A Walk through Quintin Paredes Street

I finally came to the end of my Manila photo-tour. I started the photo-tour at the Savory Restaurant then I walked Calle Escolta until its end at Santa Cruz Church. I then walked few meters southward to reach Lacson Plaza. Then I took shots of the Manila Central Post Office, which is connected to Lacson Plaza by the MacArthur Bridge. In the previous post, I crossed Pasig River using the Jones Bridge, which is just a short walk east of the post office building. My walk along Jones Bridge ended with this view:
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View of Quintin Paredes Street from Jones Bridge.


Savory Restaurant is located to the right. It is not shown on the photo.

This means that I already came full circle (360 degrees)! But my photo-tour doesn't end at Savory. Let us take the final walk along Quintin Paredes Street.

By the way, before we continue please take another look at the above photo. Can you see the weird dome that have a lightning rod? That dome always reminds me of the helmet of Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany.
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Map of Quintin Paredes Street
(Source: Google Maps)

Quintin Paredes Street stretches from the north end of Jones Bridge to Reina Regente Street. It is the road used by people who want to reach the Binondo Chinatown and Divisoria.
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Chinese - Filipino friendship arch along Quintin Paredes Street.


This is the Filipino – Chinese Friendship Arch. It marks the “boundary” of the Binondo District. To its left is the old but beautiful building occupied by Philtrust Bank.
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Chinese-designed arch along Quintin Paredes Street.


I always imagine this arch being manned by archers. I pretend to be rained with arrows while I cross Jones Bridge. But the pitiful bowmen are no match to my horde for they met their death when I reached their arch. Ha! (Ooops...I was carried away by daydreams (Ok back to the photo-tour)).

The arch is obviously part of the Chinese culture. This arch also serves as a mark to a heritage that took root in Binondo since the beginning of the Philippines. Chinese merchants had a flourishing trade with the Filipinos during the Spanish Colonial Period. Many of these merchants decided to settle down in Manila. The government authorities gave them the area on the north bank of Pasig River, which is now called as Binondo. Thus, Binondo became the center of Chinese culture in the Philippines.
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Quintin Paredes Street


Calle Rosario is the original name of this street. Quintin Paredes is a politician who became a representative of Abra, a Filipino resident commissioner in America during the American Colonial Period, solicitor general and Senate president after the Second World War.

Only few pre-World War 2 buildings remain along Quintin Paredes Street. Some were destroyed during the War. Others gave way to high rise buildings.
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Old building along Quintin Paredes Street


The beige-colored building in the photo is possibly a pre-World War 2 building. The columns at its front and some decorations belong to that period.

A lot of Chinese restaurants can be found along Quintin Paredes Street. The restaurant where I had eaten Hainan chicken can be found along this street.
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Quintin Paredes Street


Quintin Paredes Street is the direct way to Binondo Church.
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Binondo Church at the intersection of Ongpin Street and Quintin Paredes Street.


The intersection of this street with Ongpin Street is marked by this monument:
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Roman Ongpin statue along Quintin Paredes Street.


That monument was erected in honor of Roman Ongpin.
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Statue of Roman Ongpin along Quintin Paredes Street.


Roman Ongpin was an official during the Spanish Colonial Period with the title, Teniente Primero de Mestizos. He caught the ire of the colonial government when he collaborated with the Propaganda Movement and joined the rebellion against the Spanish government.

Ongpin Street, which passes through the center of Binondo Chinatown, is also named in his honor.
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Ongpin Street
Ongpin Street

That ends my Manila photo-tour. I will continue my photo-tour when I return home from Thailand. I will try to capture the scenes of Ongpin Street and other areas of historical Manila. But if you really want to see a piece of Ongpin Street please read my post about Chinese New Year in Binondo Chinatown. Please click on this link to read my other posts about Manila.

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Information about Quintin Paredes was obtained from the Office of the Solicitor General website.

