Tag Archives: manila

Old Manila

24 Jul

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 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

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

A closer view of the intricate architecture of Hotel de Oriente

Another Hotel de Oriente shot

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.

Site of Hotel de Oriente and La Insular Cigar Now

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.

Hotel de Oriente now

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.

Ayuntamiento 1900s HQ of Civil Govt

This is how Ayuntamiento (right) and Aduana (center) looked like after the Battle for Manila.

Aduana center Ayuntamiento right

And this is Ayuntamiento now.  Sad to see it rotting and unrestored.

Ayuntamiento today

We also passed by Pasig River going to Binondo, with the view of the El Holgar Filipino and the First National City Bank buildings.

El Holgar Filipino Bldg

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.

EL Holgar Filipino Bldg- now

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.

Insular Life & Uy-Chaco Building Plaza Moraga 1945

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.

Binond Church 1945

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!

It’s up now!

14 Jun

The new issue of One Philippines, the fastest-rising free newsmagazine for Pinoys abroad, is now on the web.

Get to read about him…




…and them.

HAYDENvicky belo-photo by danny tan


BAKETbaboy.jpg CANNEStarantino letter to mendoza Papa Fred (seated) with his sisters Myrna (standing) Millet (L) and Marissa (R) HAYDENprincess velasco2

And do follow us on Twitter for more insider updates.

To see the whole magazine and who made it on the cover, CLICK HERE.

(Photo credits: Aji Aggarao for Brillante Mendoza; Bicycle Pictures/MJM Productions, Mr. Adolf Alix and Ms. Arleen Cuevas for Manila and Independencia)

Tell them off

9 Jun

Did you know that you can actually let your honorable congressman who voted in favor of the ConAss know that you can see right through all their BS?

Manila Mayor Fred Lim, the midget, and the ass!

Manila Mayor Fred Lim, the midget, and the ass!

I did.  I sent my congressman, Manila Representative Jaime “Jim” Lopez this letter:

Dear Sir,

I am very disappointed that you voted to have the House convene into a ConAss. I used to be one of your supporters. But obviously, you have more important things to protect other than the interest of your constituents. Hence, I am withdrawing my support from you and expect that more of my fellow Manilenans will do the same.


Rona Co

To know whether your congressman voted for the ConAss, CLICK HERE.

To tell your congressman how gago they’ve become, CLICK HERE!

Do they stand a chance?

22 May

Moving on from the sicko-Hayden scandal, I’m quite excited about this Sunday’s awarding at the Cannes Film Festival.  Despite receiving really bad reviews from American critics, many think that Brillante Ma. Mendoza’s Kinatay might just win the prestigious Palme D’Or. Popular film critic Roger Ebert just named it “the worst movie in the history of Cannes.”

A scene from "Kinatay"

A scene from "Kinatay"

But, according to Kinatay hopefuls, this film could just be Cannes’s “dark horse.”

On the other hand, Raya Martin’s Independencia is getting fairly good reviews.  Screendaily.com wrote:

Raya Martin is only 24, but he is heavily, and admirably, committed to two overlapping projects: the appropriation of indigenous Filipino history after Spanish and American colonisation; and the laying bare of cinematic illusion.


The stranger (Alessandra de Rossi) in Independencia

The stranger (Alessandra de Rossi) in Independencia

This film, however, is not in the running for Palme D’Or.  It’s included instead in the Un Certain Regard category where young directors’ works are being featured.

Meanwhile, Manila is getting mixed reviews.  One film critic (Sorry, I forgot who) said that lead actor/producer Piolo Pascual’s presence failed to stand out in the film, and in one of the two segments, the dark skin make-up became quite distracting.  This critic, however, noticed that Piolo Pascual is a “hunk.”

Piolo Pascual in Manila

Piolo Pascual in Manila

On the other hand, Rosanna Roces, who plays Piolo’s mom in Raya Martin’s segment, was described as “a strong presence” in the movie.  Well, even in real life naman, Rosanna is one character that will surely stand out.

One review, however, notes that Manila will make viewers want to see the original films his movie plays homage to — Lino Brocka’s Jaguar and Ishmael Bernal’s Manila By Night.  I’m ashamed to admit that I’m one of those who haven’t seen these films yet.  I wish copies of these, plus this year’s Cannes participants, will be available soon.

Oo nga pala, I wonder what happened to the short film Sabongero.

Pinoys in Cannes

24 Apr

Just read from Variety.com that three Pinoy films have made it in the super prestigious Cannes Film Festival.  

Brillante Mendoza’s Kinatay will be competing against the films of Quentin Tarantino, Ang Lee, Pedro Almodovar, Jane Campion, and many other well-known directors for the much-coveted Palme D’Or award.  Adolf Alix’s and Raya Martin’s Manila, which by the way stars its producer Piolo Pascual, is in for exhibition.  And again, Raya Martin’s Independencia is included in the Un Certain Regard category (what is that, anyway?). 


I think Mendoza’s Kinatay, a film about the chop-chop cases here in the Philippines, is written by Sir Bing Lao.  They’re the same award-winning tandem who made Serbis, which also made it in Cannes last year.  I attended Sir Bing’s advanced scriptwriting workshop a couple of years back and I remember him sharing with the class that he was working on a script about chop-chop victims.  So I guess heto na ‘yun.  And it’s already in Cannes.  Ang galing di ba?