04 July 2017

Pictures of Old Manila taken during the American Colonial Period

Ayala Bridge.  Image credit:  Luther Parker Collection at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.

To conclude my recent series of photo-essays on life during the American colonial era, allow me to momentarily leave my usual Batangas theme to present nostalgic photos taken during the same era of Manila. Most if not all of the pictures below ought to be familiar to this web site’s typical Batangueño audience.

The pictures were taken from the digital collections of the National Library of the Philippines, the University of Michigan and the University of Washington. To improve presentation, I cropped the pictures where necessary and enhanced each using graphic editing software.

From the Philippine Photographs Archive, Special Collections Library of the University of Michigan

Image credit:  Philippine Photographs Digital Archive, Special Collections Library, University of Michigan.
Above, a picture of Puente de España or the Bridge of Spain, which connected Binondo and Santa Cruz with Calle Nueva, presently Yuchengco Street in Manila. The bridge was destroyed by a flood in 1914 and replaced by the Jones Bridge one block from where Puente de España used to be. The image was taken sometime between 1896 and 1900 and is part of the Manila, Philippines Collection1.

Image credit:  Philippine Photographs Digital Archive, Special Collections Library, University of Michigan.
The picture above was of the San Juan de Dios Hospital along Calle Real in Ermita, Manila, later renamed to M.H. del Pilar Street. The image was taken sometime between 1896 and 1900 and is part of the Manila, Philippines Collection. The hospital was founded as early as 15782.

Image credit:  Philippine Photographs Digital Archive, Special Collections Library, University of Michigan.
Above, the Manila Army and Navy Club as seen from the top of the historic Manila Hotel. The picture is from a sub-collection entitled “Manila, Philippines and Environs.” The University of Michigan annotations state that the picture was taken between 1900 and 1910. The building, however, was completed in 1911 and is presently a National Historical Landmark as declared by the National Historical Institute in 19913. The open field in the foreground must be the part of Rizal Park in front of Quirino Grandstand in the present day.

Image credit:  Philippine Photographs Digital Archive, Special Collections Library, University of Michigan.
The picture above is also from the “Manila, Philippines and Environs” collection of the University of Michigan. It is entitled “The Luneta, Manila, P.I.” (P.I. meaning Philippine Islands). Again, UM placed the taking of the photograph between 1900 and 1910. If you find yourself surprised by the color, the truth is color photography has been in existence since the nineteenth century, albeit nothing like the quality we take so for granted in the present day.

Image credit:  Philippine Photographs Digital Archive, Special Collections Library, University of Michigan.
The picture above is from the Everett Thompson Photography sub-collection of the University of Michigan. It is entitled “The Pasig River” and was taken between 1900 and 1930. The picture must have been taken close to the mouth of the river leading into Manila Bay.

From the Luther Parker Collection of the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collection

Image credit:  Luther Parker Collection, National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
Parker labeled the picture above as “Tanduay Station, Manila Fire Department” but did not provide the date when it was taken. There is a present-day substation of the Manila Fire Department at Legarda corner Nepomuceno Street in Quiapo4; but I have no way of discovering if the building is the same. Note the American flag flying in front of the building.

Image credit:  Luther Parker Collection, National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
Parker labeled the picture above as “Malacanan Palace,” which we all of course know to be really “Malacañang Palace,” the Presidential Residence. Parker did not specify when the picture was taken, but it had to have been prior to 1931 since he lived in the country only until that year.

Image credit:  Luther Parker Collection, National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
The picture above was labeled “Rosario Street” by Parker. In the present day, this is Quintin Paredes Street in Binondo. Parker failed to state when the picture was taken, but it from the scenario depicted by the picture, it must have been not long after he arrived in the Philippines in 1901.

Image credit:  Luther Parker Collection, National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
Above, the Santa Cruz Bridge, presently called McArthur Bridge. The bridge crosses the Pasig River from the Padre Burgos Avenue in Ermita to Carlos Palanca Street in Santa Cruz. The original Santa Cruz Bridge was destroyed during World War II and rebuilt in 19525. Parker again failed to state when the picture was taken.

Image credit:  Luther Parker Collection, National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
Parker labeled the picture above as “Colgante Bridge.” Puente Colgante, as it was known in the Spanish era, was the first steel suspension bridge in Asia and completed in 1852. It was replaced in 1939 by the Quezon Bridge6.

Image credit:  Luther Parker Collection, National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
Above, Calle Real Street, known in the present day as M.H. del Pilar Street in Ermita. Given the absence of motorized vehicles in the picture, this must have been taken not long after Parker arrived in the Philippines.

Image credit:  Luther Parker Collection, National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
Parker labeled the picture above as “Aerial view of a business section of Manila with Maharnilad (City Hall) in the foreground.” Because the new building as seen in the picture was not finished until 19417, it is possible the Parker took the picture during a visit back to the Philippines after he left in 1931 or somebody else took the picture.

University of Washington Library Special Collections

Image credit:  University of Washington Library Special Collections.
The picture above was taken circa 1911, with the caption on the picture itself saying “Old Escolta, Manila.” Calle Escolta or Escolta Street in Binondo is one of the oldest streets in Manila8.

Image credit:  University of Washington Library Special Collections.
The picture above is entitled “Sampans on a canal, Philippines, ca. 1913,” with the handwritten note “A typical “estero,” or tidal canal scene, with the smelly old “Cascos,” or freight boats with their poling walks at the side.”

Notes and references:
1Puente de España,” Wikipedia.
2San Juan de Dios Educational Foundation,” Wikipedia.
3Manila Army and Navy Club”, Wikipedia.
4Manila Fire Department,” online at the Bureau of Fire Protection-NCR web site.
5McArthur Bridge (Manila),” Wikipedia.
6Puente Colgante,” Wikipedia.
7 “Manila City Hall,” Wikipedia.
8Escolta Street,” Manila.

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