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"Photo-tour" along Jones Bridge

Binondo Chinatown is a district in Manila that was important to the Spanish Colonial Government. Chinese businesses and trade were located in Binondo Chinatown. The old ports of Manila North Harbor and District of Tondo were likewise connected to Binondo. Because of this, the colonial government established a bridge that spanned the Pasig River to connect Intramuros and Binondo. That bridge was named as Puente Grande and then renamed as Puente de España.

Unfortunately, Puente de España was damaged during the floods that occurred on September 1914. The burden of replacing the damaged bridge fell into the hands of the American Colonial Government. The American authorities commissioned Juan Arellano, who was also the designer of the Manila Central Post Office, to design a new bridge which will be placed one block downriver from the original location of Puente de España.

Jones Bridge suffered the same fate of the Manila Central Post Office. Bombs damaged the bridge during the Second World War.
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Jones Bridge
Jones Bridge

It was said the Jones Bridge was Juan Arellano's masterpiece. It was an arch bridge with ornate designs following the neoclassical style of architecture. The entrance to bridge has pillars with statues at the top.

The entrance to Jones Bridge is now occupied by lion statues.
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The Chinese lion of Jones Bridge

The lion statues of Jones bridge is a pair. One is a male and the other a female. This one, located on the west side of the bridge, is a male lion statue. I know its "sex" because the male organ was present. The same goes for the Chinese lioness statue located on the east side of the bridge.

The remaining part of the bridge is bare. It seems like that the Philippine government didn't have funds to return Jones Bridge to its former glory. That is understandable. The Philippines is still reeling from the destruction brought by the War.
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Pasig River and MacArthur Bridge as viewed from Jones Bridge.
Pasig River and MacArthur Bridge as viewed from Jones Bridge.

I always wonder who this Jones is whenever I pass along this bridge. Sometimes I think that this bridge was named after Tom Jones, who is very popular in the Philippines due to his “Sex Bomb” song.

Alas, I was wrong. Jones Bridge was named after Virginia Rep. William Jones. He was the author of the Philippine Autonomy Act of 1916.
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The area of Calle Escolta as viewed from Jones Bridge
The area of Calle Escolta.

Jones Bridge is the best way to reach Binondo Chinatown and Divisoria. Vehicles filled with goods always pass by this bridge. This bridge is also not spared of the traffic, especially during the rush hours.
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Entrance to Binondo as seen from Jones Bridge.
The entrance to Binondo District. Can you see the Filipino - Chinese  Friendship Arch?

Its been a long time since I passed through this bridge. I am missing this place now especially the sunset:
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Stunning Manila sunset as seen from Jones Bridge

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Historical information for this post came from Jones Bridge article in Wikipedia.

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Have you experienced passing through Jones Bridge? Or do you know some historical tidbit about it? Share your experiences and information with us by leaving a comment on the combox below.

Manila Central Post Office

Standing on the southern bank of the Pasig River is a building popular as location for the local movies. I actually saw this building in “Praybeyt Benjamin” of Vice Ganda and another movie, which starred Bea Alonzo. Its columns is very impressive to look at that's why directors and producers like this building.

I am, of course, talking about the Manila Central Post Office.
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Manila Central Post Office as viewed from Liwasang Bonifacio.


The Manila Central Post Office is my most favorite building in Manila. The neoclassical artchitectural style of this building reminds me of old Greece.
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Front view of Manila Central Post Office.
The Philippine flag is on half-mast during Sec. Robredo's wake.

The post office building was located between Jones and MacArthur bridges. Locate in front of it is the Liwasang Bonifacio, which contains a unique statue of Andres Bonifacio.
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Statue of Andres Bonifacio with Manila Central Post Office at the background.


This statue is unique because Andres Bonifacio is not holding any bolo. He is standing as if he is posing for a photo with the Manila Central Post Office as the background.
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Facade and columns of Manila Central Post Office.


What I like with classical buildings is the presence of tiny details. An example would be the “gargoyle heads” located on the buildings facade. You can see those heads on the photo above. The heads are brown-colored “dots” located above the columns.

