Manila is said to be one of the finest, one of the most beautiful Cities in Asia during 1950’s. Considered as one the best place for Tourism during the 50-‘s and 60’s. But after those years, what happened?
I know that most of you are not yet born during these years, or maybe, you’re one of the cute babies of the 50’s. Kapag galing ka sa probinsya, o yung tinatawag nilang “syana” or “syano”, maganda ang Maynila ngayon, yan ang lagi nilang sinasabi. Maraming magagarang sasakyan, matataas na gusali, maiilaw na lugar, malalawak na pamilihan. True. Really. But if you will ask our Lolos and Lola, Mom and Dad, and even other nationalities who visited Manila before, they will say that Manila is a lot better in 1950’s. Ganon?! How come? There were no huge shopping centers back then. Ali Mall was built only in 1976. (Ali Mall is the very first major shopping center in the Philippines from by the way after Muhammed Ali’s boxing victory). No bars or disco house that are fully air-conditioned. No MRT or LRT for easier transportation. And so I got curious. I did some research and proofs came out easily. Tama sila pareho. Maganda ang Manila ngayon. Pero MAS nakakaanyaya ang kapaligiran noon.
Bata pa lang ako, pingarap ko na ang makapagtrabaho sa Manila, particularly in Makati. And it came true. Pero mas maganda palang pangarapin ang Maynila noon. Simple at payak ang pamumuhay ng mga tao. Sayang, hindi na natin ito kailanman makikita.
Mapalad ang mga taong nakaranas ng ganito kagandang Maynila…
Old Manila is just now inside the box of beautiful memories...
Can you recognize the cars? Chevy Bel-air 1958, Simca 1961-62s, Toyopet 1960s, VW Beetle 1960's, early 1960's Mercedez Benz 220... Take note, naka sapatos ang mga tao, walang naka tsinelas kahit sa Avenida. It's clean and the people are very disciplined.
There were no Metro Aides, Bayani Fernando Cleaners, and stores cleaned their areas. Pedestrians were also very disciplined. Very little “hukays” and manholes were clean and were clearly visible to pedestrians. People were so disciplined. Take a look at the Pedxings. The streets were shiny, much like the streets of Singapore now.
LYRIC Theatre (in the photo below), IDEAL, STATE, ODEON were the best theatres. Environment inside and outside...absolutely clean. There were no double parking allowed and drivers followed. Streets didn’t have 2 policemen and 4 Traffic Aides for each corner. You’d be safe even if you held a clutch bag while shopping. Manholes were covered well and during those days, I remember them....as clean and polished, much like those you’d see in Champ Elysee’. We could beat Paris. Ang ganda ng bayan natin noon.
Dencia’s was famous for Pansit Mami, much like Mamonluk or Ricebowl. P1.50 ang Mami, 10 sentimo ang Coca-Cola. 5 centimo ang sarsaparilla. This was very near Villalobos and Carriedo. Look at the jeepneys. They were not overloaded.
Pasig was very clean. The photographer must have taken this photo (below) October to December timeframe. But Pasig, during summer would have beautiful water lilies, tiny Quiapo’s floating amidst white, yellow and purple water lilies that I remember. Water from our rich and abundant rivers were emerald green and blue. Napakalinis and walang amoy
Manila was just a beautiful place.
Avenida Rizal was a treat to everyone. There were no prostitutes nor body-brokers. Avenida was not a fickle place. It was not a “now a bistro boulevard, tomorrow a street; now a tiangge or night market and tomorrow a bistro boulevard”. It was a simple avenida where everyone enjoyed to see what was “now showing”, what movie was “extended showing”, and if Otis or Good Earth had a big sale. It was just a big clean place.
Ayala Avenue was just like Wilshire Boulevard. Clean and no pollution. You can walk and enjoy the sun. Napakalinis. Walang masyadong trash bins pero walang basura sa paligid.
Even Parks like Fort Santiago was much better. No vendors, no cafe’s. There was not even an ATM machine. Malinis ang paligid.
Here's Manila Cathedral when the photo was taken in 1968.
Aerial view of Manila - Port Area. One thing you'll notice in these photos is the lack of garbage on the streets. Also, there's no road construction. Just look at the quality of the roads, it's all flat and concrete. Not even a crack or broken sidewalks.
Manila - Port area with view of the Pasig River.
Pasig river when it was the heart of the city for trade and transportation. Look, no trash!
Downtown Manila. I remember we used to have windows like these where I used to live.
Calesas before it was replaced by pedicabs. I'm not sure where this is but it looks like somewhere in Binondo.
Sidewalks were not extended to suit the pedestrians. Quiapo Church was a blessed monument. Nagbibigayan ang mga drivers. Bihira ang nag-gigitgitan.
If you’d take an L5 plane or a Piper Cab and take pictures of Dewey Boulevard (now Roxas Boulevard) from above, you’d be so proud to say, that the place is much better than Cote’d Azure. Environment was just so very clean, air was refreshing, and take a look at the sea....wasn’t that a gift given to us during those days?!
And finally, Rizal Memorial Park. People actually go out to enjoy the sun because it was cooler back then. Sa iba, corny ang bumisita sa Luneta. Pero sa mga nakakaraang henerasyon, kayamanan na ang makarating sa nag iisang Rizal Park sa buong mundo...
I don't own any of these photos, since I am kid of the 80's :D But thanks to those who captured these memories. I envy them... really...
You can see other pictures at: