Unveiled in 1913, the Rizal Monument in Luneta has stood watch over Manila’s transformation for over a century. It has also accumulated over a hundred years of soot and wear. The white granite obelisk is no longer luminous. The bronze statue of our national hero is streaked with years of dirt and patina.
Cleaning specialist Kärcher, through its cultural campaign, has selected the Rizal Monument as its next beneficiary. The German company, known for high-pressure cleaners and vacuums, has been active in the pro bono preservation of historical monuments and buildings for over 30 years. Notable projects include the London Eye, Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janiero, and Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, U.S.A.
Each monument involved a different set of methods and tools. In 2005, cleaners were belayed on the 18-meter-tall stone faces of American presidents to pressure wash off lichen, moss, and algae. For almost one month, a team was suspended and moved in acrobat-like form to give Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln ‘face lifts.’
In March 1991, pretests on Christ the Redeemer showed that water could not be used on its porous surface. Hence, Kärcher utilized an ultra-fine sandblasting procedure they developed just for Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, their project preceding the Brazilian monument. Kärcher remains to be the official cleaner of Christ the Redeemer up to this day.
The London Eye by the river Thames was cleaned in 2013, the first time ever since it was opened in 2000. Dirt, which consisted mainly of lubricants and pollution, was scoured off by hand then sprayed with hot-water high-pressure cleaners. In order to clean 70-meter-high center of the Ferris wheel, the team took an equally long high-pressure hose with them while the machine remained on the ground.
“Standing as a beacon of Filipino culture and values, the Rizal Monument deserves nothing but the utmost care for its appearance, and we are honored to be given this opportunity. This assignment also reaffirms Kärcher’s commitment to our clients in the Philippines, and our mission to preserve historical landmarks around the globe,” said Hartmut Jenner, CEO and Chairman of Kärcher.
The Kärcher Cleans the World initiative has also helped preserve Bernini’s colonnades at the Vatican, the Matsudagawa dam in Japan, and the Merlion in Singapore. The clean-up project will be happening in Manila from 14 to 15 December 2017.
Photos courtesy of Karcher