Buildings designed before the Second World War are beautiful because the architects are concerned about the minor details. The gargoyle heads on the facade of the Manila Central Post Office are small and unnecessary. These will look invisible to many people going in and out of the post office building. Despite of that, the architect still included it in his design.
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Hallway of Manila Central Post Office.


The Manila Central Post Office was erected in the year 1926. The original building was designed by Juan Arellano. Unfortunately, this building was destroyed during the “Liberation of Manila” at the end of the Second World War. Ironically, it is the Americans (the so-called liberators) who did the most damage in Manila at the end of the War. Their bombs destroyed most of the pre-War buildings including the post office building.
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Damaged Manila Central Post Office building after the World War 2 as viewed from Jones Bridge.
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

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Damaged Manila Central Post Office as viewed from MacArthur Bridge.
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

These photos were taken after the Liberation of Manila (1945) by Private Glenn Eve of the US Military. You can visit this site to see other post-World War 2 photos of the Manila Central Post Office.

The Philippine Government rebuilt the post office building. The original design of the building was followed but some people say that the current post office building is a far cry from the design of Juan Arellano.
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The Postman in front of Manila Central Post Office.


The Postman is located right in front of the Manila Central Post Office building. This statue was erected in 1975 in honor of the employees of the Philippine Postal Service. The Postman serves as a symbol of service excellence that touched the lives of people across the country and around the whole world.
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Another view of The Post in front of Manila Central Post Office.


The central post office building now serves as the main office of Philippine Postal Corporation (PhilPost). This is where posts around the world are sorted before being sent to their respective destinations within the country. I am glad that our postal service is still alive in spite of being labeled as “snail mail”. The Manila Central Post Office building will continue to be maintained while PhilPost is alive.
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Front street of Manila Central Post Office.

P.S. Do you want to see what's inside the Manila Central Post Office? This music video features the post office building:



Beautiful video and music. :-) Thank you for pointing me to this video TinTin Sison.

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Do you experienced sending mail at the Manila Central Post Office? Or did you already visited their impressive neo-classical building? Tell us about your experience by leaving a comment on the combox below.

The Rich History of Lacson Plaza

Connected to Kalye Escolta is another place which was a prominent commercial area in the early 20th Century. This place is now known as Lacson Plaza in honor of the Arsenio Lacson, who was the first elected mayor of Manila. Prior to 1952, mayors of Manila were appointed by the national government. This was changed to allow Manileños to vote the leaders that they wanted.
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Lacson Plaza as viewed from LRT-Carriedo Station.
Lacson Plaza as viewed from LRT-Carriedo Station.

Manileños wanted Arsenio Lacson so they chose him over the Malacañang-backed incumbent Mayor Manuel de la Fuente. Some say that Lacson is the best mayor that Manila ever had. He is known in removing around 600 corrupt or incompetent employees and policemen as part of reducing graft and corruption. Mayor Lacson is so popular that, aside from this plaza, a street beside University of Santo Tomas and the underpass beside Quiapo Church bear his name.
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Statue of Arsenio Lacson
Arsenio Lacson...and Derek Ramsey's ex-girlfriend is hogging the limelight.

The shades made me thought that this is a statue of General Douglas MacArthur. This plaza is connected to MacArthur Bridge, which somehow validated that I was correct. Now I know that I was wrong.
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MacArthur Bridge - the connection between Lawton and Lacson Plaza.
MacArthur Bridge.

Located around this statue are big buildings, which echo the commercial significance of the area in the past. Señor Enrique wrote in his blog that Plaza Lacson is the place where Adamson University was established in 1932 and was originally called as the Adamson School of Industrial Chemistry. The school was re-opened along San Marcelino Street in Ermita after the Second World War and then was given to the Vincentian Fathers, which made the university as a Catholic institution.

The FEATI University is another academic institution in the area. This university was popular in producing engineers and technical experts. Its building is located behind the now-abandoned building of Plaza Fair.
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Lacson Plaza
Lacson Plaza with LRT-Carriedo Station at the background.

