My life and understanding of my parent’s departure from the Philippines, the Marcos era, and the city of Manila have always existed in retrograde.
Urban Legend emerged from an extended stay in the capital and a search to see what was left behind in Filipino society, what came about from that traumatic period of time, and where I belonged in relation to a post-EDSA Philippines.
Despite being deposed decades ago, Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos remain contentious figures in public memory and Philippine history. The infrastructure of the Marcos dictatorship and their New Society movement still remain active in the physical and cultural landscape of Manila. Urban Legend looks at one particular monument that exists on the outskirts of the city: the Manila Film Center.
Along with its association with the disgraced dictatorship and Manila's first and last international film festival, the Brutalist edifice was rumored to be haunted following a construction accident where the victims were allegedly buried into the foundation. The structure was eventually abandoned and used as a cruising ground for the LGBTQ community. Since the early 2000s, it has been leased to the Amazing Show, a Korean company that features an all Filipino transvestite variety show.
Beyond any talk of apparitions or the uncanny, what I found inside the crumbling structure was the proscenium of Philippine history, its tragic past and unscripted future, playing itself out.
-Jorge B. Vargas Museum
-The Magenta Foundation