Total Pageviews

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Walk with Chan: ESCOLTA- queen of Manila's Streets

Escolta- the oldest business district of Manila, a congested narrow thoroughfare
five blocks long parallels manila  between plaza Moraga and plaza goiti.
Real  Manila cant be found in Eastwood Libis, BGC , Ayala Center, or the big malls
that dot the metropolis, just as Manila, the capital, cannot be compressed along
Dewey Boulevard and its fancy hotels and restaurants.

Today, Lets talk about the Queen of Manila Streets, ESCOLTA.

my parents remembered Escolta is for the rich back in their childhood days.
its postwar Escolta, my grandparents will bring them there to see firsthand
imported goods never seen in any part of Manila, no big Malls yet.
the trade and commercial area of Escolta where largely affected when Ayala
started courting big businesses to migrate and transfer to Makati then
Ortigas and the birth of the SM Malls. this nearly killed the big businesses
and the elite society tranfered from Escolta to Makati and left Escolta St.
silent at night.

I never spent my childhood days at Escolta. (there was No chance)my childhood
memories are in the carwash apartments in D. Aquino Caloocan City and roaming
the street of Grace Park. the sparetime were spent with my father delivering hankies to
stalls and stores in Divisoria.

designed by  Fernando H. Ocampo, this  is a historic building along Escolta corner Soda Streets, Built in 1938, another example of a good  beaux-arts architecture.  home of the radio station DZBB-AM before moving to its present location it now houses the Escolta Museum which contains memorabilia from the past.

if not for the tours from Lawrence Chan's Royal Postage Heritage tours
where I met friends from the Heritage Conservation Society-Youth. I wont have
the chance to appreciate the Queen's beauty.
 Roman R Santos Building 

 Neoclassical building Roman R Santos Building 
The Capitol Theater is an Art deco theater in Manila, Philippines. It was built during the 1930s along Escolta Street, part of the city's primary commercial district, together with the Lyric Theater. It was designed with a double-balcony by National Artist Juan Nakpil and was considered a rare feat during that era. photo from kwentongescolta.wordpress
After the Battle of Manila, the city lay in ruins. Escolta was a pile of rubble. So many beautiful buildings were
destroyed including the Crystal Arcade and across the street was the Estrella del Norte at #46, now completely demolished

Escolta the art deco street is slowly on decline due to the present of  the super malls.
Worth visiting to search for its american era glory. once comparable to the
for- the- rich malls in Ayala , Eastwood, ResortsWorld, Rockwell and the BGC, its now
"forgotten" and many buildings are UHMMMM  gone, converted, or demolished.
pics taken insie Calvo Bldg Museum

Old Escolta, Pics from the Calvo Bldg Museum

Here in Escolta, you will see several art deco landscapes that were built during the
American  occupation.. This historic street became the central business
district of  the the nation  which  dates back to the Spanish period.

During the final years of the Spanish Occupation, Escolta Street had the reputation for
being the best of the trade districts in Binondo, Manila, the originally Chinese merchant
district in the capital. Escolta is famous for having the downtown office of the Manila
Times located there.

I joined not one but around 7 of the free heritage tours hosted by my friend Lawrence,
and got a great chance of meeting  new friends, the youths of HCS. -the new generation
of heritage fighters for heritage conservation.

This street is one of the oldest in Manila–it’s been around since a  few hundred years
ago during the Spanish times, a riverside commercial district. where goods are directly
bought from the trade routes from the Pasig river to this stretch of road. it has its glory
days during the American rule where most of Escolta where redeveloped and rebuilt.
before and after the war. it has its glorious wonder years and has reached its peak
before the 1960s.

After the 1960s, it had begun to lose its class, when other commercial districts
like Makati started courting businessmen and tenants there and charmed business
their way.

Escolta was no longer the high street that it was before and when more and more
offices left , a lot of those businesses did close shop. and whats left was
a dark abandoned business district left with some shops that constantly looked
on the brink of closing.

I recently participated a few months ago to a successful event of HCS-Y called
#selfiEscolta, there you will have the chance to meet new people discover
places you never thought existed in Escolta. little details to appreciate,
and love.
el hogar

Regina Building north façade 

 First built in 1739, it survived World War II and has gone major remodeling since Named after philanthropist, William J. Burke, the building is also known as the location of the first elevator in Manila

Walking by Escolta, you’ll see that the street holds many architectural gems.



in Escolta you'll find happiness appreciation, beauty, and also
sadness, ignored structures, like the Capitol Theater , the old and decaying
Syvel’s building, the now shuttered  old PNB Building

Built in 1934, this four-storey building was designed in the neo-classical style by Andres Luna de San Pedro.  on the other side you will see the Natividad Bldg. beaux arts style building that housed the Insurance Commission in the 1950s

Looking west down Escolta Street 

The Regina Building is one of the prettiest structures built by Andres Luna (1915)
and later by Fernando Ocampo.

One of the few surviving examples of art deco architecture in Manila, it was the tallest building in Manila at the time of its completion in 1928. Designed by Andres Luna de San Pedro, the building is now known as First United Building.

Once housed the Philippine Insurance Commission.  During World War II, the building was spared from destruction albeit suffered some damages

Natividad Building now called the TEOFF Center, is newly refurbished. Designed by Philippine-born Spanish architect Fernando de la Cantera Blondeau, it is an outstanding example of beaux-arts architecture

To find another reason to go back to Escolta, drop by First United Building
on the Saturday after the 15th of the month to find Future Market, a bazaar
organized by 98B.

in the future Market, you will see a gathering of  artists who sell their works,
pretty good looking artist! they sell their crafts and other stuffs. on Saturday,
by Schedule , with over 50 stalls beside the First United Bldg
the shoppers come, and Escolta turns into a lively shopping spot once more
at least for one day. last one is held Oct 19.

With the efforts of the Heritage conservation Society Youth, Escolta began
a new  life, a new reincarnated Escolta will begin.

Stephen John PamoradaKat CandelariaJericho CarrilloPia BenosaAberon Voltaire PalañaPrinceton HuangJR FelipeMel GabuyaClara BuenconsejoLem Leal Santiago andDennis Dy Ko at Escolta, Manila.
as I tour Manila by foot, I saw a gradually crumbling, decaying capital. I know everything is worsening and not improving. selfishness and lack discipline would only make thing worse for Manila heartbroken, Yes, this is the heart of Manila now, but I’m screaming inside as I tell myself this is not the Manila of my parent's  memories. if this decaying and demolition of key heritage structures doesnt stop. 
our children will only go to boring boxed malls for the gangster word "tambay" and the newly built boring boxed  buildings? I doubt if it will last half a decade before it starts going to the ground and be rebuilt again.

This is your LOVERBOY Dennis signing out.
Please Love our Heritage. let us show it to the future generations.


  1. Hope I can join another #SelfieEscolta

  2. I hope there will be another #selfiEscolta. there is an Escolta tour organized by an fb group called "memories of old Manila" next yr Jan 25