been reinstalled, as promised, by the inauguration of the picture-perfect revitalized Jones Bridge in Manila held November 24, a hundred years after the historic bridge was originally commissioned in 1919.

The highlight of the Jones Bridge inauguration ceremony led to the introduction of a pair of La Madre Filipina Statues that were newly installed on top of towering pillars at the foot of the bridge leading to Binondo Chinatown and Escolta.

One of the reinstalled statues was the actual original sculpture by master sculptor Ramon Martinez sitting on the pillar of the original Jones Bridge.

The La Madre Filipina depicts a sculpture of a mother comforting her weeping son, and alongside the mother is her daughter looking innocently at her mother’s face.

The sculpture was recovered from the Rizal Park near the Rizal Monument where it stood for many decades after being removed from its original post at the bridge.

The transfer of the statue back to its original home at Jones Bridge was facilitated by a Memorandum of Agreement between the City of Manila and the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) with the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Intramuros Administration, in support of the city’s restoration projects and preservation of Manila’s heritage sites.

Two La Madre Filipinas now sit atop pillars on the Jones Bridge. Photo courtesy of Intramuros Administration and Manila Tourism Cultural Affairs Bureau.

“This is not just a restoration of a monument. It is the placement of a silent witness to the history of Manila, from the American Occupation till the end of the Second World War. We entrust back to the City Government this piece priceless of art and history for Filipinos to preserve and appreciate,” DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in a media release.

On the opposite side of the original La Madre Filipina is a replica that stands in place of the sculpture which was destroyed during World War 2.

Another pair of sculptures of La Madre Filipina, that are supposed to be installed across on the other side of the bridge, is in the process of being acquired back to complete the full restoration of Jones Bridge. The pair of sculptures are currently displayed at the Court of Appeals in Ermita, Manila. The city needs the agreement of the Court of Appeals and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines to restore the last two La Madre Filipina sculptures back to their original posts at the Jones Bridge.

The Jones Bridge inauguration, led by Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso and Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna, called for the attention, support, and efforts of Manilenos to sustain the preservation of the heritage structure which was made possible through donations.

The restored Jones Bridge boasts of Paris-inspired grand ornate lamp posts, including what appears to be thousands of Solar road studs and road lights that brighten the whole bridge and made witnesses dub the bridge as the “Bridge of Light and Joy”. The Jones Bridge provides a 360-degree view of the Pasig River and downtown Manila.

Constructed to replace Puente de España (Bridge of Spain), Jones Bridge is named after United States legislator William Atkinson Jones, author of the 1916 Jones Law that granted the Philippines legislative autonomy, creating the first elected Philippine legislature prior to the country’s independence.

Manila, with all its historical landmarks, has recently seen increased multi-sector efforts to restore its old glory, among them, the restoration of the Metropolitan Theater and the Walled City of Intramuros.

SEND congratulations in the comments below to the people of the City of Manila for their efforts to restore the capital’s old glory!

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