Iconic Manila Hotel real photo postcards

Manila Hotel is one of the most photographed hotels in the country since her establishment in 1912.

With the advent of photography. First known photo studios were introduced in Manila in the later part of the 19th century. Taking photos of people, fiesta, landmarks, recuerdo de patay (memories of the dead) became more popular. Manila hotel postcard with the use of photos became an instant hot commodity among collectors of Filipiniana, memorabilia, postcard, photo collectors not only in the country but also from all over the world.

Manila Hotel photo postcard circa 1925

Manila Hotel real photo postcards

The Manila bay harbor was dredged with millions of tons of mud, gravel and sand were used to reclaim and extend the Luneta, making room for the Elks Club, the Army Navy Club and the crown jewel of the project was a premiere hotel with modern amenities that soon to be called the Manila Hotel.

The Malecon drive which was popular as seaside passageway and promenade area during the Spanish regime was widen and reclaimed. Eventually the drive became Dewey boulevard or Roxas boulevard.

The moat which connects parts of intramuros or walled city to the Manila bay was filled and turned into a municipal golf course and garden.

The site of the hotel was next to Pier 7, where it was now possible to berth four large passenger ships.

Pier 13 is also near the hotel which added more traffic and guests to the hotel.

Visitors can book a room at the hotel and short calesa ride into the historic city centers like Intramuros, Ermita, Malate and Luneta park. During those times, the social event would center in escolta. Eventually the grand social hall of the hotel serves as a nerve center to even the political meetings and gatherings.

It was the in-thing for the wealthy and socialite during American colonial regime to be spotted within Manila Hotel, much of today’s Bonifacio Global City or BGC.

Mr. Daniel Burnham commissioned American architect William Parsons to design the Manila Hotel as well as many buildings with the California style mission which was in vogue in many parts of the United States and Europe.

Manila Hotel circa 1947 photo postcard

Manila Hotel circa 1957 with post war cars and trees growing

Manila Hotel with large acacia and narra trees circa 1959

Please try to visit the other previous article links for Manila Hotel :

American Regime Manila thru postcards part 3: https://renz15.wordpress.com/2019/09/13/american-regime-manila-thru-postcards-part-3/

Manila Hotel postcard by Cardinell Vincent :https://renz15.wordpress.com/2020/10/27/manila-hotel-postcard-cardinell-vincent-company/

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.

Flores de Mayo Exhibit at Orchidarium

National Parks Development Committee, Department of Tourism in partnership with League of Orchid Conservationists of the Philippines (LOPHIL) will be having an exhibit and bazaar at the Orchidarium within Rizal Park.

It used to house the collection of Madam Amelita “Ming” Ramos but has been neglected for quite sometime. There will be a landscape exhibition and contest, as well as sellers of plants. Participants come from different parts of the country. Judging of landscapes, opening of exhibits will be on May 14 ,2017morning, followed by 9-days of plant selling (14-22).

The event is called ” Flores de Mayo ” which will showcase blooming flowers this May. There will also be a ceremonial presentation of Dendrobium orchid hybrids named after the president.

Solar Powered Environment Pavilion at Luneta Park

Luneta Park, Manila -Philippines

I was strolling around the historic Luneta Park when i saw a huge pavilion made from plastic carts , bottles and recycled items.

Environment Pavilion

Mr. Stephen Lamb from Touching the Earth Lightly and  Mr. Ilac Diaz from My Shelter Foundation teamed up for the first time at last year’s Shanghai Biennale. They share a vision to provide environmentally-friendly energy, food, and housing solutions that just about anyone can afford.

herbal plants

And the idea that people can be empowered to be self-sufficient has garnered significant support from celebrities like David de Rothschild of Plastiki fame, who attended the opening at Luneta Park, according to The Guardian.

softdrink tansan

“This is a living example of how you can take food, shelter, water and energy using existing resources that people often disregard as wasteful and actually turn them into something that is useful, and beneficial and can create a quality of life,” he said.

donors and sponsors

In addition to showcasing food growing solutions that require no soil and other low tech innovations, the solar-powered pavilion also acts as a launching pad for Liter of Light’s latest nighttime light bulb made with LED lights. So far they have distributed them to 150 locations throughout the Philippines.

soft-drink bottles used for lightning the pavilion
The pavilion and exhibit will be until May or June 2013. This was according to the local organizers of the pavilion. There will be daily scheduled lectures and seminars about recycling, environmental issues .
  The Solar Revolution Pavilion is a 200 square metre, 6-metre high structure built of 1,600 plastic vegetable crates containing reused plastic bottles.
Website Link:

Woman in Yellow

January 25, 2010 marked the 77th birthday of the former Philippine President Corazon Aquino . To celebrate the event,  staunch Cory supporter Manila  Mayor  Alfredo Lim inaugurated the first monument in the country dedicated to the former leader of the country.

located right outside the Intramuros walls  beside the statute of Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. right across the historic Manila Hotel and Luneta park . It would actually be the latest in the city’s  “yellow fever craze” as some might call it, Most of the City hall employees and traffic enforcers are already wearing yellow uniform , having already named a bridge, an elementary school, a university building, and a hospital after her in a span of 5 months.

77th birthday FDC commemorative stamp with second print Cory memoriam stamps

Not to mentioned the not so new issue of the Philippine Postal Corporation  a  First Day Cover ( Cory’s 77th birthday )  with a second print of the Cory Aquino memoriam stamps . These FDC stamp is  considered commemorative, since there were about 500 pieces according to the philatelic staff.

Tita Cory was featured in Philippine stamps  for about a dozen times which included the definitive issue (Philippine Presidents ) series  in early  2000.

Manila Cityhall officials led by the enigmatic Mayor Alfredo Lim, Ms. Gemma Cruz- Araneta , members of the Cojuangco- Aquino family , distinguished guests led the unveiling of the statue.

The monument  showed the former President  Cory flashing the ever-famous “Laban” or “Fight” hand sign on her right while holding the 1987 Philippine Constitution on her left which Castrillo explained was a symbolism of Cory’s legacy in restoring and upholding democratic rule in the country.

Senator Benigno Aquino statute

The  Cory monument was designed by renowned Filipino sculptor Eduardo Castrillo ,  who happens also to be the same sculptor behind the Rajah Sulayman monument, Our Lady of EDSA,  the Pinaglabanan shrine monument and the  Bonifacio monument beside the Manila Cityhall among many others.

Cory and Ninoy stickers a hot item for collectors and sympathizers

After the unveiling ceremonies of the statue, the sea of yellow supporters and crowd sung famous EDSA songs , yellow colored balloons were flown,   While street hawkers had the opportunity to sell merchandises related to the famous couple.

Despite being world-famous for fighting martial law and restoring democracy in the country, The tandem of Ninoy and Cory statute  seems out of place !

Under the National Historical Institute guidelines on monuments, the Rizal Monument at Luneta (Rizal Park, Manila) and the Bonifacio Monument (Caloocan City) are established as points of reference and should preferably be the focal point of a city or town center.

The NHI said if two or more monuments are present at the site, the most important monument should be given prominence at the site. It said the environment around the monument must be clean and neat and should not overshadow the dominant monument.

“No new construction, demolition or modification, which would alter the relations of mass and color must be allowed,” the NHI added.

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