Over the weekend, the iconic building – which stood as the world’s tallest skyscraper for 40 years following its completion in 1931 – lighted up with the colors of our flag to bring awareness to the thousands of people killed and millions affected by the deadly fury of super-typhoon Yolanda.
In its tweet, building officials said they lit up the colors of the Philippine flag to “raise awareness” about the tragedy brought about the typhoon here to the people of New York, America and the world. Such awareness is seen to bring in millions of dollars more in aid badly needed by our countrymen battered by the typhoon's wrath in the Visayan Region.
We can’t thank Empire State officials enough for doing their part to help our fellow Filipinos across the seas. Thank you very much!
The Empire State Building has been part of my childhood. It always reminded me of how man can push his capacity and technology to the limits. It was the first building for which I first learned to utter and spell the word “s-k-y-s-c-r-a-p-e-r.”
However, in a visit to New York in August, our family hesitated spending about US $30 per-head to go up the view deck of this building famous for the King Kong and Superman movies. It is also a favorite structure being singled out for destruction by aliens, dinosaur, Godzilla, meteors and countless end-of-the-world scenario movies around the world.
The hesitancy is borne out of the fact that we’ve recently went up to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai which at 163 floors (829.8 meter) stands as the world tallest. Clearly, The Burj not only eclipsed the Empire State Building in height but in modernity as well, the pride of the Arab being laden with all the modern technological marvels. For one, going up The Burj by elevator (which gives you a feeling of taking off in a plane) to its view deck is faster than our elevator ride at the Empire State building, which seemed to have taken forever.
The Empire State Building, however, gives a better view of the Manhattan and New Jersey skyline as well as the Statue of Liberty and parts of the Central Park. On the other hand, the Burj experience is quite similar to riding a plane, many of which fly below the building and appear like airplane toys from above. You can also see the endless stretch of dessert of sand from Burj Dubai.
And so for taking time to help victims of one of the country’s deadliest typhoons, the Empire State Building again stands as tallest in the world and one with a big heart to boot. Even the Burj Dubai may soon lost its crown to another skyscraper, but the Empire State will always remain tallest in the minds and hearts of grateful Filipinos.
In this case, height does not matter.
By the way, Kris Peace Library has last week started a donation drive to help the victims of Typhoon Yolanda. We have made our Kris Library in Quezon City (pls check the address here) a drop off point and our Paypal site (pls go to this link) available to donors who want to help in cash or in kind.
We are going to turn over the donations to Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez and Councilor Kring-Kring Gonzalez who were among those who helped us build our first of five Kris Libraries in Zamboanga City in 2007.
Like the Empire State Building, we all stand taller and stronger than this tragedy. Thanks everyone for your help.