Historic Flagpole within the Philippine Postal Corporation compound

Manila Central Post Office, Liwasang Bonifacio , Ermita , Manila -Philippines

Manila Central Post Office with tranvia  and a flag pole circa 1930’s

History tell us a lot of  stories and historical moments . One such historical spots within the Philippine Postal Corporation is the flag pole or flag post area.

Local philatelists , History buffs and  Philpost employees would recount a lot of VIP’s visiting  within their premises  from national artists ,  ambassadors, government secretaries ,  first ladies , presidents among others.

Manila Central Post Office , Insular Ice Plant , Escolta and Aerial View of Manila circa 1931 from the photo archives of the Philippine Postal Corporation

General Mac Arthur during the final days of the second world war would also inspect the Philippine Postal Corporation compound . Old World War 2 videos  found in the internet sites would also reveal a lot of hounding stories of the last world war .

WW 2 Japanese War Crimes – Manila link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33SFZc2Xy-Y

Manila Central Post Office circa July 14, 1946

This is the  Plaza Lawton aka Liwasang Bonifacio during the military troop review with the old flag pole . The old flag pole used to be located beside the building.

Liwasang Bonifacio and Manila Central Post Office in the 1950’s photo credit Mr. John Tewell

But this is just a story,  without any photos or person who would chronicle these auspicious occasion most of the stories are just a moment in passing.

photo from the personal collection of the author

Mrs. Corazon C. Aquino together with former President Diosdado Macapagal along with prominent opposition leaders held a rally within the flag pole on August 21, 1984 one year after the death of Senator Benigno Aquino.  In this photo : Senator  Lorenzo Tañada , Jovito Salonga, UP Dean Armando Malay and former President Diosdado Macapagal  Not seen anymore because they have already spoken were Jose Diokno, Ramon Mitra, Francisco Soc Rodrigo, Salvador Laurel, Student Leader Lean Alejandro.  Concerned Artists of the Philippines included among others Directors Lino Brocka and Behn Cervantes

current flag pole in front of Philippine Postal Corporation

From the time the historic building was built in 1926  countless of historical figure were able to visit the compound. But unlike the former location of the flag pole in the 1930’s . The present flag pole is located in the middle of the building.

flag raising ceremony held at the Philippine Postal Corporation flag pole

After more than 27 years,  President Benigno Simeon Aquino – the son of former President Corazon Cojuangco -Aquino visited the same flag pole and led the flag raising ceremony on the same spot where his mother and other opposition leaders stood the grounds and held a big rally which hundreds of thousand of people had witness .

Liwasang Bonifacio

This was the same plaza and the flag pole a few minutes after the flag raising activities .

References :

Bibliography : The Greatest Democracy Ever Told ” People Power by Kyodo Printing Company 1986 page 40 to 41

Lorenzo M. Tañada : website : http://www.lorenzomtanada.org/05tanada01.html

Wiki . iraia: http://wiki.iraia.net/mw/index.php?title=Decline_and_fall_of_the_Marcos_dictatorship

Paco Park centuries-old trees

Paco Park is a 4,114.80 square meter recreational garden area and was once Manila   municipal cemetery during the Spanish colonial period. It is located along General Luna St. and at the east end of Padre Faura street in Paco district  of the southern  part of Manila.

The park  was originally planned as a municipal cemetery of the rich and established aristocratic Spanish  families  who resided in the old Manila, or the city within the walls of Intramuros  during the Spanish colonial era.  Most of the wealthy families interred the remains of their loved ones inside the municipal cemetery in what was once the district of Dilao (former name for Paco). The cemetery was built in the late 1700s but was completed several decades later and in 1822.  The inner wall erected according to the plan of Maestro de Obras Nicolas Ruiz was originally constructed exclusively for the Iberian dead . The cemetery was used to inter victims of a cholera epidemic that swept across the city. The cemetery was enlarged in 1859.

The cemetery is circular in shape, with an inner circular fort that was the original cemetery and with the niches that were placed or located within the hollow walls. As the population continued to grow, a second outer wall was built with the thick adobe walls were hollowed as niches and the top of the walls were made into pathways for promenades. A Roman Catholic chapel was built inside the walls of the Paco Park and it was dedicated to Saint Pancratius.

Governor General  Ramon Solano was   interred at the chapel inside the Saint Pancratius .

Century-old acacia trees within Paco Park in Paco , Manila

Acacia ( Samanea saman) trees were planted in the park in the later half of the 19th century imported from South America were added in order to further beautify the park. These trees witness the interment of Dr. Jose Protacio Rizal y Realonda days after his execution at Bagumbayan ( Rizal Park). Relatives of Dr. Jose Rizal  purposely inverted his name to avoid the Spanish officials to detect  his whereabouts . 2 years later , his remains were exhumed and placed in an urn kept in his mother’s home in Calle Magdalena  Binondo.

inverted name of Jose P. Rizal inside the Paco Park

In 1912, burial or interment at the Paco Park ceased. It had been the burial ground for several generations and descendants of those who were buried in the park had the remains of their ancestors transferred. During the  outbreak of the second world war , Japanese forces used Paco Park as a central supply and ammunition depot. The high thick adobe walls around the park was ideal for defensive positions of the Japanese. The Japanese just before the liberation of Manila in 1945 , dug several trenches and pill boxes around and within the Park with three 75 millimeter guns to defend their fortification . The park was converted into a national park in 1965 during the term of President Diosdado Macapagal . Paco Park’s grandeur was slowly restored after the war and since then has remained as a public park and promenade for many teen age sweethearts who could spend quiet moments along the park’s benches and private alcoves.

Dendrobium orchids mounted on a live  tree

Paco Park and its care was placed under the responsibility of the National Park’s Development Committee (NPDC) during the regime of President Ferdinand E. Marcos , through the efforts of former First Lady Imelda R. Marcos, culture  and arts was given emphasis and priority in the country and Paco Park was one of the few venues chosen to host events related to culture. On February 29, 1980 , then Press and Cultural Attache of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in the Philippines, Dr. Christoph Jessen with then NPDC Vice-Chairperson Mr. Teodoro Valencia started a classical concert within Paco Park as part of the celebrations for the “Philippine-German Month,” and the program became a tradition, a weekly fare held every Friday afternoons and called the, “Paco Park Presents.”

native Dischidia ionantha drapped the trunks of this tree

Some of the historical trees were eventually toppled  down by  Bagyong Rosing (Typhoon Angela)in 1995 and Bagyong Milenyo ( Typhoon Xangsane) in 2006.

What remains of the old heritage trees inside the park needed rehabilitation.

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