National Museum and Post Office Building (Manila City)

The architecture of buildings built during the American occupation of the Philippines tend to be similar, exactly identical, even. So maybe you’ve noticed that the building of the College of Law and the College of Education, facing each other at the other sides of the sunken garden of UP-Diliman, are the same. But we are not talking of the University of the Philippines here.

We are talking about two buildings that are among those which survived complete destruction during the Philippine war started by the Japanese. Manila was declared an Open City to escape total destruction, although the little island known as Corregidor, a few miles off the City of Manila, valiantly fought until April 9, 1942 (this date marks the Araw ng Kagitingan, by the way).

The first building is the Post Office Building, with the refreshing view of the fountain at Liwasang Bonifacio. The other building is the more famous architectural relative — the National Museum. This is a building that I always pass and simply ignore. I realized, when taking the photo up close, that the enormity of the structure cannot be fully appreciated until you stand in front, dwarfed by the gigantic columns.

How to go there? These two majestic buildings are within walking distance from the Manila City Hall. It’s hard to miss the City Hall, with its recognizable Clock Tower. In front of the National Museum is Intramuros. And if it happens that people are more inclined to go shopping, the City Hall is just beside SM-Manila. It’s almost impossible not to see these buildings.

6 thoughts on “National Museum and Post Office Building (Manila City)”

  1. Hi, Fred,
    i thought I’d stop by here first since I love fine architecture. It’s the aesthetic sense that thrills me no end to see grand architecture. I was just in London three weeks ago to celebrate my wedding anniversary with my British husband. unfortunately, London experienced the first arctic snow in twenty years! Anyway, that didn’t spoil our brief visit (we visit the UK quite regularly although London is not usually part of the itinerary). We went to the famous landmarks i.e., Westminster Abbey, and of course the Houses of Parliament in Westminster Palace–and queued to watch the House of Commons Debate in the gallery. (No photos allowed). My question is, do they allow civilians there to watch the proceedings in the Senate or Congress? That would be nice if they did.
    Anyway, back to those Federal buildings you’ve featured. My husband and I were in Washington, D.C. for almost twenty days and believe me, it was fascinating to see all the government installations—-for free–unlike here in Europe that you have to fork out each time you visit a famous landmark! How breathtaking to see those beautifully carved Virginian marble…fabulous. The Capitol Hill and its dome, the Smithsonian Institute, the Pentagon—-we were given this tour by a uniformed soldier walking backwards—but first they have to pass the test and remember at least100 things.
    In the Philippines, we certainly can do the same. We need to promote our government installations, i.e., buildings that they can tour around and learn from, just like your photographs, and really, we need to address the urban planning problem. If all government installations were within walking distance within a two-mile radius, definitely, we would need electric jeepneys or some form of transport to ferry locals and foreigners alike. Although we went at the height of summer to Washington, D.C. there are trolley buses that take tourists around. Fred, we could do the same there, right?
    I still think Filipinos need to be more aware of our own surroundings. I have seen in recent days videos of the MMDA and I can put my hand on my heart and say that Manila is a lot cleaner, more gentrified—lots of lovely trees, pocket gardens, flowering plants, ornamental trees and greenery. That’s a start.
    Oh, to see our capital become a world city in five years’ would be nice. But to see the whole country developed and gentrified would be the icing on my favourite ube delicacy!!! Mabuhay!

  2. Just a little “reality check” with reference to the phrase “buildings built during the American occupation of the Philippines”? HELLO–the Philippines was PART OF THE UNITED STATES from 1898 until July 4, 1946. (No government on Earth ever recognized the “republic,” or self-appointed status as “president,” of Aguinaldo — who went on to distinguish himself as a collaborator with the Japanese during WWII.) During the half-century of U.S. rule, the Americans did more in building infrastructure, developing public education, public health, courts of law, and other areas that improved the well-being of Filipinos than the Spanish ever did in more than three centuries. How absurd and insulting that you would use the same term (“occupation”) for the AMERICAN COLONIAL PERIOD and AMERICAN COMMONWEALTH PERIOD that is used for the brutal WWII period of Japanese rule.

    1. The Americans may have brought a more stable social and economic system to the Philippines, but they also massacred 600 unarmed women and children in the Battle of Bud Dajo. The Americans also were responsible for bombing much of Manila after it became clear that they were going to lose to the Japanese. Some objectivity please, Mr Galstad.

  3. I am looking for a salvageable fighter plane from WWII. I was told there is a P51 near Manila at a museum. Can you give me any info?

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