These Must-See Historic Photos Will Let You Discover The Philippines Colorful History

Kalinga Women Banga

Must-See Historic Photos of the Philippines

The Philippines is definitely one of the most diverse countries in Asia. With its incredibly diverse language, religion, ethnicity, and also geography, The Philippines also has its own share of colorful past. Check out these photos and learn a little bit of Philippine history from this vintage photo collection:

Old Street in Cavite

Cavite 1930
Cavite Circa 1930 Photo credit: J. Tewell / Foter / CC BY-NC

Cavite, Land of Heroes, is where the Philippine Independence was declared on June 12, 1898. The first President of the Philippines was born in Kawit Cavite.

This was a 1930 photo of a street in Cavite, but the exact location was not specified.

Binondo Church pre-war Photo

Old Photo of Binondo Church
Old Photo of Binondo Church early 20th century – Photo credit: J. Tewell / Foter / CC BY-NC

This photo shows San Fernando Bridge leading to Binondo Church with an old panciteria on the left and a traditional Bahay na Bato surrounding the church.

The Pansiteria de Macanistay Ruemcustu was a restaurant that Jose Rizal wrote about in two of his books.

Many people are just traveling on foot back then, and the main mode of transport is horse and carabao drawn carriages.

Fort Santiago Pre-war photo

Fort Santiago Early 20th Century Photo
Fort Santiago Early 20th Century Photo credit: J. Tewell / Foter / CC BY-NC

A beautiful view of Fort Santiago from the Pasig River – a center for trading in Manila during the pre-war period. Today, the building seen on the photo was already gone, but the walls are still there to remind us of Manila’s glorious past.

Two Filipino Mestiza’s Circa 1899

Young Spanish mestizo women in native dress inside a pleasant Filipino home, Ermita, Manila, Philippines, 1899
Filipina Mestizas – Photo credit: J. Tewell / Foter / CC BY-NC

Photo of Two young Filipino – Spanish mestizas wearing Filipiniana inside a beautiful house in Ermita Manila. Circa 1899

Flood in Manila Circa 1905

Flood in Manila circa 1905
Street flooding in Manila after a Typhoon Photo credit: J. Tewell / Foter / CC BY-NC

The photo above shows Street flooding in Manila after a Typhoon. Circa 1905

Vintage Bird’s eye view photo of Beautiful Manila Circa 1941

Birds eye view of Manila Circa 1941
Bird’s eye view of Manila Circa 1941 Photo credit: J. Tewell / Foter / CC BY-NC

Bird’s eye view of Manila before the Japanese Bombers devastated the beautiful city.

Manila Cathedral Circa 1929

Manila Cathedral Circa 1929
Manila Cathedral Circa 1929 Photo credit: J. Tewell / Foter / CC BY-NC

On December 11-15, 1929, the first National Eucharistic Congress was held in the cathedral. Manila Cathedral became a Basilica through Saint John Paul II when he visited the Philippines in 1981.

Manila after World War II

Manila after World War II
Manila after World War II Photo credit: J. Tewell / Foter / CC BY-NC

Photo of Manila after a massive bombing. According to General Douglas MacArthur, Manila was the second most devastated city globally, next to Warsaw, when he saw the city after the long battle.

Native Beautiful Filipina circa 1899

Native Beautiful Filipina
Native Beautiful Filipina – Photo credit: J. Tewell / Foter / CC BY-NC

A beautiful native Filipina wearing Filipiniana Dress. Circa 1899

Battle of Manila circa 1945

Battle of Manila
Battle of Manila – Photo credit: J. Tewell / Foter / CC BY-NC

During the Battle of Manila, The Japanese soldiers set Manila on fire on February 2, 1945. Thousands of innocent citizens caught in the fight have nothing but luck to survive. This photo was taken along Gandara, now Sabino Padilla Street in Binondo Manila.

Manila Central Post Office Pre-war photo

Manila Post Office Pre-war photo
View of Manila Post Office Building from Jones Bridge circa1930s – Photo credit: J. Tewell / Foter / CC BY-NC

The first known location of the Manila Central Post Office was on the business district of Escolta. In 1936, this new building was constructed but was later destroyed during the Battle of Manila and was subsequently rebuilt in 1946 while retaining the most original design.

Minor Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel in Tayabas Circa 1901

Minor Basilica of St. Michael Archangel in Tayabas
Minor Basilica of St. Michael Archangel in Tayabas – Photo credit: J. Tewell / Foter / CC BY-NC

One of the Philippine’s biggest and most beautiful churches, the Minor Basilica of St. Michael Archangel, is located in the historic City of Tayabas. The former capital of Quezon Province.

Filipino-Chinese Banana Street Vendors circa 1900s

Filipino Chinese Banana Street Vendors circa 1900's
Filipino Chinese Banana Street Vendors Photo credit: J. Tewell / Foter / CC BY-NC

Photo of Tsinoy (Filipino-Chinese) Banana street vendors circa 1900 – 1902.

Typical Market Day in Ermita Manila

Market Day in Ermita Manila
Market Day in Ermita Manila Photo credit: J. Tewell / Foter / CC BY-NC

Early 20th Century photo of a typical market day in Ermita Manila.

Escolta Street Vintage Photo

Escolta Street
Escolta Street – Photo credit: J. Tewell / Foter / CC BY-NC

Before Ayala Avenue in Makati and other shopping districts in Metro Manila, Escolta used to be Manila’s shopping center.

San Agustin Church in Manila circa 1945

San Agustin Church Circa 1945 by John Tewell via Foter
Photo by J. Tewell on Foter.com / CC BY-NC

War damaged San Agustin Church and convent in Intramuros, Manila. Circa 1945.

Kalinga Women Circa 1921

Kalinga Women Banga
Kalinga Women Banga Photo by J. Tewell on Foter.com / CC BY-NC

Women of Kalinga carrying water storage pots (immosso). Banga (pronounced ba-nga), meaning “pot,” is an earthen container for fetching and storing water in Kalinga in the Philippines’ northern Cordillera region.

Tattooed Ifugao of Kababuyan District in Benguet

Tattooed Ifugao of Kababuyan District
Tattooed Ifugao of Kababuyan District Photo by J. Tewell on Foter.com / CC BY-NC

A 1903 photo of a Tattooed Ifugao man of Kababuyan District in Cordillera Mountains, Benguet. The following traditional tattoo patterns showcasing animals like dogs, eagles, centipedes, scorpions, and other patterns like lightning (zigzag) and shield.

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