The city government unveiled this week a newly renovated Dr. Higinio Mendoza Park featuring a 3-storey City Gallery Tower fitted with a fountain and pond intended to please visitors.
The new structure, which took four years to complete, replaced the children’s playground that used to stand in front of the People’s Amphitheater.
Honesto Teves, the chief architect of the project, said the building, which was uncovered on Saturday, serves as a focal point to emphasize the statue of the Palawan hero, to whom it was named after.
“Actually, ang nag-initiate ay si Mayor (Lucilo Bayron) with consultations sa mga architects. Ang nakitang problem noon ay walang focal point ang park. Walang something to look at na talagang nagre-reflect kay Dr. Mendoza,” he said.
The city tower gallery, he explained, will house the photo gallery of past local leaders of Puerto Princesa and its history, a multi-purpose hall for indoor activities, such as a chess room, and another where local artists can display their artwork.
“The tourism office is planning to put up iyong gallery, presenting all the leaders in Puerto Princesa sa mga nagvi-visit sa park. Some information about the city’s history will be included. Magkakaroon din ng room for chess. Isa rin iyon sa mga kino-consider,” he said.
He said it underwent four construction phases. The first phase involved the construction of a P10 million fountain, including the water pond, the monument of local hero Dr. Higinio Mendoza, and electrical landscape.
The second phase involved waterproofing, paving, plumbing, and sanitation works worth P15 million. The third phase included fitting the doors, windows and tile settings. The fourth phase involved replacing the benches, office fixtures, water tank, closed-circuit cameras, fountain fillers, and installation of an electrical transformer.
Teves said the completion of the project was delayed as they had to wait for the commercial establishments to vacate their offices and the City Police Office (CPO) station located in the park.
“Mahaba kasi there were commercial occupants, it took them so long to move out, pinaalis sila. Di kasi agad-agad dapat silang paalisin. Actually, tumagal kasi may police station din dyan. Hinanapan pa sila ng puwesto,” he said.
The slides on the playground, on the other hand, had already been removed as they were no longer in good condition.
“Iyong dinatnan na slide doon ay bulok na. Wala na ito doon. May mga ilan na butas at kalawangin. Parang nag-iisip na ibigay sa mga barangay na nangangailangan. Di ko lang sure kung saan or ibibigay pa ba considering their condition,” Teves added.