The brisk business around Lacson Plaza in the early 20th Century was replaced by commercial inactivity. Plaza Fair has shut down. Isetann only operates the ground floor as department store and the basement as grocery. The original store of Henry Sy's Shoe Mart (SM) along Carriedo Street became an obscure SM outlet. PhilTrust Bank located behind Arsenio Lacson's statue is one of the two banks still operating around Lacson Plaza.

Another bank located at the plaza is located in this building with a beautiful facade:
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Roman Santos building at Lacson Plaza.


This building is the Roman Santos building, which was the original headquarters of the now defunct Prudential Bank. The building is now occupied by the Bank of the Philippines Islands (BPI). Another Prudential Bank structure, located along España Boulevard, was now also occupied by BPI. This means that BPI already acquired Prudential Bank.

I always admire the Greco-Roman facade of this building whenever I pass by Lacson Plaza.
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Facade of Roman Santos building at Lacson Park


The plaza already exists since the Spanish Colonial Era. Its former name was Plaza Goiti, in honor of the Spanish conquistador Martin de Goiti who captured Manila after defeating the allied forces of Rajah Sulaiman, Rajah Matanda and Rajah Lakandula. De Goiti was an able Spanish commander since he was able to defeat the numerically superior forces of the tribal leaders with just 300 Spanish soldiers. The Spanish commander founded other settlements in other parts of Luzon. The king of Spain bestowed Laguna as his encomienda as the reward for his exploits. This tidbit is now the basis for the founding date of the province of La Laguna.

De Goiti met his death in the hands of Limahong and his 3,000 Chinese pirates. The pirates sacked Manila and captured many villages outside of Fuerza de Santiago (Fort Santiago). The Spaniards, coming from Cebu and Vigan, avenged De Goiti by defeating the pirates at Pangasinan.

The name Plaza Goiti means that the area of Lacson Plaza is already an important place even during the Spanish Colonial Era. I think that this plaza is a link between the Spanish settlement within Intramuros and the Chinese businesses located in Binondo Chinatown.
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Lacson Plaza with Santa Cruz Church at the background.

Lacson Plaza is another place in Manila that is rich in history. Sadly, just like Calle Escolta, this place became “dead” business-wise because it was obscured by the business districts of Makati and Taguig. This place is also “dead”, like many parts of Manila, due to neglect.

Santa Cruz Church is the only structure that, I think, is very alive in this area. Many people, especially the employees of nearby establishments, flock to this church in the morning and late afternoon (before and after the work hours).

Plaza Goiti of the past was changed to become Lacson Plaza of today. What will this place look like 50 years or so in the future? I hope that this place change for the better.

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The sources of information for this blog post are:

1. Wish You were Here blog of Señor Enrique.
2. Filipino eScribbles blog of Pepe Alas
3. Martin de Goiti article in Wikipedia
4. Arsenio Lacson article in Wikipedia

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Have you been to Lacson Plaza? What was your experience? Please let us know by leaving a comment in the combox below.

The Old Buildings of Escolta, Manila

I am always awed by the old buildings whenever I pass through Escolta in Manila. The whole stretch of this street, from the east end of Jones Bridge to Santa Cruz Church, is flanked by buildings that have decorations that hint of early 20th Century architecture.

The old buildings of Escolta Street (Calle or Kalye Escolta) made think that it is a prominent place in the past. The image below, taken in the 1960s, says that I was not wrong.
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Photo of Kalye Escolta in the '60s.
(Source: UWM Libraries Digital Collections)

Dennis Villegas said that Kalye Escolta is the shopping center of the rich and families during the age of early 20th Century. Kalye Escolta had plenty of luxurious shops. This street also witnessed many “firsts”. Mr. Villegas said that it is in Kalye Escolta where the first ice cream parlor was established (Clarke's Ice Cream), the first cinema house was opened (Cinematografo), and the first trambiya (electric cable car) was installed.

The prominence of the Old Kalye Escolta is now gone. Only the old buildings remained to remind us of the old days.

