Vintage 1960’s Manila Postcards

Manila is the gateway into the country. A great place to capture her famous city-views, buildings, ruins, historical places, aerial views thru the lenses of a professional photographer and mass producing them for tourist market thru postcards.

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Department of Finance, Legislative Building, Manila Cityhall, GSIS building, Manila Metropolitan Theater, Quezon bridge and Luneta park are some of the important buildings captured in this aerial shot – JMC press ( Goodwill Bookstore circa 1967)

The parents of Ms. Maria Teresa Cancio-Suplico, Mr. Manuel and Juana Cancio who founded 3 bookstores at the foot of the Escolta Bridge, Manila. These 3 were named Educational, Goodwill and National.

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Chinese garden arch- Luneta park – This postcard was printed by Kruger company and distributed by National Bookstore

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Aerial shot of Manila pier, buildings, aduana, intramuros are clearly seen in this postcard. This postcard was printed by Kruger company and distributed by National Bookstore.

Vintage 1960’s Manila Postcards

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World Health Organization building located along United Nations Avenue formerly called Isaac Peral is the headquarter of WHO Asia-Pacific

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colorful jeepneys which ply the route of Blumentritt- Libertad, Pasay and vice versa within Luneta Park, Manila

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Lagoon at the Rizal Park with Daily Star, Volkswagen and Manila Hilton along T.M. Kalaw street was printed by Kruger and distributed by National Bookstore.

There is also a similar postcard print but with Japanese characters at the back portion, probably intended for the Japanese tourist market.

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Fort Santiago and Dr. Jose Rizal cell ruins printed by Kruger and distributed by National Bookstore

Goodwill Bookstore also printed several thematic postcards which were distributed in many smaller bookstores in the provinces.

They also have several lenticular or 3-D postcards which were quite popular in the tourist market. These were categorized into Philippine dances, flowers, religious and well-known landmarks.

According to some serious postcard collectors, They have estimated that JMC and Goodwill Bookstore might have issued between 150 to 200 thematic postcards from the 1960’s until mid- 1980’s.

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Agriculture and Finance Building (Agrifina) neo-classical architecture, water fountain, Manila Cathedral and MD bus transit had a route from Quiapo to Bangkal in Makati. – JMC 1967 ( Goodwill Bookstore) 

According to a September 12, 2017 Facebook post of Ms. Maria Teresa Cancio-Suplico

Goodwill through its printing arm JMC Press, produced beautiful postcards that were photographed by 2 Japanese experts in photography who stayed for at least a month in the Philippines to go around the country on a mission to photograph our best Philippine tourist spots like Mayon Volcano, Pasonanca Park in Zamboanga, & many others.

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Dr. Jose Rizal monument and Luneta Park- printed by JMC 1967 ( Goodwill Bookstore)

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Arch of the Centuries- University of Santo Tomas -printed by JMC 1967 ( Goodwill Bookstore)

Some of these postcards were pasted onto greeting cards that were die-cut to fit the postcard & the resulting frame around the postcard was embossed in gold. These greeting cards were works of art in their own way.

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Aerial view of Luneta and other government buildings -printed by JMC 1967 ( Goodwill Bookstore)

This postcard showed the other parts of Manila which included portion of Intramuros, post office,newly planted trees and main boulevards.

Manila is much cleaner with less visible pollution 50 or 60 years ago compared today. Some of the heritage buildings are no longer there, But only postcards, photos and collective memories are highly cherished.

Happy 449th anniversary founding of Manila !

Note: postcards were collected by the author. Postcard copyright from JMC Press/ Goodwill and Kruger/ National Bookstore

Bibliography, Sources and References:

Personal interviews with postcard collectors from the Philippines ( Mr. Rogelio de Jesus,  Mrs. Melissa Perez, Mr. Iggy Tuazon, Mr. Dionne Taeza, Mr. Federico Ligon)

Goodwill Bookstore proprietor : Ms. Maria Teresa Cancio-Suplico

Collins English Dictionary : Postal Card

Personal interview from postcard collectors

Philippine Postcards page 130 to 137 Consuming Passions

Philippine Postcards.com: https://www.philippinepostcards.com/

Puente Colgante. ( 2005). In Virgilio Almario ( Ed.), Sagisag Kultura ( Vol 1). Manila: National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

Our Lady of Lourdes Postcards

Our Lady of Lourdes is a popular apparition and pilgrim site in France. This is one of the most visited Marian sites in the world with millions of people visiting the place every year.

