The best thing about living in Manila is that you’re about one song away from many historical sites. I went to CCP last night to watch Jerome’s Karera and from where I live in Tondo, the taxi drove past Binondo, Jones Bridge, and the Intramuros area on my way there. I was just looking at photos from Old Philippines’ Facebook the other day and while inside the cab, wished we had preserved the beautiful structures that once stood in these areas.
This was Binondo during the 1900s.
The Binondo Church during the early 1900s
The luxurious Hotel de Oriente, where Jose Rizal once stayed in (Room 22), and La Insular Cigar and Cigarette Factory in the early 1900s
A closer view of the intricate architecture of Hotel de Oriente
Another Hotel de Oriente shot
But the Battle for Manila destroyed many of the city’s great architecture. This is the site of the once grand Hotel de Oriente and La Insular Cigar Factory.
On the Hotel de Oriente site now stands the Tytana Plaza, also known as the Metrobank Building. On the right, where the La Insular Cigar Factory once stood, are the offices of PSBank and First Metro Investment. I used to frequent First Metro since my Tito works there.
Is this a replica of the old fountain in front of Hotel de Oriente? When I passed by Binondo last night, I checked the fountain and I think it is now painted white.
On my way home, the cab driver gave me an instant tour of Intramuros just so we could cross Jones Bridge. So we passed by Ayuntamiento. This was the glorious Ayuntamiento during the early 1900s, when it was still the headquarters of the Civil Government at that time.
This is how Ayuntamiento (right) and Aduana (center) looked like after the Battle for Manila.
And this is Ayuntamiento now. Sad to see it rotting and unrestored.
We also passed by Pasig River going to Binondo, with the view of the El Holgar Filipino and the First National City Bank buildings.
On Facebook, the Old Philippines owner says, “Looking across the Pasig River to Binondo from the south end of the Jones Bridge. Left to right along Muelle de la Industria Street is the El Hogar Building. Built in 1914, the five story building housed the first Filipino financing institution. The next was the First National City Bank building, it was built in 1915.”
These are the El Holgar Filipino and First National City Bank buildings today.
Upon crossing the Jones Bridge, I once again saw the restored Insular Life building, which is said to be the oldest building to have survived in that area.
This is a shot of the old Insular Life (the one with the small dome tower) and Uy-Chaco buildings in 1945 after the Battle of Manila.
The Binondo Church is now surrounded by buildings, tindahan ng hopias (Eng Bee Tin), and other establishments. But in 1945, everything around it seemed to have been pulverized.
Buti na lang the church still stands there. It is now airconditioned.
How I wish we could recreate the great architecture found in old Manila. After all, it is once considered the Queen of the Pacific. With that I’m leaving you with a 1938 video of Manila. Notice the intricate design on the foot of Jones Bridge. Divine!