The photos must have been taken in different years, from the mid 1950's to the mid 1960's, judging from the car models (though some cars are pre 1950'd). Where is O'Henry's Coffee and Donut shop in Plaza Sta Cruz (Plaza near Escolta & Reina Regente)?
Can you recognize the cars? Chevy Bel-air 1958, Simca 1961-62s, Toyopet 1960s, VW Beetle 1960's, early 1960's Mercedez Benz 220...
Take note, naka sapatos ang mga tao, walang naka tsinelas kahit sa Avenida. It's clean and the people are very disciplined.
There were no Metro Aides, Bayani Fernando Cleaners, and stores cleaned their areas. Pedestrians were also very disciplined. Very little “hukays” and manholes were clean and were clearly visible to pedestrians. People were so disciplined. Take a look at the Pedxings. The streets were shiny, much like the streets of Singapore now.
LYRIC Theatre (in the photo below), IDEAL, STATE, ODEON were the best theatres. Environment inside and outside...absolutely clean. There were no double parking allowed and drivers followed. Streets didn’t have 2 policemen and 4 Traffic Aides for each corner. You’d be safe even if you held a clutch bag while shopping. Manholes were covered well and during those days, I remember them....as clean and polished, much like those you’d see in Champ Elysee’. We could beat Paris. Ang ganda ng bayan natin noon.
Dencia’s was famous for Pansit Mami, much like Mamonluk or Ricebowl. P1.50 ang Mami, 10 sentimo ang Coca-Cola. 5 centimo ang sarsaparilla. This was very near Villalobos and Carriedo. Look at the jeepneys. They were not overloaded.
Pasig was very clean. The photographer must have taken this photo (below) October to December timeframe. But Pasig, during summer would have beautiful water lilies, tiny Quiapo’s floating amidst white, yellow and purple water lilies that I remember. Water from our rich and abundant rivers were emerald green and blue. Napakalinis and walang amoy
Manila was just a beautiful place.
If you’d take an L5 plane or a Piper Cab and take pictures of Dewey Boulevard (now Roxas Boulevard) from above, you’d be so proud to say, that the place is much better than Cote’d Azure. Environment was just so very clean, air was refreshing, and take a look at the sea....wasn’t that a gift given to us during those days?!
Sidewalks were not extended to suit the pedestrians. Quiapo Church was a blessed monument. Nagbibigayan ang mga drivers. Bihira ang nag-gigitgitan.
Avenida Rizal was a treat to everyone. There were no prostitutes nor body-brokers. Avenida was not a fickle place. It was not a “now a bistro boulevard, tomorrow a street; now a tiangge or night market and tomorrow a bistro boulevard”. It was a simple avenida where everyone enjoyed to see what was “now showing”, what movie was “extended showing”, and if Otis or Good Earth had a big sale. It was just a big clean place.
Ayala Avenue was just like Wilshire Boulevard. Clean and no pollution. You can walk and enjoy the sun. Napakalinis. Walang masyadong trash bins pero walang basura sa paligid.
Even Parks like Fort Santiago was much better. No vendors, no cafe’s. There was not even an ATM machine. Malinis ang paligid.
Sayang. We saw a country that was much cleaner, a much better place to live in and a truly healthy place. Will it ever gain back to its former glory?
*Please note, I don't take credit for these photos. Somebody just sent them to me and I felt that it was important that I share it in the hopes that other people will see how beautiful Manila was and hopefully help bring it back to its former glory.*
Update: Here's the second part of my post with more photos of old Manila.