Let us start our “photo-tour” from the east end of the Jones Bridge. The most conspicuous building at this end of Kalye Escolta is the old structure of Savory.
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Savory Restaurant located along Kalye Escolta.


This building is the original restaurant of Savory. An officemate said that the other Savory restaurants located in the malls and other places are owned by the siblings of the owner of this Savory Restaurant. 
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Universidad de Manila located along Kalye Escolta.


The grey building on the left is the dilapidated building of Universidad de Manila. I believe that this building is already dangerous for the students and teachers of the university. The building will easily collapse when an earthquake occurs.
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Syvel's Building located along Kalye Escolta.


Syvel's Building located at the right side of the photo is also another hazard. Last year, every morning, I see many old people lining up beside this building. They were waiting for the opening of the Ceragem Office located on the other side of Kalye Escolta. Ceragem offered free use of their products.

The buildings on the left side are few of the remaining American Era buildings that are in good condition. The dome of Santa Cruz Church can be seen on the background.

Walking further, we will see this white building which is obviously an American Era building.
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Regina Building located along Kalye Escolta.


This building is the Regina Building which is rented by PLDT, JRS, DHL, Union Bank and a barbershop on the ground floor.
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Front of Regina Building located along Kalye Escolta.


This is the front side of Regina Building. The photo also shows the condominium building that is currently under construction. I think that the old buildings of Kalye Escolta will give way to condominiums, like what is happening now along Ongpin in Binondo Chinatown.
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Dirty creek along Kalye Escolta.


Kalye Escolta crosses this dirty creek. Garbage is usually present on this creek, which is the usual case for creeks of Manila. Located beside the creek is a marker erected by the National Historical Institute.
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NHI Marker located along Kalye Escolta.


The marker speaks about the Patricio Mariano who is a poet, novelist and journalist. He was an adviser of the first president of the Philippines, Emilio Aguinaldo. I wonder what will Patricio Mariano think if he discovered that his marker is located beside a dirty creek.
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Santa Cruz Church is the end Kalye Escolta.
Santa Cruz Church

Kalye Escolta ends at Santa Cruz Church.

Looking at the old photo of Kalye Escolta makes me wonder what happened to Manila? Why did the splendor of Old Manila replaced by its poor condition, which is now the subject of mockery of foreigners? I wish to see Manila to return to its former beauty.

Photographs in PICC

Months ago, I attended a convention conducted inside the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC). It was the first time that I entered the country's largest convention center, which was built by the Central Bank 1n the 1970's.
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The PICC Building
The Philippine International Convention Center.

There are some interesting things located at the front of the PICC. One of these is this sculpture of the unborn.
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Sculpture of the unborn in PICC

I like this sculpture, simply because I am active in the pro-life advocacy. :-)

Another one, located near the entrance is this “bell tower”:
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"Bell tower" located in front of the PICC building.

The lobby of the PICC is very big! It is like a spacious cave. Hanging from the ceiling are the stick-like lights, which might be thought of as a well-arranged stalactites.
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Hanging lights inside the PICC lobby.

A mural located on the second floor caught my attention.
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Mural inside PICC.

A closer look gave me the idea that...
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Battle of Mactan mural in PICC

...the mural depicts the Battle of Mactan, wherein a native tribal leader defeated Spanish conquerors led by Magellan.

There are many paintings posted on the walls of PICC. This caught my attention while I am on my way to the convention hall:
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Painting of the Santo Nino inside PICC

It is a painting of a face that have a drawing of people and writings on it. I read “ihanda na luhuran” (prepare the kneeler), “ala sais” (6 o'clock), and “sindihan na kandila” (light the candle). I realized then that the face looks like the face of the Sto. Niño.

The painting made me wonder. What does the painter want to convey? Is he depicting the devotion to the Sto. Niño in a negative sense?

The PICC is really made for conventions, seminars and big meetings so I didn't expect to see many interesting things in this place. It is a big place but dimly lighted. I can now say that I entered the PICC.