Saturday, November 24, 2007


The Museo ng Maynila is housed inside the former Army and Navy Club building on the South Boulevard near the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta.

A brainchild of Manila Mayor Alfredo S. Lim, the museum's purpose is to create a center that promotes heritage consciousness for all Manilenyos, as well as serve as a repository for historical and cultural documents.

Manila's Army and Navy Club, on the other hand, was founded in 1898 and built on its present site in 1902 as part of architect Daniel Burnhams' urban plan in Manila. Its purpose was to provide a club for the American military officials stationed or visiting the Philippines; Admiral George Dewey was its first president. However, it wasn't without its own share of controversy.

An article in Time's October 10, 1927 issue revealed that the rangy, steel-grey, 52-year-old junior Senator from Connecticut, Hiram Bingham, claimed: " "I am, I believe, the only American representative of government who has ever refused to enter the doors of the Army & Navy Club in Manila."

The senator went on to say that when he was invited as guest of honor to a banquet in the Army & Navy Club of Manila, he had asked whether outstanding native politicians, such as President Manuel Quezon of the Philipine Senate or Senator Sergio Osmena, independence leader, would be present.

"Certainly not," snorted the Army & Navy Club of Manila, and proceeded to instruct the senator that no Filipinos (except, of course, servants) were admitted within the doors of the Army & Navy Club of Manila.

"Then I am sorry, gentlemen," replied the senator, "but I shall not be able to accept your invitation."

Supposedly, it wasn't until the time of the late President Marcos when the Filipinos were finally allowed entry into the club. In 1976, General E.V. Meim, PC, AFP was elected its president.

Currently, the Museo ng Maynila hosts an exhibition of late 19th and 20th Century picture postcards of the Philippines taken during the American colonial period. These photographs are regarded as valuable historical documents that reveal continuities and disjunctions in the archipelago's post-colonial experiences. These images captured scenes of Manila's streets, parks, churches, hotels, office buildings, school and universities; some still exist to date.

The photographs are from the Curt Teich Postcards Archives which have been donated to the Museo ng Maynila. These rare images of Manila have never been exhibited nor published in the Philippines.

The exhibition will be on display until December 28, 2007 and can be viewed every Monday to Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Museo ng Maynila
South Boulevard, Ermita, Manila 1000
Telephone: 405-0135
Ma. Monina Santiago, Officer-In-Charge


posted by Señor Enrique at 9:41 AM


Anonymous rhodora said...

Hurray for Mr. Bingham! :)

November 24, 2007 11:18 AM  

Blogger mimi said...

meron palang museo ng maynila..

ganda ng building!

November 24, 2007 11:19 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

We've had it for quite some time but it was closed during the Atienza administration. Mayor Lim recently reopened it. Mimi.

The current photo exhibition is worth checking out :)

November 24, 2007 11:47 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

And while we're at it ... hurray for Marcos, too, right, Rhoda? :)

November 24, 2007 12:49 PM  

Blogger joe said... this the place? Can't wait for Bill's photos being preserved and displayed here if ever. Whew a lot of history pala here. Well... soon we can set our feet on this hallowed ground. Thanks to Mayor A. Lim. Much obliged Eric.

November 24, 2007 2:29 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Either the Museo ng Maynila or Manila Center for the Arts, Joe :) Will email you details.

Many thanks again!

November 24, 2007 2:56 PM  

Blogger F. San Roque said...

Actually, Hiram Bingham was born on the island of O'ahu in Hawai'i, also known as The Sandwich Isles, to missionary parents. He later went on to have an academic career before becoming a politician. His claim to fame was his discovery of the ancient Inca settlement of Machu Picchu in Peru.

November 25, 2007 12:33 AM  

Anonymous cacofonix said...

