Living The Good Life Blog

Manila Day Jun. 24, 2013

Let’s go back in time as we commemorate the 442nd Manila Day.

Plaza Calderon

Plaza Calderon de la Barca was Plaza de Binondo then Plaza Carlos IV before it was named after the Spanish playwright. Today it is the Plaza Lorenzo Ruiz, after the first Filipino saint whose statue stands on the plaza. Before Lorenzo Ruiz stood sentry, the Plaza was a quiet memorial to the heroes and civilians who fell during the Second World War. 

Teodoro Agoncillo, foremost historian, described Plaza Calderon de la Barca as "one of the most impressive open spaces of old Manila." Majestic trees surrounded the plaza that also featured beautifully landscaped fountains on either end. Mansions and large establishments surrounded the plaza, on whose principal side was Binondo church and Hotel Oriente, one of the best hotels in Asia and the La Insular Cigar Factory.

Uy Chaco Building

The Uy Chaco Building, one of the first high rise buildings during the Spanish times is still standing at the center of Rosario street (now Quintin Paredes Street) and Plaza Cervantes.

Uy Chaco, a hardware company was set up by Mariano Uy Chaco, who made his fortune supplying the Spanish colonial government. When the Americans arrived, Mariano's son, Uy Vet, led the firm in a new direction by becoming the local distributor or American-made tools and hardware. 

The Uy Chaco building was built in the 1920s, designed in by Andres Luna de San Pedro, son of Juan Luna. It soon became the district's most distinct landmark after the Binondo Church.

Binondo Canal

The Binondo canal in Manila’s Chinatown was crowded with cascos and Chinese dockworkers. 

Binondo was the center of trade and commerce because of its strategic location at the center of two estuaries - Estero dela Reina and Estero de Binondo. Because the Pasig River directly feeds into these esteros, bancas and cascos can easily bring their goods along this route. 

Rosario Street

The junction of Escolta and Rosario streets in Binondo, 1890.

The streets of Binondo bear witness to the glorification of Spain and Christianity. Only in Binondo can one find streets named after the Virgin Mary, priests, saints and governors-general -- emphasizing the importance of Binondo in the Hispanization and Christianization of the Philippines.

Rosario (named after the Holy Rosary), otherwise known as Chinatown's "Wall Street," was lined with prestigious banks, investment houses, stationery wholesalers, and insurance firms.  


The cobblestone street of Escolta, Manila, 1898.

Running parallel to the Pasig River, Escolta was once Manila's premier commercial location. It is the street boasting of many firsts - the first ice cream parlor in the country (Clarke's), the first elevator (at Burke Building) and the first National Bookstore branch.


Wasn't that a nice walk through time? How do you remember Manila?

Head on over to the Ground FLoor of Lucky Chinatown to learn and see more of Old Manila. Happy Manila Day!

Carpe Diem, loves.





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