Stunning Black and White Photos of Old Manila Circa 1800-1900s

Sunday, July 10, 2016 Justin Vawter 3 Comments

Ever wondered what Manila looked like during the old times? Since I am a huge fan of architecture and history, I can't help but share these stunning black and white photos of old Manila which I stumbled upon while doing some paperwork. These photos narrate the story of Manila from the Spanish colonial to the post-war era. It shows Manila far from its current state of highways surrounded by tall glass skyscrapers . Streets are filled with calesas and the tranvia with little to no traffic compared today. The bahay na bato lined up the streets of Manila specifically Escolta and Pasig River was used a major transportation route. This is Manila Circa 1800-1900s: the Glory Days of the what was once known as the Pearl of the Orient.

Aerial view, Manila, ca. 1925-1930 
Approach to the Bridge of Spain, Newtown, Manila, 1899

Escolta Street, Manila, 1884
Escolta Street, Manila, 1899
Calle Rosario, Manila, ca.1926-1928
Cuartel de Malate, Manila, ca. 1905
Estria de la Reina [Queen's Canal], Santa Cruz, Manila, 1926
Former headquarters of General Pilar, now headquarters of General Charles King, San Pedro de Makati, Manila,1899
Governor General's office, Manila, 1899
The Ayuntamiento Building, Manila, 1907-1916

Army vehicles in front of Quiapo Church, Manila, 1946
Harbor scene, Manila, ca. 1925-1930
Lighthouse and Anda Monument, Intramuros, Manila, 1901
Interior of commanding general's quarters, Manila, 1899
Pacific Commercial Company, Manila, 1928
Pacific Motors salesroom, Manila, 1928 
Pasig River, Manila, 1926
Manila street scene, early 1900s
Manila streetcar, early 1900s
Walled City, Manila, 1925
Manila street scene showing church in the background, 1899-1901
Fort Santiago, Manila, ca.1920-1928
Harbor scene, Manila, ca. 1925-1930
Shop interior, ca. 1920-1930
Ruins of Unjien Building in Manila, 1945
Ruins of Parliament buildings, 1945
Former headquarters of General Pilar, now headquarters of General Charles King, San Pedro de Makati, Manila,1899
Tobacco factory and its largely female work force, Manila, early 1900s
Refugees and patients liberated from Philippine General Hospital, Manila, 1945
View of burnt-out Manila, 1945
Damaged buildings in Rizal Avenue, Manila, 1945
Aerial view of wrecked buildings, Manila, 1945
A Filipino family and its home, Manila, 1899
Field hospital of Camp Santa Mesa, Manila, 1899
Filipino soldiers outside Manila, 1899
Debris amid damaged buildings after bombings, Manila, 1945
Manila is indeed rich both in history and culture and these photos are immortalized moments that give proof to what Manila used to be. What's your favorite photo?

Photo credits to University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries


- Justin -


  1. Mesmerizing Photos of Manila. Who had wonder that Manila looked that way.

  2. Thank you! I never though Manila looked elegant! thank you!

  3. 1800 ??? Photography was not invented yet...