Last month, I joined a free Postal Heritage walking tour along with fellow travel bloggers. Our first stop was in the famous Post Office Building in Manila. Lawrence Chan – the tour organizer informed the rest of the group that our tour was probably one of the last tours they have since the building will be turned into Manila’s version of Singapore’s Fullerton Hotel.
Manila Post Office from Jones Bridge courtesy of Ramon F Velasquez
All participants gathered in Liwasang Bonifacio (formerly Lawton) and before we started our tour, we introduced ourselves in front of everyone since most of us are not yet familiar with each other. Surprisingly, most of the participants are bloggers, writers, photographers and artists.
Mr Lawrence Chan
Manila Central Post Office Building is probably one of the most beautiful building in Philippines according to fellow tour guides I’ve met. The building was located inside Plaza Lawton (named after Henry Ware Lawton 1843-1899) which is where an old bus terminal was located back in the 80’s. Although the place was renamed in 1963 to Liwasang Bonifacio, Filipinos continue to refer to it as Lawton.
At the Back of the Post Office Building
When I first stepped in to this building back in 2004, I was astonished to see the tremendous architectural design of the whole building which has got a rich history in place.
Huge Ionic Columns
I was very excited to have this walking tour since some parts of the building that i want to visit are restricted for regular visitors. I learned that the post office has 3 old gas stations located at the back of the building facing the Pasig River. And I also saw a range of trucks inside the Manila Post Office which takes the mails from different parts of the Metro and delivers it to the people living around the cities as well as villages nearby.
Stamp Collectors Exhibit
I was a little bit emotional and nostalgic upon seeing sacks of undelivered mails because it is nowadays a rarity to find letters and airmails ever since there was a boom in the Internet usage across the world where people like us can send and receive mails within seconds.
Parcel Examination Area
When we went inside the building with the guide, we used the left side entrance which lead us to the abandoned smaller buildings. Our guide informed us that the Post Office has a Museum but it was not open to the public for some reasons. After touring the back of the post office where they have the huge canteen, we headed to the first floor of the Post Office building where stamp collectors are gathering every weekend to meet fellow philatelist. This is also the place where bidding takes place for older stamps and money, which is all going to be a part of history in few months from now.
Philippine Stamp Collections
I was very happy when I received a pencil which denotes Philippine Postal Corporation and was also given a starter kit of stamps. It was a very nostalgic feeling getting these stamps and pencils from Manila Post Office. Mr. Rence Tan also showed us a huge exhibition of stamp collections with different themes from local stamp collectors. I had a glimpse to see the first basketball stamps and cat designed stamps in the world showcased only at our very own Manila Post Office.
Postwar Manila Post Office Photos courtesy of Skyscrapercity.com
Our guide also informed us that up until now, some people are still using telegram and registered mails and the process is still being embaced by some customers. While walking around the post office, I was totally surprised to see the high ceiling as well as the neoclassical architecture with which the post office has been designed with. The whole architecture of Manila Central Post Office was designed by Architect Juan M Arellano – the same architect who designed Manila’s famous Jones Bridge and the Manila Metropolitan Theater which is located right across the Liwasang Bonifacio.
Manila Central Post Office building was built in the year 1926 and is located on the river side of Pasig River which is one of the popular rivers in Manila. The facade of the building has ionic columns while the rest of the building has corinthian columns.
I would like to thank Mr. Lawrence Chan – VP of Filipinas Stamp Collectors’ Club (FSCC) for such a wonderful experience. Joining the tour was truly enjoyable specially if the tour guide that has overflowing ideas and information about the subject.
Next Stop : Exploring the Metropolitan Theater Manila