Friday, August 19, 2011

Manila Then and Now

Manila, tagged as the "Pearl of the Orient", was the finest in the east before the second world war. Mixed cultures of Filipino, Chinese, Spanish, and American gave rise to this great city. However, this city that took centuries to rise would only take a few days to fall. After the Liberation of Manila in 1945, the city was never again as great as before - a sad reality.  

Through the preservation and reconstruction efforts of the government and some concerned individuals in the private sector, remnants of the great past can somehow still be seen at present times. The following (inspired by the are photos of pre-war and present day Manila. The old (pre-war) photos, taken from this site, are juxtaposed to its present day photo which I took yesterday.

Puerta Real, Intramuros, Manila
Then: Puerta Real, a gate exclusively used by the Spanish Governor-General during state occasions.
Now: A nonoperational gate in Intramuros, part of the Puerta Real Gardens

Anda Circle, South Harbor, Manila
Then: Anda Circle, dedicated to Governor-General Simon de Anda y Salazar, gateway to Manila's South harbor
Now: Anda Circle, still the gateway to Manila's South Harbor

Old Legislative Building, Ermita, Manila

Then: Old Legislative Building, home of the House of Representatives where various sessions were held.Old Jeepney also captured
Now: National Arts Gallery of the National Museum of the Philippines, houses Luna's "Spoliarium". A new Jeepney.

San Sebastian Church, Quiapo, Manila 

Then: San Sebastian Church, the only steel church in Asia.
Now: Still the only steel church in Asia, though it is slowly eaten by rust

Hidalgo Street, Quiapo, Manila
Then: Calle San Sebastian, old Spanish houses line the street from Quiapo Church to San Sebastian 
Now: R. Hidalgo Street, no more old Spanish houses

Binondo Church, Binondo, Manila
Then: Binondo Church seen from Blanco Bridge
Now: Still the old Binondo Church seen from Blanco Bridge but with more power lines

Bustillos Street, Sampaloc, Manila
Then: Calle Bustillos, a major road during the pre-war Manila, and the Church of St. Anthony
Now: J. Figueras Street, no more old houses, and the church had changed.

Manila Cathedral, Intramuros, Manila
Then: Front door of the Manila Cathedral
Now: Front door of the reconstructed Manila Cathedral, though the statues are no longer the same

Manila Cathedral, Intramuros, Manila
Then: Manila Cathedral, formerly the Kilometer Zero reference point in Manila (now in Flag Pole, Rizal Park)
Now: Reconstructed Manila Cathedral, with a tall belfry.

Plaza de Roma, Intramuros, Manila
Then: Plaza de Roma and the bronze statue of King Carlos IV of Spain
Now: Still the same plaza and statue

San Agustin Church, Intramuros, Manila
Then: Wood carved front door of San Agustin Church
Now: still the same wood carved front door of the oldest stone church in the Philippines

ECJ Building, Intramuros, Manila
Then: Casa Nueva or Provincial House of the Augustinian Order
Now: ECJ Building, a corporate building that reconstructed the old Casa Nueva's exterior.

Plaza Goiti, Sta. Cruz, Manila
Then: Plaza Goiti, with views of the back of Sta. Cruz Church and Meralco Tram waiting station.
Now: Plaza Lacson, a total different reconstructed plaza, church and surrounding buildings.

Escolta Street, Binondo, Manila
Then: Calle Escolta used to be the "Wall Street of Manila" before the outbreak of the second world war
Now: Escolta Street is still a prominent street in Binondo where hotels, restaurants and many other businesses are established.

Jones Bridge, Binondo, Manila
Then: Puente de España, the beautiful bridge comparable to those in Paris.
Now: Jones Bridge, a reconstructed bridge built on the ruins of the original bridge (bombed in 1945). No longerthe beautiful bridge.

Luneta Park, Ermita, Manila
Then: The Rizal Monument and a view of the Manila Hotel
Now: Still the same monument and hotel (but with a new building).

Plaza Moraga, Binondo, Manila
Then: Plaza Moraga with views of the Uy Chaco Building and old tram rails
Now: Plaza Moraga with views of the Philtrust Building (formerly Chaco Building) and Filipino-Chinese Arch of Friendship.

Plaza Moraga, Binondo, Manila
Then: Plaza Moraga viewed from Puente de España, Chaco building at the background
Now: Plaza Moraga viewed from Jone Bridge, Philtrust Building at the background

Manila Central Post Office, Ermita, Manila
Then: Manila Central Post Office viewed across the Pasig River
Now: still the same reconstructed building

El Hogar Building, Binondo, Manila
Then: El Hogar and Ayala Life Buildings, elegant buildings that survived the terror of World War 2.
Now: Still the same old buildings but had fallen into disrepair. 

Some were perfectly preserved, some had changed totally, and some arose from the same ground but with "so-so" reconstruction of the previous marvelous building. We're very unfortunate to lose most of Manila's architectural marvel but I guess we're lucky enough to still have some remnants from our majestic past. Visit this site, read the forum, learn from the history buffs, look at the old pictures, tour on your foot the new Manila, and rediscover the old Manila from this modern city.  


Manila Landmarks Trilogy

Manila Then and Now



  1. ang tyaga mong maghanap! nice blog entry!

  2. nice post. this reminds me how Manila has evolved, but there's still a lot to develop

  3. galing ivan! I love it!!!! ang tyaga mo na gayahin yung mga kuha ng old photos! i soooooooooooo lavet!

  4. Impressive! Very well documented post. This is a great visual way to imagine Manila life back then. Thanks for sharing this!

  5. @sir ding, hehe, familiar naman ako sa mga lugar lugar dito sa manila kaya hndi ako nahirapan maghanap :)
    @LTC, hehe salamat po.. I don't want development, I want restoration.
    @Ian, salamat :)
    @tita Lili, thanks tita lili
    @SoleSisters, thank you po. visit the forum to see more photos of the old Manila

  6. wowowowow!!! galing Ivan. sipag!
    ang recreation ng photos to the current time! galing ah!

    i especially love the one with the jeep! achaka yung mga tao sa fountain!

  7. agree ako jan Ed, favorite ko din yung shot sa Legislative Building dahil dun sa evolution ng jeep pati yung trees na lumago sa harap nung building..

  8. I noticed the difference of the "clothes" they're wearing during the old times, it's really amazing :)

  9. Very very nice. I enjoyed looking and comparing the then and now Manila. I hope you wont get tired posting some more next time. Thanks for sharing Ivan.

  10. Very impressive post Ivan! Manila indeed has a rich history and it's nice to see how the place looked like then. I'm glad I was able to visit some of the places you featured here during my brief stay in Manila. Keep up the good work bro!

  11. Another great post from you! :) Ang galing ng Legislative building and fountain shots! I also like the doorway shot in San Agustin. Excellent work! :)

  12. another impressive collection and feature of then and now. as i always say sipag mo.

    not sure if ive never seen anda circle or maybe i just overlook it everytime i pass by it.

  13. sir dong.. if you're going to cross the Del Pan bridge coming from Roxas Blvd, you'll definitely pass by the Anda Circle :) BTW thank you po :)

  14. thank you for taking us back in time. makes me appreciate manila more...

  15. Wow, this is amazing Ivan! Good job! :)

  16. great post! old manila is so beautiful.
    this post got me excited to go on my first food trip to binondo next month :)

  17. Dude labor of love! Grabe how did you get all these photos? I love looking at the old ones- this is prolly how it looked like when my lolo and lola lived!

  18. this is a must read post..i suddenly felt a sadness in my really into old places and buildings and taking a look what we've lost makes me wonder what if? the government did something to preserve those places..:(

  19. That's what I call dedication. Mabuhay ka!

  20. hanep sa comparison. Makes the 'electric wires' of the modern day looks like clutter. The old Manila looks charmer but with a new urban planning - hopefully Manila gets transported back to its colorful past.

  21. i have browsed through this post for the nth time and i am still enjoying. ang galing!!!

  22. More entries please...more more more Sir Ivan! Ikaw na! Astig!

  23. grabe ivan. pwede ka ng researcher ng mga ETV programs (sineskwela, bayani etc). hihii! Ang galing at ang tyaga mong hanapin lahat yan. Natawa ako at talagang kapansin pansin ang nagkalat na kawad ng kuyrente ng Meralco. hiihih!

    keep it up. Itong blog mo talaga ang makapabong sibika at kultura book

  24. grabe ivan. pwede ka ng researcher ng mga ETV programs (sineskwela, bayani etc). hihii! Ang galing at ang tyaga mong hanapin lahat yan. Natawa ako at talagang kapansin pansin ang nagkalat na kawad ng kuyrente ng Meralco. hiihih!

    keep it up. Itong blog mo talaga ang makapabong sibika at kultura book

  25. Well done ! Your before and after photos are spot on!

  26. Hi Ivan, i'm glad to see your post esp. for the rare photos of Bustillos Street. Yes, you're correct about the J.Figueras St. and added to the info. the street was formerly & more popularly known as Calle Bustillos (Paseo de Bustillo). Bustillos was dervived from the name of my great great grandfather Fernando Manuel de bustillo Bustamante Y Rueda the 31st gov. gen of the Ph way back in 1717. His rule was never forgotten since it became one of the most concrete example of the never ending clash of the Church and State. Thanks for posting those nostalgic photos... can you please allow me to grab your photo shot of Bustillos St.?Just a simple remembrance of my family past history. Thank you very much.

  27. good job sir very inspiring work.

  28. good job sir, very inspiring work. it's nice to know that people are doing this not for the money but for passion.



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