Manila 50 Years Ago

Circa 1960’s. Manila was clean; not over-crowded; simple, yet elegant; Manilenyos were disciplined. In short, Manila was beautiful.

The following “Old Manila” photos and the original captions were forwarded by “a simple Pinoy overseas who loves his dear old Pilipinas… ” via emails, and we thought of sharing them with you, as a sort of tribute to our City and its residents during Manila Day. We had to scale down the photos since these are not our property.

First picture was before the ’60’s Old Manila. The environment was still very clean during that time. Based on the oldmobiles, Studebakers, Buicks & Pontiacs, I must have been about 10 years old at that time. 1953 Ford on the street going through Jones Bridge leading to Binondo…

Enjoy, and Happy Manila Day ….

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. I remember this part of Escolta as my Dad would buy us Boursege’s from Greg Shoes or Ang Tibay.  It could be much better looking than Colehaans and Ferragamos.  The streets were shiny, much like the streets of Singapore now.

LYRIC Theatre (in the photo below above), 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 River was very clean.  The photographer must have taken this photo (below above)  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.  In fact, I know for a fact that a lot of private yachts would pass through our Pasig River from various parts of Rizal, Malabon and Marikina .  It was beautiful.

Shown is the old Agrifina Circle near the old Congress Building and Manila City Hall …. 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.  My Dad would even bring soldiers sick of asthma from the PAF, so that they could do early morning breathing exercises at 5AM. 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?!

1958 Chevy on the street… 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.

1960 Dodge on the street. Ayala Avenue in Makati City  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, walang smoke belchers, walang tricycles ….

Even Parks like Fort Santiago was much better.  No vendors, no cafe’s.  There was not even an ATM machine.  Malinis ang paligid.

And then, we had more technocrats, more intelligent people educated here and.overseas, politicians who go on junkets abroad and never bothered to implement the advances made in other countries…..

What did we do to our environment ?

Sayang. maswerte kami noon.  Mas na mas maswerte kami noon.  We saw a country that was much cleaner, a much better place to live in and a truly healthy place.

——From a simple Pinoy overseas who loves his dear old Pilipinas…


Napakaganda ng Maynila noong araw. Based on the watermark (bottom right) on the photos, they are copyrighted by Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries, but whoever originally forwarded these via email, thank you very much for sharing. Sayang walang kuha ng Pandacan.


Founding publisher of / Born and raised in Pandacan.

More Posts - Website

28 comments on this topic

  • Andres
    June 24, 2010 at 7:38 am | Reply

    nice one kiko…. i like the old manila… clean and simple, parang new jersey lang :tongue:

  • Andres
    June 24, 2010 at 9:34 am | Reply

    FYI: jeepneys before are also known as AC Jeeps or Auto Calesa Jeeps. The fare in Pandacan per person is PhP 0.10 (that’s from Taft to Beata) cents but on the photo above on the Binondo is PhP 0.15 cents per head.

  • miyong
    June 24, 2010 at 12:32 pm | Reply

    Thanks for sharing. GANDA ng Maynila! Inabutan ko pa Odeon nun. actually a lot of the buildings in the images above are still there, unfortunately, sira sira na ang iba, if not condemn, e kailangan na major repairs. Maganda sana ma restore ung iba for historical value’s sake. Isa pang pinakamahalaga ang revival ng ilog Pasig.

  • Arkanghel_1210
    July 3, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Reply

    Ang GANDA!!!!! Oh, my Gosh! it is very CLEAN, SIMPLE, WIDE (not crowded) And PEACEFUL! i-compare niyo naman ngayon! pwede nang ilagay ang mga pictures ng manila dati and manila ngayon sa SPOT THE DIFFERENCE! :wink:

  • bobtom07
    July 6, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Reply

    Habang pinagmamasdan ko yung mga pictures parang nakakalungkot…
    Ang laki na ng pagkakaiba sa ngayon. karugtong nyan ang laki ng pinagkaiba ng
    ugali ng mga tao noon sa ngayon.
    Medyo mahirap tanggapin pero ang pagiging gahaman ng tao ang dahilan kung
    bakit “MAGANDA DATI” ang buntong hininga natin sa bawat larawan.