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In the Philippines, there are several places and pilgrim sites which are dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes.

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At least 6 million devotees visits the basilica and the site every year.  A lot of Catholic Filipinos would put Lourdes, France in their bucket list after Vatican and Holy Land for pilgrimage.

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Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan was a favorite pilgrim site among local devotees who cannot afford the airfare going to France.

Our Lady of Lourdes Centenary

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This is one of the oldest postcard in our personal collection which commemorates the 100th anniversary of the apparition of blessed mother. The postcard was send from Lourdes, France to Quezon City sometime in May 25, 1958 or more than 62 years ago.

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Another popular landmark of the Our Lady of Lourdes is in N. S. Amoranto street formerly called as Retiro street in Quezon City.

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Apart from religious statues and rosaries, postcard was another favorite souvenir item when one visits the pilgrimage site.

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The postcards were send from 1958 to early 1970’s and one of the cherish collection of the author.

Shopping Postcards in the Philippines

Postcards used to be commonly sold in almost all bookstores, public market, school supplies outlet, museums, post offices in many parts of the country.

National Bookstore still boast of having some postcards for sale, but not all their branches would have postcards. Compared 10 to 20 years ago, shopping postcards is getting hard in the country.

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commercial postcard

Shopping for Postcards

For collector looking for personalized postcards, There are some artisanal postcards which are self published and can be bought in specialized event like Manila International Book Fair, Toy Convention, Best of Anime, Noel Bazaar, Escolta Market, Travel Expo. While some school fairs like those in University of Santo Tomas ( Sinag Bazaar) and University of the Philippines have some student sellers.

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Heritage Conservation Society postcard/ calendar

There were other groups which issued calendar postcard series like Heritage Conservation Society in the middle part of 2000’s, While Philippine Native Plant Conservation Society Incorporated (PNPCSI) also issued their own native plant and trees series. The table calendar can be used for 12 months, the postcard can easily be detached and used for mailing, framing or scrap book. These type of calendar postcard series were printed on a limited quantity ranging from 500 pieces to 1,200 pieces per series.

PNPCSI  in joint partnership with Rain Forest Restoration Initiative only printed calendar/bookmark during the 2019- 2020 edition, thus was not able to buy the calendar.

Some of the so called postcards sellers do not follow the simple guidelines set by Fédération Internationale de Philatélie which is the authority for postcard guidelines and quantity regulation. This could post some problems for postcard exhibitors which have bought postcards issued by artisan,then entered them during FIP or FIAP sanction exhibition.

Short List

1.) National Bookstore – NBS still carry some postcards, but not all branches would have postcards especially NBS Express, which only carry school or office supplies. It was a different story from the mid-1950’s to early part of 2000’s where hundreds of designs were printed and sold to the general public. They also issued map postcards.

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Philippines map postcard sold in National Bookstore until late 2012

2.) Papemelroti – This is one of our fave place to buy some postcards, They were one of the first commercial stores which issued the shaped postcards. I would visit the Roces branch of the store. Postcard prices would start from Php 5.00 or Php 6.00.

3.) Goodwill Bookstore– Goodwill bookstore used to have a wide array of postcards.

There were two Japanese professional photographers which the company hired in the late 1960’s toured the country to feature interesting landmarks and places. Majority of  were issued between 1967 up to early 1980’s. The postcards were printed under Madonna and JMC Press.

Some of their postcards series were highly collectible, especially those which featured famous landmarks like Luneta, Manila, Philippines Dances, Intramuros and Orchids. They also issued lenticular postcards or 3-D postcard types which were big fancy among collectors.

