Intramuros Learning Sessions episode no. 12


This session aims to educate the public about the history of Luneta’s development through its origins as Extramuros, to Bagumbayan, the execution of our nation’s heroes, the final resting place of Jose Rizal, Daniel Burnham’s New Government Center as part of the Burnham Plan, its current state as our National Park and future projects that will further enhance tourism and preserve this national treasure as of one our nation’s most iconic public parks.

  • Guest speaker: Jezreel Apelar and Cecile Romero
  • Moderator: Rancho Arcilla

About the Speakers

Cecile Romero

Cecille Romero is currently the Executive Director of the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC). She is versatile, reliable and efficient with 10+ years combined academic, private and urban planning experience in high paced environments. Director Romero’s diversified skills include project management, office organization, client relations, real estate development, administrative support, and mentoring.

Jezreel Apelar

Jezreel Apelar is an urban planner, serving as the Deputy Executive Director of the National Parks Development Committee. He was previously the National Council Coordinator for Urban Land Institute Philippines, managing sustainability and resiliency projects including the BGC Greenway Park, Liveable Cities Competition and Building Healthy Places Initiative. He also served as a consultant at the Asian Development Bank for the development of the Ortigas Greenways. He holds a Masters in City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania. He also graduated magna cum laude from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science in Public Policy, Management and Planning and received a certificate in Advanced Spanish Language from the Universidad de Deusto, Bilbao, Spain. 

About the moderator: Rancho Arcilla

John Paul Escandor Arcilla, known professionally as Rancho Arcilla, is the author of the Intramuros Register of Styles (2021). He served as Chairperson of the Intramuros Technical Committee on Architectural Standards (TCAS) from June 2022 to May 2024. As TCAS Chairperson, Arcilla oversaw the review of all development, including new constructions, in the Walled City.

Arcilla was also the first Archivist of the Intramuros Administration. With a mandate from Atty. Guiller Asido, Administrator of Intramuros from 2017 to 2022, Arcilla established the Administration’s Archives and Central Records Section, serving as its first Section Head from July 2019 to June 2024.

He has an MA in Philippine Studies from UP Diliman and a BA in Asian Studies from the University of Santo Tomas. Arcilla specializes on colonial architecture.

In 2021, Arcilla was instrumental in the development of the Revised 2021 Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Presidential Decree No. 1616, the main framework and legal instrument in the management of Intramuros District. The architectural provisions of the IRR and the Intramuros Register of Styles (2021) is based on his MA thesis Walls within Walls: The Architecture of Intramuros (2021).

About the Intramuros Learning Sessions

The Intramuros Learning Sessions (ILS) is the educational lecture series of the Intramuros Administration (IA). The IA is an attached national government agency under the Department of Tourism. 

Topics are interdisciplinary and cover themes related to Intramuros and Manila studies, Philippine studies, as well as cultural heritage studies. Pursuant to IA’s charter, the ILS aims to contribute to the strengthening of the Filipino’s national identity and sense of belonging and pride.

See Previous ILS Episode
Making History and Heritage Matter: How the Past Defines the Future
See Next ILS Episode
19th Century Spanish Manila in Times of Epidemics

Check out our previous ILS episodes here

For more information contact the Center for Intramuros Studies via [email protected]
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