  • history dude
    November 9, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Reply

    why do you have to watermark it with pandacan crap when these clearly are archived photos of the University of Wisconsin Libraries you do not own these photos so dont deface it.

  • Sheila
    January 16, 2011 at 11:28 am | Reply

    Hi! Thanks for posting these pictures, I didn’t know that Manila was that clean and spacious 50 years ago. So beautiful. Laidback atmosphere. Now it’s a concrete jungle. But I still love it.

  • jojo recio
    February 3, 2011 at 11:58 am | Reply

    Hi Bro,
    Respectfully asking for your permisssion to use these pics in some of my talk materials.

    • Kiko
      February 4, 2011 at 3:30 am | Reply

      Sure, Jojo no problem. Go ahead. If you want the clean version (without the watermark), I’ll email it to you or add us via facebook (search “Pandacan Pandakan” without the quotes).

  • cholo montes
    March 7, 2011 at 9:15 am | Reply

    I would like to add some more info about your pictures at Jones Bridge..  going to Binondo ang pangalan ng street na yan ay Quintin Paredes-at yun building sa kanan ay” La Estrella del Norte”every hour may madidinig kang” Ding- dang- ding- dong – napakasarap pakingan then sa left naman ay RCA -Insular life building dyan din yun DZRH radio station.,ESCOLTA- the best place to stroll- sayang at wala na sa picture na ito ang ” Syvels – isang sikat na men store–” Dencias kitchen– higit na kilala ang Dencia sa KARE-KARE–at Oceanic Commercial–isang sikat na jewelry store– dalawang sinehan lang ang matatagpuan sa Escolta ang LYRIC at CAPITOL theaters- ang picture ay kuha lang noong mid 60s kung kayat wala ang binanggit ko. at doon naman sa picture na maraming jeepney -ang mga jeep na ito ay patungong Divissoria -ang larawang ito ay sa kanto ng Carriedo at Evangelista street  patungong Avenida Rizal at sa likod ng kumuha ng picture na ito ay Plaza Miranda – Quiapo Church.. Akoy isang NEWSBOY at Gala ko ang buong kamaynilaan kung kayat nailalarawan ko sa inyo ang” KAGANDAHAN”–ng –“MAYNILA””  == cholo17m

  • Andres
    March 10, 2011 at 11:41 am | Reply

    salamat po mister cholo… baka may larawan po kayo diyan na pwede rin natin i-share… you have more knowledge about it, your story is much more accurate than us.

    God Bless po

  • Dodius Reyes
    May 5, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Reply

    hi. im teary eyed na masaya when i saw old manila. unfortunately, for the youth of today, puro mall, internet cafe, electronic gadgets na lng ang ngpapligaya. dati, npakasimple ng buhay. hndi complikado. mas magagalang mga tao. ngayon, mga balahura. tnx for reminding us our beautiful past thru these pics. sana you can send them thru my email.

  • nev
    September 2, 2011 at 9:25 am | Reply

    :cwy: nakakalungkot…

  • Melquisedec C. Reyes
    September 18, 2011 at 12:34 am | Reply

    It was Manila at it’s most heyday! Did you see anyone wearing flip-flops, shorts, spaghetti strap blouse, sleeveless or sando

  • Melquisedec C. Reyes
    September 18, 2011 at 1:21 am | Reply


    Ang mentality ng mga tao noon, as I recall, was if your going to the downtown, parks, public or private places in the city, you must dress appropriately clean and decent. Nakakahiya at walang wala pag naka rubber shoes lng noon, tsinelas pa! 
       Mayor Villegas was the mayor na naabutan ko. I remember the free nutribans, klim, tsamporado, etc. that was free to students. Mayor Villegas sent dentists, nurses to all schools in Manila to treat the students for FREE! I think Mr Villegas was the last good mayor in Manila.
       Why Manila became like this today?…Many reasons, among them are the short-sighted Mayors, past and present, who didn’t have any master plan for the future generations of Manila residents, the Manilenians also – of course not all – who keeps repeating on voting these kinds of traditional politicians for just a day’s meal! 
       It’s not too late, Manila can be great again! With a good cause and a collective efforts of manilenians for the betterment of Manila, we can see those pictures again…back to the future style!

