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

 

1950’s Philippine Christmas Postcards and Greeting Cards Haul

It is just 35 days before Christmas. Got a chance to arrange a couple of family memorabilia tucked in one corner.

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obverse side of the Christmas greeting card ( Bank of Commerce building) circa 1950 to 1951

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Christmas greetings

only few Christmas greeting cards were kept which dates back earlier than 1950’s. Most were destroyed by two fires which gutted most of the memorabilia and other items during the war and in the late 1960’s. Some where thrown away, while others were eaten by termites.

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obverse side with Season’s Greetings and building

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A Soriano Y Cia

Sending Christmas greeting cards and postcards were normal way of greeting clients, friends, family members from all over the world. Unfortunately, with the advent of internet and social media age, fewer people even dare to send this traditional way of greeting.

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Maligayang Pasko with traditional nipa hut circa 1951( obverse)

They think that it was expensive and crude-some to send someone Christmas greeting cards. Some may not even arrive on time, while other may lost in transit.

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with handwritten message and a generic type written greeting

“Kapayapaan sa lupa at Kaluwalhatian  sa Langit ang umaatin sa araw na ito.”

This is one of the early Christmas greeting card printed in the country. The greeting card was address to Lasena in 1951 by Mr. Ceferino S. Reyes c/o Philippine Education Company P.O. Box. Manila.

Handwritten” Don Berto, y Distinguido Señora

The lithography was made by Carmelo and Bauermann, Inc. Exclusively for Philippine Education Co. Inc.

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Marcelo Industry ( obverse) 1951 to 1952 printed in the Philippines probably customized. ( possibly printed in Malabon, Rizal province )

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greetings from Marcelo Industry- Malabon , Rizal province

Philippine Christmas Postcards and Greeting Cards

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Christmas Greeting from Chua Yap – Manila 1951 (Philippine Mirror Factory)

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From F. E Zuellig Inc. ( well known multi-national pharmaceutical company )

It was middle part of the 19th century when sending Christmas greeting cards became cheaper with printing cost and distribution went down.  Most of the greeting cards were printed in  Great Britain, United States of America, Germany, Spain and France.

The greeting cards that were available in the country were sold in Escolta, bookstores and bazaars in downtown Manila.  It is quite rare to encounter Christmas greeting cards or postcards printed in the country before the 1930’s. Most were imported from other countries, particularly the United States, Great Britain or Spain.

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obverse ( with embossed poinsettia flowers) circa 1951 to 1952

People would prefer imported Christmas cards since it had nice color and had a glossy finished.

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from P.E Domingo Inc. which had their office in 13 to 15 Escolta street, Manila

It was only during the early 1950’s when some big corporations, politicians and rich families started customization of Christmas postcards or greeting cards printed in local printing stores or publishing companies.

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greeting card from Mr. and Mrs. Jose Fernandez Zorrilla

They would be send via Bureau of Post or personally handed the card to the recipient.

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greeting card from Lt. Colonel and Mrs. Emigdio C. Cruz circa 1951 to 1952 from Agno Street, Quezon City

Wide variety of materials were used in printing of Christmas postcards like photo-paper print which depict some tourist spots.

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obverse ( our lady of lourdes ) with cartoonish character riding on top of a carabao

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Sam Studio 250 Ongpin Street, Binondo , Manila ( probably late 1950’s to early 1960’s) reverse side.

I also got a few Christmas postcard from an online friend base in Laguna province. Her grand uncle use to have a private printing press in Quezon City. The uncle collects a couple of old photos, postcards, stamps and Christmas greeting cards send to him by his friends and clients.

The Christmas greeting cards featured were between 60 to 68 years-old. Other bookstores would follow the trend and popular Hallmark greeting cards would become common in the following decades.

By purchasing some of these well-known postcard or greeting cards, one can help a child or a community. Plus the value of collecting these items will surely bring nostalgia and cherishing effort.

