More businesses are expected to open in Iloilo City’s Calle Real, popularly known as J.M. Basa Street, after it was officially declared as a heritage zone and historical landmark by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP).
The declaration of Calle Real as the “Pook Pamana [Heritage Zone]” would arouse the interest of many businessmen to put up their businesses in the area, said Charles Salazar of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Subcommittee on Cultural Heritage.
Calle Real which served as the main shopping center of the city for more than a century is also called as the city’s central business
Dr. Serena Diokno, chairman of the NHCP, said Calle Real is the second heritage zone in the Visayas, next to Silay City in the province of Negros Occidental.
According to Salazar, NHCP is now considering the area as priority for their funding in the restoration of historical sites.
Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog of Iloilo City said that the national declaration will further motivate the city government in cooperation with the Iloilo City Heritage Foundation, the Iloilo Cultural
Conservation Council and the Iloilo Business Club to restore the long-lost prestige of Calle Real.
In his article entitled Calle Real Through the Years, Henry F. Funtecha, professor of History at the University of the Philippines in the Visayas (U.P.V) , said it was during the Spanish period and the early part of the American administration when the place was called
Calle Real and was also referred to as the “Escolta of Iloilo”.
Calle Real or J.M. Basa Street became the nerve center of the city’s status as the commercial and cultural capital of the whole Western Visayas.
It is where most of the town’s business establishments and large residential houses were found. Filipino, American, European and Chinese retail stores lined up along its length.
J.M. Basa was named in honor of Jose Ma. Basa, a Filipino businessman-propagandist and compatriot of Jose Rizal.IMT