  • Melquisedec C. Reyes
    September 18, 2011 at 1:53 am | Reply

       Guys, naalala nyo pa ba na meron malaking coffee pot at coffee mug sa taas ng building yata ng Jai Alai or Masagana Telamart yata yun, sa Taft avenue, in front of Luneta. It was an advertisement of a chocolate product Hershey yata yun. Yung pitcher (coffee pot) ay gumagalaw para magsalin ng hot chocolate dun sa tasa, back and forth, continuously every lapse of time. Napalaking pitcher nun at tasa na makikia mo from a far distance. Sa bahay namin sa Tomas Claudio, pag pumanhik kami sa bubong ng mga kababata ko, nakikita namin yun! 
       Is there any one of you out there na may picture nun? That was so vivid and alive in my mind that I will never forget about it. I wud like to have a copy of it,…if you don’t mind? Tnx in advance. 

  • Andres
    September 19, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Reply

    @Melquisedec C. Reyes, we will try to find that pic :sideways:

    • ernesto Marcelo
      November 16, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Reply

      Kung hindi ako namamali, yung malaking coffee pot na yon ay sa itaas ng MET building na ginawang Besa boxing Arena nung araw. I used to live in Pandacan at everytime na pupunta kaming Quiapo sakay ng Capistrano Bus at pagdaan sa Lawton amazed  ako sa Coffee pot na iyon. Cafe Puro yata ang cofee company na may ari nun. Sana nga meron kayong picture nun and I would love  to see it again and again kasi nga it represents my childhood days. I’m thankful to see this web page it brings back my childhood memories. God bless

  • amado tee
    July 18, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Reply

    just bump in to your website by chance, it feels great seeing those pics of the past, i was born on 1961 and at the age of 6, i used to tag along with my mother going to Divisoria from Lipa city, its a long ride passing thru calamba, binan etc…no expressway at that time yet, the air is not polluted and our favorite bus to ride in is the BLTB co, second choice is the United Bus Lines, ACME lines and the Laguna Lines, those are the buses plying to manila from batangas with wooden seats and a door in each row, the bus conductor is going out and in of the bus like spider man while collecting the fares while the bus is running… what an experience to treasure..

  • ariel
    January 28, 2013 at 8:05 pm | Reply

    ha ito pala ithura ng pilipinas

  • ruben s. hernando
    February 21, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Reply

    hello everyone. i just came across this site quite by accident, and i was surprised, pleasantly of course, by the photos of old manila. some i have seen before, but still they remind me of the days when i was a young lad, going around these same old places. having a nice time meant going to ideal, avenue, universal or the other theaters to see the latest hollywood films. eating out meant going to sun wah, wa nam, or panciteria moderna for their wickedly delicious dishes. anyone remember rainbow kitchenette? thats a place just near the corner of escolta and plaza sta. cruz. and yes, i remember dencia’s right at plaza goiti, on the other side of echague. whic reminds me, anyone recall clover theater? that’s where german moreno started his showbiz career, first as janitor, telonero, then bit parts. then theres botica boie, not only a drugstore, but a department store and first class toy section. whoo, i can still see the big Robby the Robot on display, selling for a whopping Twenty Five Pesos! That was a HUGE amount way back in 1958.

    • cholo17m
      June 5, 2013 at 6:17 pm | Reply

      Ruben rainbow Kitchen does not exist the only resto-around Escolta near Plaza Sta. Cruz is  Panciteria National which is on the  second floor . this is  how Plaza Sta. Cruz look like during the late 50s. infront of the Church is Panciteria Moderna along Ronquillo st.-Manufactures Bank-Cine Astor (cine Sta.Cruz) near the corner of Dasmarinas st. after this street comes a three story bldg. where Panciteria National  is house -at the ground floor is where you can find the sweepstakes dealer like Manuel Uy- Tagumpay- Marcella Millar -Vasques Office supplies…  then Escolta st. across this street is Roman Santos bldg. at the back of the church which is Plaza Goiti along this plaza is Baesa shoes, American Eagle Bar, Luis Pen shop- PS Bank. At  the foot of Mc Arthur bridge (sta. cruz bridge) is Clover Theater- at the back of this movie house is  Feati university  corner of Echague st.. this street is leading to Quinta Market of Quiapo

