Manila Cathedral postcard with timbre cote vue cancellation

Manila Cathedral is one of the most photographed and featured cathedral in the country. Several postcard companies had featured this church since photography and postcards were introduced towards the end of the 19th century up to late 20th century.

Prior to the advent of photography, Majority of the early Manila Cathedral feature were drawn by local sketchers and international painters. Some of which are still around collected in different local archives like the one by Intramuros Administration, National Archives , National Library, Ortigas Library Foundation and foreign archives like those in Spain, Mexico, France and some early deltiologist (postcard collector).

Manila Cathedral circa between 1908 to 1910 with stamp in front and cancellation mark- the one on the right side was the Palacio del Gobernador ruins– the main square in front used to be called Plaza Mayor or Plaza Mckinley before it was renamed to Plaza Roma in 1961.

There are flame trees planted in the plaza towards the end of the 19th century and only the facade and pineapple ornamentation on the right side survived the last world war.

Manila Cathedral Postcard

back portion with handwriting and cancellation mark

Manila Cathedral is considered as mother of all churches in the archipelago. It was separate diocese on February 6, 1579 upon the issuance of papal bull.

The cross on top of the the central dome is a reference point of astronomical longitudes of the archipelago. Also it serves as a point of reference or kilometer zero for distances in the country.

Majority of the postcards printed during the American regime featured the 7th Cathedral architecture which is known as neo-byzantine style which only the main facade survived the last world war.

The present cathedral was a Romanesque revival or neo- Romanesque revival which was rebuilt between 1954 to 1958.

Timbre Corte Vue

This is called timbre cote vue or TVC which was normal way to place a stamp and then the cancel were placed on the face or picture side of a postcard. The message from the sender is also written on the front of this card and it is dated on the back by the sender.

There was a practice in the late 19th century to first quarter of the 20th century for early postcards to have stamps posted in front of the view. the cancellation marks also adds beauty to the front side. Unlike the usual practice among present day postcard collectors ( deltiologists) .

It had a 2 centavos Dr. Jose Rizal stamp with cancellation of January 5, 1910 4:30 pm and the postcard was send from Manila, Philippines to Rhone , France . It is an undivided back. The postcard was printed in Germany.

The recipient was Mr. A Rochet from 22 Rue Longue, Lyon, France

The sender or the postcard seller could be Mr. Jose A. Del Barrio with local address from Manila, Philippines.

Glad to have this postcard for a price of a pizza.

References and Useful Links:

Sources and References:

American Regime Manila Thru Postcards (part 1)

American Regime Manila Thru Postcards (part 2)

American Regime Manila Thru Postcards ( part 3)

American Regime Manila Thru Postcards ( part 4)

Personal interview with postcards collectors



Fish Head Mermaid Fantasy Postcard

Postcard collecting is fascinating hobby, Postcard companies have printed some fantasy issues which caught the fancy among collectors worldwide.

Most are printed in Europe, United States, Latin America and Asia. There are different kinds of folklores from all over the world about mermaid.

While arranging some old postcards during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). The postcard was bought in 1973 and collected by my mom at a photo studio in Manila’s Chinatown which  sold photo postcards as souvenir for tourists, curiosity item and for local deltiologist.


Fish head with human legs featured in postcard

Real Photo Postcard (RPPC types)

This type of postcard is called Real Photo Postcard (RPPC) types employed in the manufacture of most postcard images. It is a collective  term recognizes a distinction between the real photo process. It was quite popular in late 19th century in United Kingdom, Germany, Europe,United States eventually spreading in many parts of the globe by early part of the 20th century as photography get more accessible. The dimension is usually (3-1/2″ x 5-1/2″) as standard vintage postcards.

Among the first to use this type of medium were the rich aristocrats, royalties, those who wanted to remember their dead relatives or newly born child. It is sometimes called ” Recuerdo de Patay” memories of the dead. They are normally kept as mementos, keep sake or souvenir. Some local collectors would also collect the photos of prominent personalities like Dr. Jose P. Rizal.

Entrepreneurs hired them to record area events and the homes of prominent citizens, civic parade, birthdays, historical buildings, calamities among others.