'lovin' the colonial style architecture of the museo - *sigh,* i wish i could own a similarly-styled house (eclectic, with a mix of cultural, progressive historical and modern influences - samahan na natin ng fountain-bearing stone courtyard sa gitna) someday in the heart of somewhere close to Manila. pagdating ng araw, Senor Eric, when I grow up, kahit maputi na ang buhok ko at uugud-ugod na bago mapag-ipunan....he he. wag naman sana..:).

buset talaga ang bigotry, it's probably my extra-sensitive ego, but overt bigotry makes me itch all over (literally) out of frustration. but hey, what can we do? it's part of the "deal" we sign up for when we opt for interracial coexistence. it's maddening though when it happens right in our own soil...grrrrrrr.

oo nga naman, salamat kay presidente Marcos for paving the way........

what i especially like about your blog is you tap on the (aesthetic) cultural side of our "Filipinoness." :).

November 25, 2007 1:07 AM  

Blogger NOYPETES said...

I see hope in the preservation of historical and cultural documents belonging to the city. I hope funding for the maintenance of the repository is sufficient for it is very costly to maintain and adhere to the standards required for a repository facility.

Hiram Bingham was born in Honolulu, Hawaii to Protestant missionary parents.

November 25, 2007 2:37 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Whoa! Many thanks for sharing this information with us, F. San Roque! That was no minor discovery this guy Bingham made. No wonder he had that humanitarian trait in him.

Every time I hear of Machu Picchu, I'm often reminded of this band of musicians who accompanied Paul Simon in his performance of "El Condor Pasa;" they were from Machu Picchu.

It is supposedly a very spiritual place as well as expounded on by Shirley McLaine in one of her writings.

Thank you!

November 25, 2007 6:03 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I'll back up your wishes with prayers, Cacofonix. I'm sure we'll be invited for coffee once you realize that awesome dwelling :)

Back in the '60s in Olongapo City, the Americans had segregated the city's honky tonk area into white and colored (African-American) sections. The latter was strictly off limits to venture into the area reserved for the whites.

Ironically, as much as America is the keeper of democracy's flame, so to speak, it has gone through tumultuous episodes in dealing with its own racial issues.

November 25, 2007 6:12 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I'm not aware that certain standards exist, Pete, and I do hope that we do get the funding. Otherwise, Washington may forever use this as an excuse to reject our ongoing request for those shiploads of documents that were taken from Manila by the Americans and hauled off to the States. From what I hear, they're merely sitting in some basement in the national library.

November 25, 2007 6:16 AM  

Blogger Sidney said...

I thought I knew Manila a little bit but reading your blog makes me discover new and interesting facts and places all the time!
This is info you can't even find in guidebooks... I wonder why?

November 25, 2007 8:00 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Perhaps, we should tackle that task, Sidney -- a guidebook of Manila in pictures :)

This is indeed a wonderful photo exhibition. You'll enjoy it.

Thanks, Sidney!

November 25, 2007 8:41 AM  

Blogger pusa said...

didnt know that manila has its own museum! what a very good looking building... i ought to take a leave and visit this! thanks for sharing this wonderful find with us =)

November 25, 2007 11:32 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

And the ongoing photo exhibit should make your visit even more worthwhile, Pusa.

My pleasure ... enjoy your visit :)

November 25, 2007 12:33 PM  

Anonymous kyels said...

It's a beautiful museum! It definitely was a good visit, right?


November 25, 2007 2:01 PM  

Anonymous caryn said...

Thank you for featuring the museo. i used to be a part of the curatorial team under museum director Dr. FC Baker. However, though the Museo was indeed started by Mayor Lim, it was not closed during the Atienza administration. I have no wish to blow his trumpet; however, we did have a lot of very creative output during that time.

