Notes and Notices

On art, architecture and design


Manila then and now

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

Famed Manila tour guide, artist and provocateur Carlos Celdran once commented to me that Manila is "sincere and it's real. It's not the most gorgeous city in the world. World War II, poverty and mass commercialization have eroded much of it's charm. But the city is very open. Love it or leave it. Manila won't give you an apology. It's appeal isn't easily revealed but if you can't find beauty and poetry here, you won't find it anywhere."

It's hard for me to imagine a Manila that is the Pearl of the Pacific. All I saw of Manila was its grunginess, its dirt, the consequences of something as far removed from my lifetime as World War II. This Google Cultural Institute tour does a lot to remind me that this city that I've called home for three decades once held so much beauty and promise--and it can once again be that. Its photos capture more of the city's lost legacy of grand architecture than words can. So, in anticipation of the Philippines' "Independence Day" from the Americans this July 4th, here's a good overview of Manila way back when and now.

 Google Institute Tour of Manila


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