Wonderful Photographs of Manila Then & Now [Second Part]

This will be the second installment of my article about Wonderful Photographs of Then and Now where I showcased great photos of the past and try to find out its present day version. I’m hoping that through this we’ll be able to appreciate how magnificent our country is and get to see our ancestors way of living with a little bit of history on the side. I actually thought that this article will be an easy one to create but I was wrong because I was presented with tons of information which made it hard to sort out the ones that I believe are relevant and interesting; and at the same time there are materials that are really scarce and I spent days, believe me or not, in getting the needed information for it.

Manila Harbor c1900s

Again let’s take a journey back in time as we look at the wonderful photographs of Manila then and now.

[Update] Wonderful Photographs of Manila Then and Now (Third Part)

Luneta Park (Rizal Park)

Rizal Park, also known as Luneta Park or colloquially Luneta, is a historical urban park located in the heart of the city of Manila, Philippines, adjacent to the old walled city of Manila, now Intramuros.

Located along Manila Bay, Luneta has been the site of some of the most significant moments in Philippine history. The execution of Dr. José Rizal on December 30, 1896, sparked the fire of the Philippine Revolution against the Spanish colonizers, elevating the martyr as the national hero of the country. The park was officially renamed Rizal Park in his honor and his monument serves as the symbolic focal point of the park.

Rizal Park's history began in 1820 when the Paseo de Luneta was completed just south of the walls of Manila on a marshy patch of land next to the beach during the Spanish rule. Prior to the park, the marshy land was the location of a small town called Nuevo Barrio (New Town or Bagumbayan in Tagalog language) that dates back to 1601; it was cleared during the short British rule in 1762 to prevent sneak attacks from the patriotic natives. The area later became known as Bagumbayan Field where the Cuartel la Luneta (Luneta Barracks), a Spanish Military Hospital (which was destroyed by one of the earthquakes of Manila), and a moat-surrounded outwork of the walled city of Manila, known as the Luneta (lunette) because of its crescent shape.


Luneta Park c1900s

Present Day

Rizal Park Present Day

Rizal Monument

The Rizal Monument is a memorial monument in Rizal Park in Manila, Philippines built to commemorate the Filipino nationalist, José Rizal. The mausoleum consists of a standing bronze sculpture of the martyr, with an obelisk as his backdrop, set on a pedestal upon which his remains are interred. A plaque on the pedestal front reads: "To the memory of José Rizal, patriot and martyr, executed at Bagumbayan Field December 30th, 1896, this monument is dedicated by the people of the Philippine Islands".

The perimeter of the monument is in a continuous ritual guarding by the soldiers known as the Kabalyeros de Rizal (Knights of Rizal). About a 100 m (330 ft) west of the monument is the exact location where Rizal was executed represented by life-size dioramas of his final moments.

In Rizal's birth centenary year of 1961, a stainless steel pylon was superimposed over the granite obelisk, increasing the structure's height from 12.7 meters to 30.5 meters. The remodeling undertaken by the Jose Rizal National Centennial Commission (JRNCC) was widely criticized. Many found the gleaming modern steel shaft incompatible with the somber granite base. Moreover, the latter seemed to dwarf the much smaller Rizal figure. Others simply dislike the idea of tampering with a popular and traditional image.

The designer of the remodeling was Juan Nakpil, who later became the country's first National Artist for Architecture. He quoted former Secretary of Education and JRNCC chair Manuel Lim as envisioning the pylon as a convenient guide for incoming boats, and for the people lost in their way around the city.

The P145,000 shaft was removed two years later under the request of Secretary of Education Alejandro Roces and Director of Public Libraries Carlos Quirino. It was dismantled during Holy Week, reportedly to prevent any court injunction from restraining them as government offices were closed during holidays. The pylon is now located at the median of the Baclaran section of Roxas Boulevard.

1920, Rizal Day 1961, with stainless steel pylon
Rizal Monument 1920 Rizal Monument with Metal Pylon
Close up with metal pylon Present Day
Rizal Monument with Metal Pylon closeup Rizal Monument Present Day

Escolta – Sta. Cruz Intersection

Late 1920s Escolta as seen from the tower of Sta. Cruz Church. Notice that a quarter of the Regina Building (left side) at that time was of a different structure.

In addition to the changes to the Regina Building on the left (White building on the left before the short bridge), the Perez-Samanilla Building (Pink building on the right side) has also seen considerable change.


Escolta-Santa Cruz Intersection

Present Day

Escolta-Santa Cruz Intersection Today

Tondo Church

It is believed that the construction of the first stone monastery started in 1611 under the term of Fr. Alonzo Guerrero then parish priest. In 1620, the house of Tondo was relieved from its ten percent contribution to Manila due “to the needed repair works of the convent and the church.” The same resolution was approved the following year because the prior had to provide assistance to the father provincial who was then residing in Tondo.

