Monday, August 18, 2008


The name of the street between the two buildings -- Metrobank and First Metro -- in the above photo may soon change from Oriente to Ty Street; that is, to honor the founder of Metrobank, George Ty, whose net worth amounts to nearly a billion US dollars, ranking him as among the 40 richest men in the Philippines, according to Forbes.

With all due respect to Mr. Ty's staggering success and wealth, perhaps, he should reconsider, and just leave the name of Oriente Street as it is, especially for its historical value.

Oriente Street was named after the first hotel built in the Philippines, Hotel de Oriente at Plaza de Calderon de la Barca in Binondo, which the Metrobank building now occupies.

The hotel was constructed in the 1850s as a two-story building; occupying the entire block from Oriente Street to Veronica Street. And across Oriente Street was where the old La Insular Cigarette and Cigar Factory once stood, which the First Metro building now occupies.

According to Ka Tony, Jose Rizal used to stay at Hotel de Oriente before he traveled to Europe and before he wrote "Noli Me Tangere. Furthermore, he added:

Rizal, looking out his hotel window, will have the view of the Plaza Calderon de la Barca, on his right is "calle Veronica" a corner block meeting "calle Anloague" (Juan Luna). The "bahay na bato" on this corner with a "tisa rojo" was the setting of Rizal's Noli. The back of this house is the "Estero de Reina" which Rizal mentioned on his Noli that "Kapitan Tiago" & his neighbors used the estero to wash their clothes, dishes, drink, bath, and etc.

On the other hand, according to the Filipinas Heritage Library, the La Insular Cigar and Cigarette Factory in Binondo was founded by Don Joaquin Santamarina with his associates, Don Luis Elizalde and Don Manuel Clemente. It was the first privately-owned cigar factory that was established after the government monopoly on tobacco was abolished in 1880. Its office and factory stood beautifully at Oriente Street in front of Plaza Calderon de la Barca.

Both Hotel de Oriente and La Insular were burned down during the Japanese Occupation.

Hence, for the sake of pride of place, perhaps, George Ty and his clan will abort their efforts to change the name of Oriente Street. And while we're at it, we might as well ask the Yuchengco clan to give back Yuchengco Street its old name -- Nueva.

Related link:

Old Manila streets lose names to politicians -

Then & Now Pictures of Hotel de Oriente - Tanawin by BCS

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posted by Señor Enrique at 11:10 AM


Blogger Francesca said...

eh? Dating spanish name, naging chinese na? Saan na ang makapinoy kultura and originality natin???!!!

gusto ko yung history mo, senyor.Nagkakape ako, and it suit the moment....

August 18, 2008 2:20 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree with you more!

As a filipino living abroad, everytime I book for a flight to the Philippines, I have to specify MNL not NAIA. This is another example of our officials tampering with our historical past.

NAIA is unofficially MANILA INTERNATIONAL to the World and I remain calling it that way. That was what it was when I left the country in 1971.

Test it yourself and try book online with international website. This coincides with the placement of Ninoy's Bust at our International Airport.

Cory and none of her brood came to witness the event- much like saying she does not care! She and her children's politics weighed more over their heads than advancing the stand her husband fought for (or was he just a mortal foe of Marcos?)

August 18, 2008 8:08 PM  

Blogger Panaderos said...

Every time we change a street name, or any place's name for that matter, we also break a form of connection to our past. We lose an historic frame of reference. There are other ways to honor Mr. Ty and people like him.

In New York, and you yourself can attest to this, certain street corners or sections are designated as memorials for certain people of note. However, the street names themselves are never changed. We should consider doing the same.

August 18, 2008 10:30 PM  

Blogger ka tony said...

Hi Eric,

Many thanks for your kindness! I'm humbled for using my comment on this blog as reference. I really, really hope our government will do something about this issue!!!

...if not then our history & culture will be forgotten completely so as our identity!

Maraming salamat na muli,
ka tony

August 18, 2008 10:31 PM  

Blogger pusa said...

i hope they'll listen to your plea señor, we have too much changing of street names that are really unneccesary!!!

August 18, 2008 10:43 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Alam mo, Francesaca, kung maalagaan natin ang ating mga pinanggalingan, maipagmamalaki natin ito sa mga kaibigan nating taga ibang bansa.

August 19, 2008 8:39 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Very good point you brought up, Anonymous. Thank you!

August 19, 2008 8:40 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That is right, Panaderos. We should follow New York's lead.

An example: a portion of Seventh Avenue south of 34th Street was named Penn Plaza, and from 34th north to 42nd, Fashion Avenue -- all that without removing the old name, Seventh Avenue.

As you said, completely changing the name somehow erases the national memories, as well as personal memories that people hold dear.

August 19, 2008 8:45 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

It's my pleasure, Ka Tony! It's the least I can do for your generosity in sharing with us your insight -- fruits of your tireless research, while some of which were handed down to you by your father.