Unfortunately, managed to collect at least 70 postcard designs before their store closed down few years ago in San Juan. According to some postcard collectors, Goodwill bookstore carried at least 150 known designs issued before. Some of the postcards were already sold out during the mid-1990’s and were never reprinted.

4.) Merriam Webster – Merrian Webster Bookstore is another bookstore chain which had some branches located in Metro Manila. The branches includes Carvajal street ( Binondo), Nicanor Reyes Sr. ( aka Morayta street), Avenida Rizal ( Santa Cruz), Makati, Pasay and Marikina.

The bookstore sold cheap postcards printed by Roscar and local printers.These are far lower quality postcard compared to the issued by leading bookstore. Price ranges from Php 3.00 to Php 5.00 per postcard. The bookstore also carried some stamp album and collectible stamps.

5.) The Bookmark Inc. – The publishing company also re-printed vintage postcards which were classified into themes like fauna, vintage landmarks, people, anthropology and children’s painting in the mid- 1990’s. However the selection is quite limited. During the last MIBF 2019. I saw that they sold some postcard packs at their booth.

6.) Pandayan Bookstore– This bookstore started in 1993 and still carry some postcards. Compared to the ones issued by Merriam Webster. The postcards issued by the bookstore have some quality. But not all branches would carry or sell postcards. One example is in Araneta, Cubao which only carried greeting cards. The bookstore had about 130 branches all over the country.

6.) School Supplies and Wholesalers – If you are looking for cheap postcard, Try to scout school supply wholesalers in Divisoria, Juan Luna street or Santo Cristo area. However the quality is quite inferior compared to the ones being sold by the other bookstore. Another downfall is that you need to buy per pack which may be about 100 pieces per design.

7.) Island Souvenir– Island souvenir started in 1992 and based in Cebu.  They have some branches in Metro Manila.

8.) Silahis, Paper Toile, Casa Manila along General Luna street, Intramuros- For those looking for the general tourist postcard, one can buy tourist postcards from tourist shops. Selection is quite limited. Paper Toile recently opened a stall in First United Building in Escolta street, but does not carry any postcard.

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Paper Toile stall in First United Building

9.) Sterling – Sterling used to have postcards distributed by Expression and other smaller bookstores.  I have visited their office a couple of months ago and they did not carry any postcard. According the the sales person, The company cease printing postcards for the past couple of years. A fellow postcard collector, told me that there were still resellers of Sterling postcards in some parts of the country, abiet rare.

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Chinatown Museum gift shop at the 4th level of Lucky Chinatown Mall

10.) Museums– A good place to shop some postcards or note cards were the limited edition printed by local museums. Museums like the Blanco family museum in Angono, BenCab Museum in Baguio would also carry some note-cards. Lopez Museum in Pasig used to have some postcards series printed before. Bahay Nakpil in Quiapo, Bahay Tsinoy in Intramuros, Chinatown Museum, also printed some postcards. Some of the postcards were eventually given away during their open house few months ago.

11.) Churches and Parishes– Some churches issued their own postcards for sale. Churches and parishes included Santa Cruz, Manila Cathedral Basilica, San Sebastian Basilica, San Agustin and Taal Basilica.

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letter writing postcard issued by PHLPOST

12.) Philippine Postal Corporation– PHLPOST issued some postcards thru the years in partnership with other government institutions like National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) , Department of Tourism (WOW Philippines postcard),Department of Education ( DEPED). These are highly collectible and the last postcard issuance by PHLPOST was in October 2019 which marked the 150th anniversary of postcard.

13.) Other government and private company issuance- Some government agencies issued limited postcard series and at one time, Philippine Airlines, PAN-American Airlines those engaged in the travel business were active issuing postcards ( as part of the extensive marketing and promotion).  I got some postcards issued by Philippine Airlines, PAN-American Airlines,Japan Airlines, Intramuros Administration. Manila Bulletin also issued postcards few years ago in partnership with PHLPOST for the annual letter writing.

