Sunday, October 24, 2010

Old Manila, New Manila: Then and now in pictures

My uncle Erning, a doctor who's now retired and living in Kentucky, sent me an email with images of old Manila from the archives of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  I've seen my share of these images but somehow this newer set struck a chord inside me.  Strange that my octogenarian-uncle who last set foot on the Philippines about 40 years ago would be so inspired (or nostalgic) to send us, his Philippine- and Manila-based relatives, glimpses of what the city used to look like. In any case, I felt the urge to take a closer look at this city which I call home (and often overlook? take for granted? maybe both) and see what has changed maybe not for the better but transformed, nonetheless.  Save for the captions, I guess the images speak for themselves as to how far ahead (or behind, depending on whether you see the city as half-full or half-empty, single stepping-forward or double stepping-backwards) Manila has gone.  You, dear reader, be the judge.



Old Binondo
Binondo entrance from Jones Bridge • BEFORE: look Ma, no arch yet!

Escolta-Binondo Sweeper
Binondo-Escolta NOW: more wires, more billboards, more to sweep

Old Recto
Claro M. Recto • BEFORE: close to squeaky-clean and traffic-free

Recto 2010
PRESENT DAY Recto - perennial bottleneck!

Old Quiapo
Quiapo THEN: Unbelievably crowd-, vehicle- and vendor-free

Quiapo 2010
Quiapo NOW: Orderly chaotic (or chaotic yet orderly?)

Old Avenida II
Avenida THEN: crowded with people, not vehicles. Look Ma, no LRT in sight

Avenida 2010
Avenida NOW:  choked with jeepneys on weekdays, overshadowed by the LRT

Old Ayala Avenue
Ayala BEFORE: traffic?  What traffic?

Makati 2010
Ayala NOW: More buildings, more vehicles, more traffic

Lest you think I find Manila Claire Danes-ish grim, grimy and redolent (my choice of adjective) of roaches and unmentionables, I'll admit that inspite of the dirt, the traffic, the wayward jeeps and the recalcitrant cabbies, the often-too loud karaoke blares, the late trains and always-swerving buses, I find this city charming in all its quirks.  It's just that looking at these old images makes me think it's not surprising old-timers, with misty eyes and that faraway, dreamy look, will always have something wonderful to say about the Manila of bygone days.

Attribution: Images of old Manila are digital images from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries • New images are taken using Nokia N8 camphone, fine-tuned using CS3 • Lagal[og] thanks Nokia Philippines for arming me with the 12-megapixel N8.  I wouldn't otherwise shoot alone along Recto with my Nikon DSLR to get these snaps.
InFlight Manileño's Manila Post Card 
The labels and identification of the sites were done by the University of Wisconsin and were unchanged.

For more info on Manila's diverse sights and attractions, read these insights from Manila's top guides by following this link.

15 comments:

Filip Demuinck said...

Nice article, it is amazing how quickly a city changes

Nilo Manalo said...

Hindi ako makapaniwala na ang mga lumang larawan ay mula pa sa University of Wisoncsin.

Any idea kung anong taon ang mga ito?

Kung titingnan ko ang mga modelo ng sasakyan, masasabi kong yun Recto, Quiapo at Binondo ay around 50 to 60`s era.

Yun Ayala naman, mga 70`s era.

dong ho said...

even those times there were already signboards or letterings in manila. beautiful post bai.

but i always thought Ayala today is beautiful not until i saw the last photo in this post.

bertN said...

That section of Claro Recto in the third photo looked like Escolta of old. Thanks for sharing these photos - it reminded me of pleasant memories in the past.

witsandnuts said...

I've seen the old photos from other blogs but you've given it a better perspective by presenting the current photos/looks of these places. Great post!

Anonymous said...

nice post oggie! love pictures of then and now.

Andrea said...

I've seen this in older emails, i recall someone said everyone had shoes then, and that photo in Avenida looks like the people are all working, productive and clean. Your photos now seem more tamed than what these areas really look like. You should have put a photo when the streets are filled up with vendors of any kind, including the carts, etc.

lagalog said...

Thanks Filip, Nilo, Bert, WitsandNuts, Dom and Nids.

Bert, I also thought it was Escolta although I revisited the caption and it said Recto.

Nids, I just squeezed in this in between my work. I will not tempt fate and shoot alone in Recto, Quiapo and Avenida.

Eric said...

There is a video(youtube) about the Old Manila using that pictures that you posted...
According to the song of Asin: Hindi na Masama ang Pag-unlad Kung Hindi naman Nakakasira".

ivan man dy said...

I'm 200% sure that old photo or Recto is not of Recto but is the Escolta. The first building to the left is the Regina and the right is Perez-Samanillo.

Anonymous said...

and back in the days, people actually walk in the sidewalk!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Nice article

btw, change those captions to Escolta street and Sta.cruz church. not avenida and Quiapo Church

carlotta1924 said...

iba talaga ang ganda ng maynila noon. mas maganda at walang kasing linis. at kung mapapansin natin, yung mga taong tumatawid sa avenida lahat disente ang suot, walang naka-pambahay. :)

lagalog said...

Eric, thanks.

Anonymous and Ivan, I based the captions on the captions used by the owner of the images. I had this inkling that the photo was actually Escolta but I defer to the image owner/s.

Carlotta, oo nga. I think those years are from really an altogether era that will be hard to duplicate.

Claire said...

Wonderful post. This can be enlarged and made into an actual cultural exhibition or something! I wish the photos were dated... Clearly shows the price we pay for "progress."

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