American Regime Manila Thru Postcards (Part 3)

Manila and her immediate towns and landmarks were always the main feature during the American regime.

ESCOLTA

Escolta street earn the moniker “Queen of Manila’s street” since this one of the oldest street and a major street of the city.

One of the oldest streets in Manila, Escolta was created in 1594. Its name was derived from the Spanish word escoltar, meaning “to escort”. This was further developed during the late Spanish and American colonial regime when tall buildings were built.

Another important note is this street would host ticker tape parade when visiting dignitaries, crowned beauty queens and heads of states even until the mid-1970’s.

There was an obscure ordinance in Manila that requiring men to wear formal dress when within Escolta. This was finally repealed in the early this millennium.

American Regime Postcards

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Avenida Rizal

Avenida Rizal is one of the important commercial centers of pre-war Manila. This comprises of Quiapo, Santa Cruz district. The business activity from Avenida Rizal is an extension from nearby Escolta. Some businessmen preferred this district since rentals is a little bit lower compared to Escolta, Chinatown or Binondo.

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Bridge of Spain with trolley tracks and industrial area

Bridge of Spain – Is one of the most featured bridge of Manila during the late Spanish and American regime.  This postcard was probably printed before 1914 flood which had almost destroyed the bridge.

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Government Printing Plant– postcards was issued around 1909. This building was one of the casualties of the last war.

philippine general hospital

Philippine General Hospital– This hospital is one of the facilities built by the Americans.

manila hotel

Manila Hotelis the grand dame of hotels in the city, opened in 1912, it was once the residence of General Douglas Macarthur. Ernest Hemingway, to say, ‘It’s a good story if it’s like the Manila Hotel,”. This hotel is one of the most featured hotel in the country.

Most of the landmarks featured were infrastructure built by Spanish and American colonial government. Please try to visit my previous post on postcards issued during the American regime .

Link to “American regime Manila thru Postcards” Part 2 and Part 1

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

American Regime Manila Thru Postcards (part 2)

The Americans who colonized the country in 1898 saw the opportunity to feature much of their newly colonized territories in the orient via postcards, photos and travel brochures.

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Fort Santiago with newly installed electric post

Fort Santiago is an important military outpost and frequently featured in postcards, stamp during the late Spanish occupation and American regime.

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Plaza Goiti

Plaza Goiti – Is located at the back of Santa Cruz church. This is now called as Plaza Lacson where a post modern statue of Mayor Arsenio Lacson can be found. There is also a tranvia station line where street trolley would ply the route. Plaza Goiti is located near two important streets Calle Escolta and Calle Carriedo. The plaza serves as a demarcation between two district Santa Cruz and Quiapo. One can also notice that in pre-war Manila, drivers use right hand side.

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Pasig River with custom house circa 1908 postcard

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Pasig River with cascos, small boats and El Hogar building circa 1910

Pasig River which is the main river which separates the northern district and southern district of Manila is often featured in postcards even up to the late 1980’s.

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Binondo Canal -This is vital to the trade and commerce in the northern part of the district. According to relatives who lived in Binondo before the war, Estero dela Reina would be vital for transportation and those who buy goods coming from the provinces. The Binondo landmark and estero is still there, but only few ancestral houses survive. The estero is now dirty and subject to periodic cleaning by the MMDA and city.

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Binondo Draw Bridge Lift

Binondo Draw Bridge Lift– This is another landmark in Binondo during the American era which is located near Muelle de Binondo street and Dasmariñas street. During the late Spanish colonial rule and American regime; most of the goods, furniture, vegetables, fruits, fowls, grains ply the canals or estero within the city. Due to heavy river traffic, a drawbridge is needed. These were raise to allow boats, cascos ( native boats) to pass through. Most of these boats would ply major markets in the city like Quinta, Divisoria, Arroceros, Paco and Binondo.

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Pasig river with native cascos ( native boats) circa 1910

Because of the large number of these boats which ply much of the city’s canal or esteros- Manila also earned the moniker “Venice of the East“.