14.) Pinspired – Postcards and Collectibles – I met Ms. Erika Jacolo who is the Manila band ambassador of the company. The company is based from Dumaguete City. They also have some postcard for sale in some museums with slightly higher marked-up.

15.) Restaurants – Some local restaurants issued limited edition postcards. Some are  advertising postcard with only few spaces provided to write. Max’s restaurant issued few years ago a limited edition postcard in partnership with PHLPOST.

16.) Hotels and Resorts – Manila Hotel and other resorts would have a souvenir stores or gift stores located within their premises.  A friend who works at the Manila Hotel told me that a big size postcard cost Php 540 a piece. Another friend gave me a postcard when they stayed in Makati- Shangrila.

17.) Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter– There are some active sellers who have account. When Friendster, Yahoo Group, Multiply accounts were still active few years ago, There were also sellers and traders.

18.) Do It Yourself Postcard – There are some postcard collectors who would make DIY postcard, my friend Mr. Philip Reyes makes handmade crochet postcard and send to thematic collector around the world. One can buy blank postcard from Papemelroti. One can paint or draw from the blank postcards.

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Ali X

19.) Thrift Shops– There are several thrift shop outlets like in Kamuning, Cubao Expo, ALI-X, Ermita, Malate, Makati, Pasay, Baguio which sells vintage postcard. These stores cater to postcard collectors and majority of the postcard for sale were used.  Postcards have handwritten notes, stamps and postcard marks.

The prices may vary from one thrift shop to another. Some allow haggling, while others will not allow. Prices start from Php 25 for a small postcard to as much as few hundreds of pesos for the vintage ones.

20.) Stamp Club and Collecting Club – There are different stamp and collecting clubs which meets on saturday or sunday on a specific time and place. Some would meet in Manila Central Post office like Philippine Philatelists and Collectibles ( third saturday) APO ( first sunday ) and Filipinas Stamp Collectors’ Club ( third sunday).

Bayanihan Collectors’ Club,Philippine Numismatic and Antiquarian Society (PNAS) and Banknote Society of the Philippines (BNSP) would meet in different parts of Metropolis such as in Tropical Hut branch in Quezon City, Max’s restaurant, Ortigas Library, Manila Yacht Club, Quezon City Sports Club among other places.

I think all stamp club meetings or bourse are open to the general public. Postcards sold during the meeting or auction are mostly used. Coveted by collectors, these items cannot be send to new postcard collectors.

Remember that there were still some collecting club are exclusive membership and strictly by invitation only.

21.) Coffee Shop – Some coffee stores gave away promotional postcards, We would consider these as advertising postcards.

22.) Art Studio -Some art studio and gallery would also print their exhibition and guise them as postcards. This also serves dual purpose, Aside from promoting the event, The advertising postcard serves as a special invite.  We got some advertising postcards from YO Card Philippines before their company folded. Some movie companies issued advertising postcards before to promote their films.

23.) Postcrossing PH members – During a recent eyeball held last February 29, 2020, some local postcrossers printed some collectible postcards. I do not know if they are still available, What i know is that these are pre-ordered in advance. Ms. Jona Saavedra Panesa ( rabbit design ), Ms. Ruth Jacob ( blue heart), Ms.Venus Fortuna( Adarna bird ) Chinese Goddess by Ms. Rena Dylux from Beijing China. 

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24.) Thrift Bookstores – Second hand bookstores like Book For Less or Book Sale sometimes carry postcard books, These are printed in the United States or Europe and postcards can be detached and use for general mailing.

25.) Online Sites – Examples were Shopee, Red Bubble, Ebay,OLX, Zalora, Amazon, Carousell, Etsy, Zazzle, CardCow, Facebook Group – There are several wholesalers and retailers selling Philippine postcards from these sites.

Some are reproduction from well loved vintage postcards, while others are from China. One must be careful in buying postcards especially those from China or in bulk. There are people who ordered paying them using their credit card or even cash but the postcard did not arrive.  Try to factor local shipping rates and other taxes when buying postcard online.

These are just the few internet sites or places where one can purchase some postcards. It is better to ask around for those that were not listed in this short list. But small bookstore around the provinces would still carry postcards.