We are all wiser and richer from reading your comments/thoughts/opinions! And hopefully, even prouder to be Pinoys!

Maraming salamat uli, Ka Tony!

August 19, 2008 8:50 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I don't the Tys and the Yuchengcos had attained that much successes in their lives without concern for their compatriots, Pusa. So hopefully, they will realize that the respective legacy they have created is enough to make them immortals.

August 19, 2008 8:58 AM  

Blogger Sidney said...

Vanity of Vanities.

August 19, 2008 10:59 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

True, Sidney -- the ultimate vanity plate!

August 19, 2008 11:55 AM  

Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Eric
I posted a long comment this morning and it seems to have gotten lost somewhere...

Anyway, the gist of that comment was: I hope George Ty and his family would be magnanimous enough to allow us to retain the more historical name - Oriente.

I wish they'd stop changing street names. Each time they do that, they are, in effect, deleting a part of our history, too.

August 19, 2008 1:27 PM  

Blogger ka tony said...

Hi Eric,

I love Sidney's ..."'Vanity of Vanities."

Giving back the original names of the streets of Manila or other streets in the Philippines, will link our past with the present. Will build & develop what ever is left with our identity as Pilipino. Our islands and its river started settlements, gave birth to civilization, Kalantiao Code of law, Barangay form of government, religion, Alibata writing, trading culture & goods with our Asian neighbors, we're civilized before the "discovery of Magellan!"

Our ancestors taught the colonialist how to survive in our environment so different than theirs and somehow blended. Colonial Philippines built universities much older than Harvard, published books, Pilipino Ilustrados studied & graduated in Europe. Then came these gringos who claimed our victory against the Spanish colonialist. Having the nerve of telling the world that their mission is to educate "these savage Pilipinos" so they will be ready for self rule!!!

A big B _ _ _ S _ _ _ !

Now, are we trying to BS ourselves too? I hope that not only streets get its original names back, but our bridges as well!

# Roxas bridge - formerly Del Pan
# Jones bridge - formerly Punte Espania
# Quezon bridge - formerly Punte Colgante
# Mabini bridge - formerly Nagtahan bridge

Crossing these famous downtown bridges of Manila as a young boy of 10, I ask my Dad an interesting question. How come Del Pan Bridge, Jones Bridge, McArthur Bridge have support on its base, except Quezon Bridge which is suspended? He said Quezon Bridge's predecessor "Puente Colgante (hanging)" and also its predecessor didn't have support underneath. That whenever they build a bridge on that area with a base, the bridge didn't last. Legend goes that in that part of Pasig river, there live a mermaid who wants her surrounding clear.

...don't know, but Quezon Bridge is suspended and so as Ayala Bridge...he, he, he, might be true! By the way Eric the designer of Quezon Bridge was the famous Gustave Eiffel, who designed the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris!

God Bless you Eric & Gemma Cruz on your crusade in bringing back the former names of the streets of Manila. So we can avoid the word "formerly"
ka tony (formerly antonio)

August 19, 2008 3:51 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

There's something wrong with my comment box, Bugsy. Many other fellow bloggers complain of the same thing.

Yes, I do hope they have a change of heart and leave the name of Oriente Street as it is.

You can imagine how discombobulating it was for me upon my return to Manila to find many of the names of its streets and plazas had changed. It was so saddening to feel so lost.

August 19, 2008 7:35 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi Ka Tony,

- That three-word comment by Sidney cleverly summed up the motivating factor in getting a street name changed to that of a tycoon or 'has-been' politician.

- "Having the nerve of telling the world that their mission is to educate "these savage Pilipinos" so they will be ready for self rule!!!

A big B _ _ _ S _ _ _ !"

You may want to check out a previous entry of mine, "Same As It Ever Was:"

And this interesting article by the New Yorker - "Debating torture and counterinsurgency—a century ago" by Paul Kramer:

- # Roxas bridge - formerly Del Pan
# Jones bridge - formerly Punte Espania
# Quezon bridge - formerly Punte Colgante
# Mabini bridge - formerly Nagtahan bridge

Interestingly, local folks still call Nagtahan and Del Pan by their original names.

- A twist of irony:

Today is Quezon Day in Quezon City; hence all schools and certain public offices are closed. When I asked a number kids who Quezon was, they had no clue whatsoever -- despite the fact that a huge Metro Manila city, a province, and a Quiapo bridge was named after this man.

- "God Bless you Eric & Gemma Cruz on your crusade in bringing back the former names of the streets of Manila."

I'm only promoting the efforts of Gemma Cruz-Araneta, Ivan Man Dy and Jeffrey Yap.

Thanks once again Tony for sharing with us your insight!

August 19, 2008 9:08 PM  

Blogger 200078360 said...

actually... they renamed not just one but TWO streets.

August 17, 2009 10:16 PM  

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