This clip shows the frantic pace in which the Marcos administration built edifices in preparation for the 28th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Board of Governors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, now the World Bank Group) held in Manila from 4-8 October 1976.

Most of these structures are located within and surrounding the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Complex, a 77-hectare area reclaimed from the Manila Bay. The genesis of other key structures in the CCP Complex is also tied to international events, including the Folk Arts Theater (1974 Miss Universe pageant), Coconut Palace (1981 Papal Visit), and the Manila Film Center (1982 Manila International Film Festival).

The first shot in this clip shows the Metropolitan Museum of Manila along Roxas Boulevard. It was designed by Gabriel Formoso and built within the span of only one month in order to open on October 4 alongside the IMF-WB meetings. Another shot shows workers putting finishing touches on the Philippine International Convention Center, designed by Leandro Locsin. It cost around USD 65 million to build, and was inaugurated on September 5 with the IMF-WB meetings as its first main event.

The next shots focus on luxury hotels being built in order to accommodate the estimated 5,000 delegates and guests. A total of 14 new hotels were officially sponsored by the government, collectively costing around USD 500 million. The first is the 700-room Philippine Plaza (now Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila), then owned by the CCP Foundation chaired by Imelda Marcos. It was inaugurated on September 26 and built at the cost of USD 50 million–the largest of the lot and at the time, the most expensive hotel to be built in the world. Also seen is the 370-room Holiday Inn Manila (now Hotel JEN), designed by Carlos Arguelles and opened that same year.

The New York Times reports:

“At the Plaza, nearly 9,000 workers have been pressed into 24‐hour threeshift operations. And because it is the First Lady’s pet project, workers, particularly skilled carpenters, have been pirated from other construction sites, details rushed and precautions overlooked until three months ago, as workers hustled ironworks of upper floors onto concrete barely dry beneath it, the entire ceiling in the grand ballroom caved in and 12 workers were killed.

“Several construction companies, most of whose leaders have some ties with the Marcos family and the manifold business interests of their friends and relatives, are harvesting a bonanza from the frantic construction pace. More than 30,000 workers have been kept busy on these projects for more than a year and a half.”

“Still other friends and relatives of the Marcos family are in on the ownership of a number of these hotels. None of this even raises any eyebrows here because this is how business is done in the Philippines. But what does concern some of the more thoughtful economists and businessmen is the huge volume of government capital committed to these projects.”

“Most of the hotels have received some or all of their financing from such Government lending institutions as the Development Bank of the Philippines, the Government Service Insurance System and the Social Security System which have lent funds or guaranteed loans in the hotel projects.”

“Secretary of Finance Cesar E. Virata admitted yesterday that the Development Bank had committed more than one billion pesos of its resources of eight billion pesos ($135 million of $1.1 billion) to the hotel projects alone, but other economists believe that its loan guarantees push this figure substantially higher.”

A year later, the Times reported that the hotels did not do well. “Their occupancy rate is little better than 40 percent. As a consequence, none of them has been able even to meet the interest payments on their loans… To avoid having the Government foreclose on them, President Ferdinand E. Marcos recently announced that he would reschedule the loans.”