Friday, October 24, 2008


This towering structure is a condominium apartment building on Escolta that overlooks the river. I can only imagine how spectacular the views from one of its top floor units; aside from the glorious sunsets, there's also the layout of the historic Intramuros right before you.

Manila has some interesting architecture, both old and new; though, not as dramatically innovative as those designed by Frank Gehry. Nonetheless, we have a few to be proud of; like the creations of Leandro Locsin which are quite marvelous.

And when speaking of Manila architecture, someone worth remembering is Fr. Antonio Sedeño.

He was one of the first Jesuits to arrive in the Philippine archipelago in 1581 as missionaries and custodians of the ratio studiorum, the Jesuit system of education developed around 1559. Within a decade of their arrival, the Jesuits, they've founded
the first school in the Philippines: Colegio de Manila (also known as the Colegio Seminario de San Ignacio) in Intramuros in 1590 (at the site where the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila now occupies). It formally opened in 1595.

When Fr. Sedeño arrived in Manila, its cityscape was comprised mostly of structures made of bamboo and nipa. Thus, in constructing the Jesuit motherhouse, he applied his knowledge in the craft of masonry and the art of architecture, and built it with brick and stone. The innovative structure so impressed the locals; one of whom was Domingo de Salazar, the first bishop of Manila, who immediately commissioned Fr. Sedeño to build him a residence made of masonry. After which, Governor Santiago de Vera tasked the Jesuit to rebuild the city's main fort at the mouth of the river; for which the brittle stone from the Pasig quarries were used. It later became known as Fort Santiago.

Eventually, the architecture of Manila's newly-constructed structures reflected Fr. Sedeños style of stone walls and tile roofing.

Other than teaching the native Filipinos how to make cement, brick and tile, Fr. Sedeño also shared his knowledge in the fine art of painting. And through the school that he founded, his students learned the fundamentals of science and theology. He was of an enterprising spirit as well; starting a local silk culture so the silver might remain in Manila and not be spent on China.

It should also be noted that out in the islands, Fr. Sedeño also built several structures, including those made of lime kiln. You may read about a house he built in Cebu here.

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posted by Señor Enrique at 10:27 AM


Blogger FilMasons NSW said...

I didn't know that Eric. I've learn more Philippine history here (and other blogs/sites) than I did during high school; and to think I love history.

Proves that you can't be too old to earn something new everyday... I am alive!

October 25, 2008 11:00 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Same here, Mario! Am truly enjoying learning all about our country's past.

Perhaps, I appreciate them more now that I'm much older. Even if brought up in high school, I might have only suffered from data over dose; considering we'd only be required to memorize dates and names, and etc. ... instead of truly appreciating what actually transpired and how they've affected the prior and ensuing historic events.

October 25, 2008 11:41 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful images. I've included your blog in a recent posting "20 Awesome Photoblogs - Manila". Check it out when you have a moment. Best of luck and keep up the great work!

October 27, 2008 12:55 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thank you so much :)

October 27, 2008 11:51 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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