There were also some small and medium size art and fancy craft supply outlets which print their own line of postcards series.

American Regime Manila Thru Postcards (Part 4)

The arrival of the Americans in 1898 saw the increase number of colorful postcards, these gradually replaced printed postcards during the last decade of the Spanish regime. The postcards were first printed in the United States, while other foreign postcards like French photo postcards, British painted postcards, Germany and Japanese sponsored postcards followed in the local market.

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Paco River with bamboo raft

American Regime Postcards

There were at least 30 known companies which printed and distributed postcards from the early 1900 to the mid- 1950’s in the country. This does not include the Japanese sponsored postal cards which were printed during the Japanese controlled republic from 1943 to 1945.

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Raphael Tuck and Son Postcard printed in England ( Suspension Bridge )

 The first bridge started its construction in 1849 and was completed in January 4,1852. It used to be called Puente de Claveria (Claveria Bridge)named after the Governor General Narciso Claveria y Zaldua; who was governor-general of the Philippines from July 16, 1844 to December 26, 1849. It was built and owned by Ynchausti y Compañía.

It was built to ease the traffic going to the north side of the Pasig river which includes Binondo, Quiapo and Santa Cruz districts.

the old suspension bridge had two lanes that allow passages of horse and carabao drawn carriage during that time. It was also opened for pedestrians from Quiapo going to Intramuros and nearby areas. The total length of the bridge was 110 meters.

Its old name was Puente de Colgante, and became the first suspension bridge not only in the Philippines but in Southeast Asia as well. This was later replaced by Quezon bridge in 1939.

The suspension bridge was one of the famous landmark in Spanish and American era, Manila.

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Pasig river postcard

Mr. Raphael Tuck and his wife started the business in Bishopgate in London in October 1866, The company eventually expanded into printing, distributing and featuring landmarks from all over the world.

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Denniston’s Manila, Philippines ( Binondo Canal)

Denniston is one of the printer and distributor of American era postcards in the country.  The code for the company Denniston Philippine Postcards with numbered “D” with at least hundreds of featured landmarks from different parts of the country.

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Binondo canal with native cascos and rice

Binondo canals and Pasig river was very popular subject in many of the early postcard issuance. The river is still clean and there are native cascos which ply the river.

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Quinta Market is located in the Quiapo district, It is one of the larger public market and it is still around. However the old structure was demolished few years ago to pave way for a newer public market.

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Plaza Lawton or Liwasang Bonifacio during the early part of 1900 during the early part of the American administration.

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Old Spanish Gate within Intramuros – This was printed by Philippine Educational Company ( PECO).

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Botanic Garden– This is one of the oldest known botanic garden not just in the country but in Southeast Asia.  This used to be called Jardin Botanico de Manila then changed the name to Mehan Garden.

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Botanic Garden by Photo Supply Co.

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Manila Central Post Office – This building is one of the first neo-classicial style built during the American regime.

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Tanduay Fire Station – This fire station is another iconic landmark and still around.

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Calle Palacio – This is one of the most important street in Intramuros.

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Manila Cathedral – This is one of the most featured cathedral in the country.

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Manila Cathedral with Pope Pius XI

This was a postcard issued sometime in commonwealth the mid- 1930’s. Pope Puis XI served from 6 February 1922 to his death in February 10, 1939.

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Manila Cathedral facade

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Bilibid Prison –  This correctional institution is another well-known landmark in Manila.

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Rotunda Fountain and Tranvia – The fountain was built in 1884 to commemorate the inauguration of Manila’s waterworks system. However, in 1976 the Rotonda de Sampaloc paved way to ease traffic congestion and was eventually moved the fountain to the MWSS office in Quezon City. Where it stayed for almost 20 years, until it was moved again in Plaza Santa Cruz in 1995 during the second term of then Mayor Alfredo S. Lim.

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YMCA Building Postcard– This was the old building by  Young Men’s Christian Association in Manila issued in the 1907.  The old building location is near Sm Manila which is at the back of the Manila Cityhall.

According to a postcard and stamp collector, This type of postcards used to be quite common in many curio stores and even old bookstores in Metro Manila even until the mid- 1970’s.

Sources and References:

American Regime Manila Thru Postcards (part 1)

American Regime Manila Thru Postcards (part 2)

American Regime Manila Thru Postcards ( part 3)

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

Philippine Postcards.com: https://www.philippinepostcards.com/

Puente Colgante. ( 2005). In Virgilio Almario ( Ed.), Sagisag Kultura ( Vol 1). Manila: National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

A Celebration of Rizal Memorial Stadium Thru Postcards and Commemorative Covers

Rizal Memorial Tennis Stadium is a complex of sports facilities built during for the hosting of the Far Eastern Games in 1934. The sporting event is the precursor of today’s Asian Games.

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 Rizal Memorial Tennis Stadium facade which buds of sampaguita- the unopened buds symbolizes coming of age

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Rizal Memorial Coliseum facade ( taken last November 20,2019)

The area in which the current sport complex stands which also included the Harrison plaza and adjacent area were supposed to be a park or green area according to the architectural masterpiece by Architect Daniel Burnham. However most of the planned green space or zones were not properly executed.

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Rizal Memorial Baseball stadium postcard

Currently it is located along Pablo Ocampo St. (formerly Vito Cruz St.) the Rizal memorial sports complex  was built was donated by the family of Vito Cruz.

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Rizal Baseball stadium facade

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Far Eastern Games

A total of four nations (China, Dutch East Indies, Japan, and host Philippines) participated in a total of eight different sports. The event also highlighted the 10th anniversary of the games.

World’s First Basketball and Baseball Stamps

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2 centavos, 6 centavos and 16 centavos commemorative stamps

The commemorative stamps and covers were issued which featured three sports baseball, tennis and basketball. The 2 centavos face value is the “ world’s first baseball stamp” issued by any country. While 16 centavos face value with basketball featured was the “world first basketball” stamps.

While the first baseball stamp in the United States was issued 5 years later in 1939, commemorating what was believed to be the centennial anniversary of the introduction and invention of the baseball in Cooperstown, New York in 1839.

The stamp were issued on April 14, 1934. All the three set of stamps were designed by Fernando Amorsolo ( future national artist for painting in the Philippines 1972) and printed in panes of 50, ( either 5×10, or 10×5) depending upon whether vertical or horizontal format of particular stamp) by Philippine Bureau of Printing with perforated 12. No watermarks.

2 centavos- yellow-brown 9 baseball players) -971,414 pieces . There were some color and printing varieties which old catalogs categorized them into U160a,b and c.

6 centavos ultramarine ( tennis player) -800,000 all shades of color. This also comes with 3 color and printing varieties.

16 centavos -violet (basketball players) -500,000 all shades of color. This comes with 162 a ( dark violet) and U162b ( variety -horizonal pair, imperforate)

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2nd  Asian Games from May 1 to 9, 1954 first day cover with Rizal Memorial Tennis Stadium on the left cache design.

Postcards

Postcards were popular method of promoting local tourist spots and man- made structures.

The postcards were printed in the United States and sold in bookstores in the country.  Architect Juan M. Arellano which designed the structure following the Art Deco and Streamline modern design. Some parts of the tennis court look like steam rudder of ships and train parts. Geometric pattern can also be seen in walkways and lobby of the stadium.

Ships and trains were some of the fastest form of transportation way back then.  It is good that the historic sports complex is getting a new lease in life. These stamps, postcards and first day covers issued to commemorate Far Eastern Games and Asian Games were celebration of our nation’s sports heritage.

Bibliography and References:

AFF Magazine ( Asociacion Filatelica de Filipinas )

Gibbons Stamp Monthly

Harrandine, Peter W.A. , Mc Farland and Company :Philippine Postage Stamp Handbook, 1854-1982:pages, 116 to 117. ISBN 0-89950-178-8

Palmer, F.L. The Postage Stamps of the Philippines. New York 1912

Scott Standard Postage and Stamp Catalogue