Saturday, January 27, 2007


Inspired by the words of the great Manuel Luis Quezon, former President of the Philippine Commonwealth -- "education is the right of all citizens and that educated people is needed to ensure the upliftment of the masses and the creation of wealth for all" -- several prominent lawyers and justices founded Manuel L. Quezon University School of Law in 1947.

Its two campuses (the Administration Building and the Monzon Hall) still stand today on Hidalgo Street in Quiapo, Manila. These two structures, along with
San Sebastian Church to the west, are the commanding landmarks of this enclave of Manila's Quiapo district.

I have been going to Hidalgo Street quite regularly since late year when it was transformed as a photographers haven. However, that is the Hidalgo Street between Plaza Miranda at Quiapo Church and Padre Gomez Street. The area of Hidalgo Street where the campuses of MLQ University are located, is at the other side of Quiapo Church, across Quezon Boulevard, leading towards San Sebastian Church.

Besides the buildings of MLQ University and the Catholic high school of Saint Nazarene, along this stretch of Hidalgo Street are some vintage two-storey houses, though most appear hardly maintained and decripit. One can only imagine the grandeur they once projected during their heyday. Most notable of these old grand houses is the Bahay Nakpil-Bautista, which is now a musem and stands right off Hidalgo Street at N. Bautista Street. But there is one particular old house that captivated me. I plan to go back there with my dSLR and seek permission from its owner to allow me to take some photographs of its interior.

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posted by Señor Enrique at 7:25 AM


Blogger Amadeo said...


MLQU has not changed much all these years. The facade of the admin/main building is still how it was when I first set eyes on it. Except maybe more time-worn and the street now looks narrower.

And the second pic from the top must be the other school building, with its pinkish hue and still olden architecture. But behind this was a large campus-like lot that was used for ROTC assembly.

But San Sebastian stills looks impressive and imposing, with credits to its very ornate designs, and I suppose good maintenance.

Have they covered over the estero behind the main building?

January 27, 2007 9:40 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never been to this part before. I guess I just might when I go over again. The building looks impressive to me albeit it's old.


January 27, 2007 9:59 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Unfortunately, Amadeo, San Sebastian's structure is getting rusted, and much funds are needed to do a major renovation.

The estero, on the other hand, is not a pretty sight with its stagnant water and overflowing garbage.

MLQU also looks somewhat neglected; administrative problems, from what I hear, is the main cause.

But I bet this was once a pretty amazing stretch.

January 27, 2007 11:53 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

It's an interesting street, Kyels, especially if you wish to take pictures of the jeepneys. It seems that some of their routes begin and end here. The area where you can buy those local handicrafts and the infamous DVDs are nearby.

January 27, 2007 11:56 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's been a long time and I remember the jeepneys coming from Sta Mesa going to Quiapo pass by the MLQU building. Glad to see these pictures. THey provide a quick glimpse of the past :)

January 27, 2007 12:51 PM  

Blogger Sidney said...

This could be a nice place if there was money to renovate those old houses, remove the garbage from the river, put the electrical lines under the ground, give the squatters a home.
Wouldn't it be nice to have those streets traffic free with some cosy cafés and restaurants. I can imagine a little hotel, a bookstore, an art gallery, retail stores in those houses.
Yes, we can dream on...
Reality can be painful ! :-(

January 27, 2007 12:53 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

when i visit hidalgo most of the time on the side of quiapo church. i tried going to the other side to scout for dvd.

January 27, 2007 1:00 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I'm glad to know that these pictures brought back some fond memories, BW :)

So, those Sta. Mesa-Quiapo jeepneys are among those that crowd this narrow street, huh? I used my point & shoot for this series, but will go back with my dSLR.

January 27, 2007 1:01 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

We need another John Chua and the cooperation of all residents/merchants on this strip to turn your vision into a reality, Sidney. Unfortunately, that might only remain a dream.

But those posts and phone/electrical lines are really obtrusive. My friend Noel spent a couple of days removing them with Photoshop from a photo of San Sebastian he took. Check it out:

Now, this is ideally how our beloved Manila should look like!

Ssshhh ... reason why we were in Hidalgo: he got himself a white 70-200 2.8 lens for his Canon :)

January 27, 2007 1:09 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Yes, Iskoo, DVD merchants abound on this side of Quezon Boulevard :)

There is also a mosque aroundhere which I haven't visited.

BTW, guys, Senor Enrique and erisac are one and the same. gets moody at times, you know.

January 27, 2007 1:12 PM  

Blogger Amadeo said...

During our time, I don't recall many jeeps plying along R. Hidalgo toward San Sebastian. Maybe some AC jeeps, but not TPUs. Which was good because Hidalgo was much too close to the bridge landing. Imagine all those jeeps attempting to make a right turn right after the bridge.

We had to walk to Quezon Blvd to catch the jeeps, both northbound and southbound.

Thus, at that time walking along R. Hidalgo was quite a pleasure, moving toward San Sebastian. And the older houses were then quite preserved, unblemished I suppose by all the human traffic and the smoke-belching jeepneys.

Even the little bridge over the meandering estero was not too bad. MLQU's "cafeteria", just itenerant vendors selling turons, etc., was situated close to the estero bank. Talk about ambiance!

January 28, 2007 2:27 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

If only some local urban residents are considerate enough not to use our esteros as dumping sites for garbage, I'm sure we wouldn't have this awful waterways, Amadeo

It isn't allowed to turn right on Hidalgo to head over to San Sebastian from Quezon Boulevard.

Too bad no one cared enough to preserve Hidalgo Street and its old grand houses.

January 28, 2007 8:01 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

this reminds me a lot of the self tour i've made of the street last year! too bad i didn't have my camera at that time. =(

thanks for posting the pics here! btw, can one take pics inside the san sebastian church?

January 29, 2007 5:22 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi Carla!

Not really sure if one is allowed to shoot pictures inside San Sebastian, but I will find out.

Usually, whenever taking pictures of church interior, I'd do it from the very back so as not to disturb anyone. Neither do I use a flash. I try to be discreet as much as possible.

January 29, 2007 7:10 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A year of law schooling at MLQU ! What an experience.

January 30, 2007 7:14 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Nice to know of a fellow blogger who had gone to MLQ School of Law. Thanks, Treu!

January 30, 2007 7:25 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anybody noticed the British Library building on this street? I recall seeing it as I walked towards Lealtad street. A very unusual place for a British library.

September 05, 2007 9:06 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hidalgo in that part of MLQU is a little dirty and jeepney crowded. But it still is a wonderful place to see.

June 15, 2008 8:23 AM  

Blogger Unknown said...

I'm also proud as a part of this university. As a previous graduate student of this beloved school of mine, I suggest also that our school needs a renovations to be one of the most exclusive university in the Phils. The administrations could contact all the successful previous students to help then and give supports your administrations for our continuing success! I love this school too and i hope there will have more improvements in the future. referring to our old buildings and it will remain excellent untill century's will come... With my best regards, Julia Orolfo.( Computer Science Department)

February 28, 2010 6:53 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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