The exhibit you mentioned was part of our first series of exhibits at the Museo (since 1998; though the Museo had sponsored earlier travelling exhibits) and is one of my favorites. The frames used to be hung on walls that were painted navy blue (originally located at the left wing of the second floor) to offset the frames and to bring out the vividness of the color of the postcards. That exhibit was staged in concert with "Buong Loob" and "Manila: 1898-1945"

"Buong Loob" featured heroes from Manila, such as Gregoria de Jesus, Juan Nakpil, Macario Sakay etc. It also featured sculptures by Julie Lluch (the Katipunera series), a makeshift crypt which was strewn with fresh petals each week, and speeches that were triggered by motion-sensors. the whole room was painted brick-red and was painted with reliefs that echoed those of Bahay Nakpil-Bautista in Quiapo (where Oriang lived). This was a great exhibit, based on a lot of research coupled with amazing exhibit design, which a lot of people said "took on a life of its own" (kinda creepy, but effective)

"Manila: 1898-1945" was about the American Occupation and featured installations and paraphernalia such as old street lamps/signs, benches, pictures of buildings built during the period, and even an old water hydrant. the whole exhibit was further brought to life with music - Glen Miller in the early stages and sound effects of bombs being dropped, as well as war speeches in the area that featured the bombing and liberation of Manila.There was even a large blown-up print of the bombed city hall (and other bombed areas in Manila), complete with a rubble installation.

There were also several other exhibits; one that featured past mayors of Manila, and an exhibit which featured the costumes of the Bayanihan Dance Troupe among others. We also hosted several modern art exhibitions for Manila-based artists.

I hope that the local city government continues to invest in keeping the Museo open. I also hope that they invest in research as well as in the preservation of what they currently have. The building also needs heavy structural restoration. Please support it! Manila desperately needs a repository of its own history. Thanks again for sharing the pics; it was lovely to see the Museo again.

November 25, 2007 3:31 PM  

Blogger dave (",) said...

Do make that guidebook Señor E and Sidney.

What impressed me here is the link to Time Magazine's 1927 archive!

November 25, 2007 7:47 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I know Sidney has lots of projects in front of him, but I will mention this to him and find out his thoughts on it, Dave. Perhaps, it is something that Gemma Cruz' Manila Historical & Heritage Commission might be interested to support.

My discovery of that Time article was truly unexpected, though auspicious. The magic of Google! :)

November 26, 2007 5:26 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Many thanks for setting the record straight for us, Caryn, as well as for reminding us of the great exhibitions that took place in the Museo during Atienza's time!

It may not be a bad idea for some of those exhibits you had once worked on to be once again featured for the benefit of those discovering Museo ng Maynila for the first time.

By the way, I wish its current administration would have on display also the logbook listing all the wonderful events that took place in there.

Lots of work are indeed necessary but with enough determination, this can really become a wonderful exhibit hall and repository for our city's valuable historical and heritage relics/documents.

Many thanks once again Caryn. Hopefully, the doors of the Museo shall now remain open despite whoever is at the helm of the city's administration.

November 26, 2007 5:36 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Hi Kyels!

Yes, I recommend that you include this museum for you and your friends to check out during your next visit to Manila :)

November 26, 2007 5:38 AM  

Blogger Amadeo said...

That seemingly inaccessible Army & Navy Club never ceased to intrigue us ROTC cadets when we had our weekend drills at the Luneta. And where most of the univesities in Manila also had theirs, especially those with insufficient parade grounds on their sites; MLQU, FEU, UE, Lyceum, to name a few.

But nobody then bothered to ask who the members were who had access to it.

But glad to hear about it again.

November 26, 2007 5:50 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

And please include MIT in the list, Amadeo. I marched up and down in those grounds as a PMT cadet ... hehehe.

What I remember as a kid of the Army & Navy Club was its swimming pool crowded with Yanks. I used to look through its gated fence and watched them enjoying the late afternoon with their cocktails by the pool.

Luneta Park was so different back then.

November 26, 2007 7:18 AM  

Anonymous Yuki said...

My grandfather used to bring me to the library of the Army & Navy Club every weekend when I was a child. They had the complete set of Enid Blyton's books (all the series such as The Famous Five!), Alfred Hitchcock and the 3 Investigators, Perry Mason, Isaac Asimov's books . . sigh. I miss the library.

November 26, 2007 10:55 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Many thanks for sharing with us your fond memories of this awesome landmark, Yuki.

