Manila earn several accolades such as “Pearl of the Orient”, “Paris of the East”, “Milan of the East”, ” Little Vatican”, “Venice of the East ” among others. These were the term used by travelers, expats and colonial masters during the last decade of the Spanish and until American colonial regime.
old Spanish watch tower, Intramuros postcard
Postcards in the country were distributed during the mid-19th during the Spanish colonial regime and were known as tarjeta postal by old time collectors. Early postcards, bear features of Spanish monarchs and it was only in the late 1890’s when photo type postcards were printed and distributed by stores within Escolta, Binondo, Intramuros and large cities.
old Spanish wall printed by Photo Finishing Corporation, Manila
The Spanish government produced series in various printed denominations specifically for the country. Unfortunately thru time, revolutions, tropical weather, poor quality of the paper, printing quality available during that time. A lot of the postcards printed during this era barely survived. Early collectors would just put them on book shelves or any place. Most of the Spanish era postcards are hard to come by, even in specialized local bourse or club’s auction.
I have seen a handful of these trajeta postal mostly from specialized postcard collectors and bought 2 pieces Spanish -Cuban tarjeta postal printed around 1883 which bore the portrait of King Alphonso XII /Alfonso XII (pre-stamp). Some of the tarjeta postal printed in other Spanish colonies would also circulate in the country, since there are some Filipinos who lived and worked in those countries. The country is under the Spanish crown, postcards printed in those countries may also been used in the country and coveted by some collectors.
Insular Ice Plant postcard
Insular ice plant is one of the major building infrastructure built by the Americans in Manila.
Manila Central Post Office in 1930
Manila Central Post Office used to be a horse stable and post office which serves the southern part of Manila during the last decade of the Spanish regime. The building depicted at the postcard was built from 1926 to 1930 under the supervision of Pedro Siochi and Company. The triumvirate of Mr.Ralph Harrington Doane, Mr.Tomas Mapua and Mr. Juan Arellano were the architects behind this magnificent building.
Malacañan /Malacañang Palace is another favorite subject in postcard and even had a commemorative stamps issued during the commonwealth time. Several bookstores like Goodwill bookstore, National bookstore featured the palace during post war period.
Sources and References:
Collins English Dictionary : Postal Card
Littrell, Robert, Ed; Postal Cards of Spanish Colonial Cuba, Philippines, Puerto Rico, UPSS, 2010.
Personal interview from postcard collectors
Philippine Postcards page 130 to 137 Consuming Passions