The convent was mortgaged by Fr. Antonio de Ocampo in 1625 for 800 pesos for the improvement of the house facilities, like the dining room and the staircase. The construction of the church and the convent were believed to have been completed in three years.


Tondo Church c1900s

Present Day

Tondo Church Today

Plaza Moraga

Plaza Moraga was the site of the very first ice cream parlor in the Philippines, Clark's Cafe, which created a commotion when it opened in 1899. But of course, what made this area truly popular is Escolta, which means escort in Spanish. During the British occupation from 1762 to 1764, this street was favored by the British Commodore as a convoy route.


Plaza Moraga 1899

Present Day

Plaza Moraga Today

San Agustin Church – The Oldest Church In Manila

San Agustin Church is a Roman Catholic Church under the auspices of The Order of St. Augustine, located inside the historic walled city of Intramuros in Manila. Completed by 1607, it is the oldest church still standing in the Philippines.No other surviving building in the Philippines has been claimed to pre-date San Agustin Church.

In 1993, San Agustin Church was one of four Philippine churches constructed during the Spanish colonial period to be designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, under the classification “Baroque Churches of the Philippines“. It had been named a National Historical Landmark by the Philippine government in 1976.

In 1863, an earthquake shook Manila that damaged slightly the church. In 1880, another earthquake happened and this time, the slight cracks caused by the former was now evident. Concerned with public safety, the left tower was demolished and hasn’t been rebuilt.


San Agustin Church, Manila after the 1863 earthquake


San Agustin Church, Manila c.1900s

Present Day

San Agustin Church, Manila Today

Escolta Bridge


Escolta Bridge c1900s

Present Day

Escolta Bridge Today

San Sebastian Church (Basilica Minore de San Sebastián)

The Basilica Minore de San Sebastián, better known as San Sebastián Church, is a Roman Catholic minor basilica in Manila, the Philippines. It is the seat of the Parish of San Sebastian and the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.

Completed in 1891, San Sebastián Church is noted for its architectural features. An example of the revival of Gothic architecture in the Philippines, it is the only all-steel church or basilica in Asia. It has also been implausibly reputed to be the first prefabricated building in the world, and more plausibly claimed as the only prefabricated steel church in the world. In 2006, San Sebastian Church was included in the Tentative List for possible designation as a World Heritage Site. It was designated as a National Historical Landmark by the Philippine government in 1973.

San Sebastián Church is under the care of The Order of the Augustinian Recollects, who also operate a college adjacent to the basilica. It is located at Plaza del Cármen, at the eastern end of Claro M. Recto Street, in Quiapo, Manila.


San Sebastian Church, Manila c1900s

Present Day

San Sebastian Church, Manila Today

Calle Tetuan Estero

The first image below of the quayside by Calle Tetuan was taken from the short bridge that connects Dasmarinas Street to Plaza Sta. Cruz sometime near the turn of the century.

About a 100 or so years later, and Calle Tetuan's name still lives on. The same cannot be said of the estero that is not much better than a sewage pit. The boat in the second photo is the property of the Philippine Maritime Institute located along the estero's opposite bank, whose marketing banners can be seen at the top of the present photo, adding more to the general clutter.


Calle Tetuan Estero c1900s

Present Day

Calle Tetuan Estero Today

Malate Church (Church of Our Lady of Remedios)

Malate Church, also known as the Church of Our Lady of Remedios is an Augustinian founded church in M.H. del Pilar Street, Malate, Manila. Its titular patroness is the Nuestra Señora De Los Remedios whose statue came from Spain in 1624 by Rev. Juan Guevarra, O.S.A.

Formerly known as Maalat (derived from the salty waters near it), the first Malate Church was built by the Augustinians in 1588. However, it was later destroyed in 1667 by the orders of Governor-General Sabiniano Manrique de Lara over fears of an attack by the Chinese pirate Li Ma Hong. The structure was rebuilt in 1677-79 by Fr. Dionisio Suarez, O.S.A.

The church underwent various renovations from catastrophes that swept the area number of times. The first structure built in 1591 was heavily damaged by the 1645 earthquake. The second structure, which was made of brick stone, was put up in 1680 and was used by the British forces as a form of refuge and base when they ruled Manila for 18 months. In 1868, the brick church was destroyed by another earthquake and a subsequent typhoon. The church that remains standing today was constructed in 1864 under the supervision of Rev. Francisco Cuadrado. It was razed by a fire during World War II but was restored by the Columbians in the 1950s.


Malate Church 1918

Present Day

Malate Church Today

Looks like I may have to post a possible third installment in this Wonderful Photographs of Manila Then and Now as there are more amazing pictures I have not included yet. If you haven’t visited the first part of this series, you can check it out here.

[Update] Wonderful Photographs of Manila Then and Now (Third Part)

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Post a Comment

  1. Another set of memorabilia.. *hats off*
    Sipad nyo nman mghanap sir Marvs..

  2. Thanks sir Herbert! Yes it's really time consuming but I believe it's worth it.


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