November 27, 2007 6:03 AM  

Anonymous Yuki said...

You're welcome. It's nice knowing that the building(s) will be preserved and will be open to all. I still remember the winding staircase, and the hallways with high ceilings and art deco chandeliers. My maternal uncle served as colonel in the US army during the Vietnam and Korean wars, and 'passed' on his membership to my grandfather. There were also annual Easter Egg hunts in the wonderful garden. The Sunday brunches were great, and the waiters were very, very patient with the kids (I wonder where they are now).

November 27, 2007 11:36 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Wow, Yuki, thanks!

Would you by any chance want to expand this fond memory of yours of the old Army & Navy Club into an 800-to-1200-word essay?

And then submit it to Patti Laurel's Art-in-Site Magazine at:

Thanks much!

November 27, 2007 6:59 PM  

Anonymous caryn said...

you're welcome! :-) sorry about the overly-long and anal post.

the exhibits were well-documented because a foreign donor gave a large sum for the publication of a book on the museum. but alas, the project didn't push through the gnarled tentacles of city hall. sigh.

yuki, the last time i was there (7 years ago) the library was still there. however, a lot of the books and magazine compilations were damaged by water leaking from the roof. sayang talaga.

November 28, 2007 1:18 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I am one of those, Caryn, who truly appreciated knowing about those exhibitions that you and your group produced in the Museo. Thank you!

A book on the museum? Sayang talaga! Pati na din yung collection sa library na nasira ng water leaks. Darn :(

Again, Many thanks for your insighht, Caryn!

November 28, 2007 6:43 AM  

Blogger mtan said...

I learned how to swim in that pool, and spent many a saturday waiting for my mom at the parlor there (had my first perm in that salon when I was 11). And a lot of my weekly allowance was wasted on buying books in the small store by the main door. My sister had parties in the main ballroom. By the time we reached our teens, my dad decided to stop paying membership dues and we missed our weekends at the club. It isn't the same these days just having a seafood dinner by the deck, but it's good to read of preservation efforts. I wish the old Dominican hotel in Baguio has the same luck. It's a beautiful building.

November 28, 2007 10:19 AM  

Anonymous Yuki said...

Oh, Caryn, the books!!! :-(

Senor, I'm not sure if I can contribute to the book as my memories of the place are "sketchy"; I was last in the place in the mid-70s.

December 05, 2007 3:59 PM  

Anonymous Yuki said...

Oh, Caryn, the books!!! :-(

Senor, I'm not sure if I can contribute to the book as my memories of the place are "sketchy"; I was last in the place in the mid-70s.

December 05, 2007 4:00 PM  

Blogger madddborja said...

Hello! My name is Marie. I was amazed when I saw the building of Army and Navy Club. If I am not mistaken the first time I've been to this Museum was back 1998. My Mom used to come in this Museum for ballroom dancing. I just want to find out if there is still room for rent for ballroom dancing because I am planning to give my mom a surprise birthday party.... Do you have a number to contact the Museum...Please help me...Thank you so much.

December 03, 2009 11:12 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

is the museo ng maynila still open?and is it still available for the public?

March 30, 2011 8:48 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I think it still is.

April 03, 2011 1:40 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw this featured last night at GMA's "Misteryo". That's the first time I ever heard about this place, and I was in so much awe at the magnificent architectural design, inspite of it's dilapidated state, I decided to research more about the place. So I landed on your page from google. It's great to see the photos you have taken, to give us all an idea of it's splendor during its heydays. I wish the city of Manila will restore the place, to give people like us a chance (I'm an OFW btw) to experience first-hand and appreciate our rich history and culture.

April 03, 2011 5:54 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, I'm looking for photos to be used for the Department of Foreign Affairs' (DFA) cultural website and I'd really love to include this photo.

Your photo will be credited on the website for sure :)

Hoping for your positive feedback! You may contact me at :)

September 05, 2012 12:05 PM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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