    • cholo17m
      June 5, 2013 at 7:56 pm | Reply

      Here’s how ESCOLTA look like -late 50s. from Roman Santos bldg, Plaza Goiti – LEFT side going to Jones bridge–  Burk Bldg. H Alonzo Ent. . Kodak Phil.- USIS (United States Information ) Phil.National Bank- BOTICA BOIE –Madrigal Bldg.(Soda st.) El Tesoro Bazaar .L.R. Villar Records – Ritz Bowling & Billiard – Savory Kitchen-  Capital Insurance.. at the foot of Jones Bridge…….. RIGHT side from Plaza Goiti….Berg Dept. store (Samanillo Bldg) –  T.Pinpin street – Luis Pen Shop (david st. ) Simons Dept store . -Walk Over – Syvels Store– DENCIA Kitchen -Oceanic Commercial – Lyric Theater — Capitol Theater – Hamilton Fashion – (nueva st.) kieruz Bicycle – La Estrella Del Norte .at the foot of Jones Bridge

  • dencio
    February 27, 2013 at 9:04 pm | Reply

    Being born 1960 was a blessing. I was able to see these places as they are pictured . I remember how clean the streets were, how disciplined the people in all walks of life. There were no gitgitan, tulukan or getting ahead of anyone. In short as everybody who were in that era/time, much more disciplined and refine. Someone mentioned the water lilies in pasig river, yes , they were there , a lot including the yatchs that would pass. It was bluish green then not the murky dark brown or greyish color it is now. I remember the BLTBCo. buses cause my mom and I used to take them going to Lemery Batangas, her hometown. We lived in San Juan then and remember the G Liner(yellow/green) that used to ply their routes within. The air was clean, the mornings punctuated by birds chirping and the intermittent noise of car/bus and jeeps. Nowadays, noise is constant be it horn or any kind of transpo passing by. Yes, I miss those days and anyone would. But progress had to be made, albeit at the expense of everything mentioned. There is no going back to the past but definitely someone with the heart and financial means to make the needed changes can make manila “cleaner” for the present generation to say, yes, I was in that time and Manila was “beautiful”……

  • Tet
    December 7, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Reply

    My beloved city, then. Beautiful, peaceful. I was a pretty 19 years old student then. Took jeepneys to and fro days and nights, sometimes the only girl passenger among old and young men, nothing bad happened to me. THANK YOU TO ALL THOSE GOOD MEN. MAY YOUR SONS ARE LIKE YOU.

  • anda
    December 17, 2013 at 8:20 pm | Reply

    I used to remember when my friend and i used to walk near the Opera House just to wait for the stars coming out of the opera house after their play,  it was nice reminiscing all those beautiful days when everyone is happy and the life is so simple, the restaurant near sta cruz church called Sta Cruz automat where they cooked very delicious lomi, ohhh how i love to have it again, it is so yummy and the Goodearth Emporium their special spaghetti with meatballs and chicken sandwich,  of course not to forget the chinese restaurant,   the days were so cool and safe and life is so simple, how i wish we go back to where everyone is living only a simple life without worries,   i am lucky i have been in these times :kissing:something i will cherish for the rest of my life…

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




:alien: :angel: :angry: :blink: :blush: :cheerful: :cool: :cwy: :devil: :dizzy: :ermm: :face: :getlost: :biggrin: :happy: :heart: :kissing: :lol: :ninja: :pinch: :pouty: :sad: :shocked: :sick: :sideways: :silly: :sleeping: :smile: :tongue: :unsure: :w00t: :wassat: :whistle: :wink: :wub:


 Subscribe in a reader

Enter your email address to receive free PANDACAN updates:

Check your email to confirm