The drawbridges survived the second world war, having in operations until the mid- 1960’s one in Binondo and Divisoria.

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Union landing and custom house wharf

The first collectors were American soldiers, tourists, teachers and personnel who were assigned to the newly founded territory.

Manila During the American Regime

Manila and her landmarks were the favorite topics on postcard issues. While parts of the city is modern, There were several parts which were rural with lots of vacant lots, houses made from nipa huts, trees and light materials.

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nipa hut with laundry

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embroidery

Early topics would also includes people washing clothes in Pasig river, trade, laundry, festivals and local customs.

Local and Foreign Outbound Rates

Postal rates were 2 centavos (US and Islands ) and 4 centavos ( Foreign countries not part of the United States ) for outbound mail. Since the Philippines was a US colony way back then, We can mail postcards to any parts of USA , Guam, Puerto Rico and Northern Marianas.

The early postcard senders have a peculiar way of affixing stamp. They would post the stamp in front view rather than the backside of the postcards.

Note: postcard were from the personal collector of the author and some of his friends, who would like to remain anonymous.

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

American Regime Manila Thru Postcards (Part 1)

Manila is known by travelers,expats,scholars 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.

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old Spanish watch tower, Intramuros postcard

Philippine Postcards

Postcards in the country were distributed during the mid-19th during the Spanish colonial regime and were known as tarjeta postal, even until now 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.

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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.

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Binondo canal

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 bear 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.

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Insular Ice Plant postcard

Insular ice plant is one of the major building infrastructure built by the Americans in Manila.

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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 Ralph Harrington Doane, Tomas Mapua and Juan Arellano were the architects behind this magnificent building.

Malacañang Palace

Malacañang Palace

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.

American Regime

The Americans started printing new postcards and were quickly bought by American military personnel or service personnel that were stationed in the country.
Since travel to the country became easier with faster steam engine vessels and larger commercial steam boats which ply the islands. More and more postcards
with different interesting topics were printed.
manila cityhall
Manila Cityhall
The most popular were Manila carnival queens, ethnic groups, landmarks, public executions, people in filipiñiana costume among others.
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Calle Bagumbayan postcard
Some of the postcards were printed in the Unites States during the early part of the colonial regime, while some are printed in the country.
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Bureau of Science building
Bureau of Science is the precursor of Department of Science and Technology (DOST) during the American colonial regime. The building was  designed in 1901 by the first American resident architect Edgar Bourne.
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Bureau of Science building
The colonial government needed a laboratory to study and store the colony’s rich store of minerals, forest and agricultural products as well as manufactured goods like tobacco and rope. The California Mission-style Neoclassic building graced the PGH Complex off ,Taft Avenue until the war when it was destroyed.
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University of Santo Tomas– This pre-war postcard was probably printed around 1930. This is the newly built building at the Sampaloc campus.
Postal Card
Most businesses and the general public during the commonwealth regime would prefer using postal card. It is a type of postal stationary with pre-paid stamp affixed on the card.  These were classified under postal stationary of Philippine Islands under US Administration. Printed by the US Bureau of Printing and Engraving for use in the Philippine islands.
One can write short messages on the postal card and can be send very quick.
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postal card issued during the commonwealth era with 2 centavos face value
Postal cards had a very interesting story. A lot of the postal card were hidden during the Japanese occupation and were brought out when the American or Allied forces began liberating major cities , hence there are popular cancellation and slogan  marks.
Sometimes these bear overprint cancellation marks of “V Day” ( Victory Day) postal card of 1945, marking the return to power of the commonwealth from the Japanese which occupied the country.
These became popular souvenir items by Allied forces and American troops which were stationed in the country between 1944 to 1946. Approximately 250,000 American service and Allied forces were stationed in the country during this time period.
These type of postal card is commonly used by business, personal and quite popular even until the late 1960’s.

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