This eventually became more popular as schools and personal family photos were printed with hundreds of copies sold either as souvenir class photo or for giveaway. Having one such opportunity would give glimpse of a rare opportunity for family members to keep their photos for remembrance. Since getting a photo is considered as luxury in the late 19th century to early 1900’s.

One can affix stamps at the back portion with simple message. This fish head with human torso is different from the usual mermaid postcard in the market. During those time there were already skeptic people which do not believe in these photos.

But it adds on the the overall appeal for the postcard collecting community. Glad to share this rare find.

Note: RPPC or RPP mermaid head is from the collection of the author

Sources and Bibliographies:

Personal communication with local postcard collectors

Bernhard, Willi: Bernhard Picture Postcard Catalogue: Germany 1870-1945, 1982

Sante, Luc: Folk Photography: The American Real-Photo Postcard 1905-1930, YETI Books, 2009

Smith, Jack H.: Postcard Companion: The Collector’s Reference, Wallace-Homestead, Radnor, PA, (1989)

Postcrossing – Philippine Eye Ball and Swapping Meet

Event: Postcrossing – Philippine Eyeball and Swap Meeting

Date: Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Time: 8:00 am to 5pm


8 AM: Philippine Postal Corporation Main Lobby

1 PM: Postal Museum and Library, 3/F Philpost Annex Building, Liwasang Bonifacio, Ermita, Manila

 Minimal fees: Php 200.00 per person (entrance fees)

Please bring snacks to share and post cards for the eye ball swap meeting.

Manila Central Post Office

Contact Person:
Mr. Jonathan Blaza: +632 621-7001 (land-line), +63918-939-5029 (Smart),+63917-5868-552 (Globe),
Mr. Lawrence Chan: +63919-3901671,Email:
Ms. Nena De Guzman (Museum Curator): +632 527-0096 between 8am to 5pm

8 AM

Manila Central Post Office (facilities and office tour to be led by Ms. Annadel Bangalisan and the author)   Postage and Philatelic Division

 1 PM
Philippine Postal  Museum and Library
Liwasang Bonifacio (aka Plaza Lawton)
Baluarte de San Gabriel
Puerta Isabel II Monument
Plaza Mexico (aka Plaza Aduana)
Aduana Ruins
Plaza Mayor (aka Plaza Mayor, Plaza McKinley)
Ayuntamiento Ruins
Palacio del Gobernador
Manila Cathedral Basilica
Plazuela de Sta. Isabel
San Agustin Church and Museum
San Ignacio Church Ruins
Fort Santiago

 Note: There will be lectures, freebies (for the first 25 people), raffle items (for those preregistered through the FB group) and a chance to meet new friends!

Visit our Facebook page for more details about the meet-up.

POSTCROSSING: The goal of this project is to allow people to receive postcards from all over the world, for free. Well, almost free! The main idea is that: if you send a postcard, you will receive at least one back from a random Postcrosser from somewhere in the world.

Post-crossing statistics (as of 20 October 2011, 3:30pm, Philippine time):

8,853,266 postcards have been received because of this project
274,531 postcards are traveling at this exact moment
4,796,988 (54%) postcard images were uploaded to Post crossing
13 days is the median postcard travel time. 19 days is the average.
47,980,916,757 km traveled (or 1,197,278 laps around the earth or 62,409 return trips to the moon)
There are 256,425 registered users from 198 countries.

Philippine Postcrossing Members

The Philippines has 1,065 members, and ranks 38th in the postcrossing sending countries . A total of 24,546 postcards were sent through postcrossing from the Philippines, while 24,957 were received.

Deltiology (from Greek word δελτίον, deltion, diminutive of δέλτος, deltos, “writing tablet, letter”; and -λογία, -logia ) is the study, acquisition  and collection of postcards .Professor Randall Rhoades of Ashland, Ohio, coined a word in 1945 that became the accepted description of the study of picture postcards. It took about 20 years for the name to appear in the dictionary the first time.Compared to philately, the identification of a postcard’s place and time of production can often be an impossible task because postcards, unlike stamps, are produced in a decentralised, unregulated manner. For this reason, some collectors choose to limit their acquisitions to cards by specific artists and publishers, or by time and location.

Trivia: A person who collects postcard is called a deltiologist .


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