Friday, June 20, 2008


The above photograph is courtesy of Museo ng Maynila. It is part of its Curt Teich postcard collection.

The YouTube video presentation below is a travelogue entitled "
Manila. Queen City of the Pacific" created in 1938 by André de la Varre, a self-taught filmmaker who began his career in 1919, at the age of 17, when he bought a camera and went off to Europe to start making films -- 11 to 22 minutes long that ran in movie theaters after the newsreels and before the main features.

André used a small Leica, powered by a spring-wound motor, crafting his technique through trial and error as he traveled the world. And one of the places he visited and documented was Manila.

Many thanks to Noypetes for having given me the heads up on this treasure.


Labels: ,

posted by Señor Enrique at 11:01 AM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

How lovely our country before. No pollutions, less traffic and life is so simple :)

June 20, 2008 11:45 AM  

Blogger pusa said...

OMG this is sooo beautiful!!! ang ganda talaga ng maynila!!!

senor i'll post this in my blog too! i miss walking and taking pictures already :(

June 20, 2008 11:49 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eric, all I can say is - AWESOME! :)

June 20, 2008 12:05 PM  

Blogger escape said...

wow! who would not be in love with manila? i really like its old look.

June 20, 2008 1:57 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Señor,

I am really thankful that one was able to document how beautiful, Manila, really was at that time. With the corinthian walls and neo-classical designs, Manila was truly Queen of the Pacific. I am actually hoping if real estate developers would reconsider reviving all the scenic spots in Manila. Now that the Pasig River ferry cruise is in place, I am sure someone would revive Escolta, Ongpin, and nearby place would be rediscovered once more.

Señor, hope you could check out the site


June 20, 2008 4:19 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an amazing video clip ! This is a collector item in my book :) Thanks for sharing !

June 21, 2008 10:52 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a gem of a video for a native born Manileno!

June 21, 2008 1:48 PM  

Blogger Panaderos said...

Finally, a video that shows how Manila looked like before the outbreak of the Second World War. A Manila, thanks to a devastating battle for its liberation, is now forever lost to us.

I am very glad to finally admire the beauty, albeit for a few minutes, of a city we all certainly miss.

Thanks for sharing, Eric. Very much appreciated. :)

June 22, 2008 12:19 AM  

Blogger Lola said...

Boy, this must be before my time, Eric. Don't remember Manila being this way. This must be pre-war Manila. Those are beautiful houses. Are they still around? I do remember my lola wearing those beautiful saya when she would go to church on Sunday. Those calesas and caretelas are so cute and I do remember when calesas are still allowed in Dewey Blvd during the 50's or 60's.

June 22, 2008 3:06 AM  

Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you for posting this! This is the Manila of my parents and grandparents. All I can say is WOW! Amazing how beautifully dressed the women were in just everyday living. They had style!

June 22, 2008 5:36 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this video. A few observations and historical inquiries: 1. I noticed that the cars and kalesa's were driven on the left side. Can anyone add any history about this? 2. I noticed the kalesa driver wearing a barong. Those were the days. 3. What ever happened to those boat markets on the river? Just like Thailand.

June 22, 2008 3:08 PM  

Blogger Panaderos said...

If I may just respond to one of GA's inquiries. Cars and calesas used to be driven on the left side of the road in pre-WW2 Manila. I believe this practice was a carryover from the Spanish times.

The country shifted to the right sideof the road , patterned after the Americay way of driving, after the end of WW2. Thanks.

June 23, 2008 6:21 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thank you, Panaderos! Truth be told, I had no idea why it used to be the other way around, I was going to email Carlos or Ivan today for the answer :)

June 23, 2008 6:34 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi GA!

Thanks to Panaderos, we both now know why it was.

As for the boats, our estero system just got too polluted over the years, a problem that even the Spaniards had trouble dealing with during the colonial times.

June 23, 2008 6:36 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

It must've been the Spanish influence, Heidi.

I remember when as a kid we had to wear shoes and nice clothes even just to go to downtown for an errand. Nowadays, some kids hang out at the malls in their slippers ... hehehe.

Even in NYC, the European students tend to dress up as compared to the American kids.

June 23, 2008 6:39 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

The calesas are still allowed along Dewey Boulevard, Pat, but more for the tourists.

My father has pictures in suit and hat, and I used to wonder how he was able to deal with the hot tropical weather in such getup. But people just appeared so smartly dressed back then.

June 23, 2008 6:42 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

And Manila used to be the most beautiful city in Asia, Panaderos. Sayang talaga, wala na :(

My pleasure ... and thanks to Noypetes again for letting me know about this video/short film.

June 23, 2008 6:43 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Too bad, bertN, we do not have an extensive archive of short films/documentaries of various Philippine cities and towns.

And most regrettably, nowadays, many cities like Makati prohibit taking pictures of the city. Outrageous!

June 23, 2008 6:46 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

My pleasure, BW!

This video should give the Ayalas and other authorities to think twice about their "no picture" policies.

June 23, 2008 6:47 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Many thanks for the URL, Cineasta! Truly appreciate it. I know a couple of high school students who are very much into improving their writing skills, and I will pass this on to them. I may even blog about this, too.

Again, many thanks!

June 23, 2008 6:50 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

And why the Americans and the japanese had to destroy our beautiful city, I would never know. donG :(

June 23, 2008 6:51 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

It was truly a beautiful city, Rhoda, isn't it?

June 23, 2008 6:52 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

You should, Pusa! Let as many peopl know how beautiful our city was once.

June 23, 2008 6:53 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Manila was indeed once a city worth seeing, Joy! Ang ganda talaga!

June 23, 2008 6:54 AM  

Blogger reyd said...

There are some more old videos of Manila or the Philippines.

I know there is no way we can bring back the grandeur of old Manila, we can only look back on some videos and photos on what it's like before the war.

June 23, 2008 3:58 PM  

Blogger NOYPETES said...

Working for the archives and doing preservation and conservation jobs, I think the no picture policy of a few places in Manila sucks big time!

We can all see and appreciate the old city of Manila in the video clip attached to this blog topic.

Thank you to the person who put it up on YouTube

June 23, 2008 11:58 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Many thanks for sharing with us these other YouTube videos on old Manila, Reyd!

Talagang sayang, ano? Ang ganda ng ating Maynila noon.

June 24, 2008 6:39 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

"I think the no picture policy of a few places in Manila sucks big time!"

I totally agree with you, Pete!

And come to think of it, amateurs or serious enthusiasts are sometimes those who never get tired of photographing/filming every aspect of our city. They do it because they simply love doing it!

June 24, 2008 6:41 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Panaderos and Senor Enrique.

July 06, 2008 11:21 PM  

Blogger ericker said...

it is one of the best film i ever saw,beautiful! i remember when my lola used to tell me about old manila,and now i saw this,wow!i feel like im goin back in time,amasing!some building are still there,in avenida,recto,quiapo,etc.wonderful!


February 10, 2010 12:08 AM  

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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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