Pap: Outside Intramuros – Manila, Philippines c. November 1946

Thomas Alexander Piotrowski, Sr._November 1946_Manila, Philippines_22I am guessing this shot was taken in the Intramuros district in the general vicinity of the Pasig River, as that looks like the Manila Post Office at the top right of this photograph, with Taft Avenue running up to it.

My new friend John Tewell, who I’ve asked for help identifying sites in Manila, sent me the following description of just what is contained in my pap’s photo here.  Wow.  There is much more in this picture than what meets the eye. I now feel very inadequate in my identifications and descriptions of these places!

From John: This picture is looking northwest from just west of Padre Burgos Drive that is a northern extension of Taft Avenue. The foreground water is a drainage ditch. In the distance the building on the left is Letran College that is inside the walls of Intramuros. In front of Letran is the Old Spanish Wall of Intramuros. Also in front of Letran is the Quezon Gate that the Americans put through the wall sometime after 1898. The wall in the center of the picture is Baluarte de San Gabriel which is the north east corner of Intramuros. Next going right in the picture is the El Hogar Building. Built in 1914, the five-story building housed the first Filipino financing institution. Next is the First National City Bank building, it was built in 1915. The First National City Bank building was getting in bad condition until very recently. It has been rejuvenated (2011-2012) back as close as possible to the way it was before WWII and the street level part has been made into small shops. These last two buildings are on the north side next to the Pasig River across from where this photo was taken. The Post Office building is out of the picture to the right.



Pap: Finance and Legislative Buildings, Intramuros Walls, Recoletos Church – Manila, Philippines c. 1946/1947

Thomas Alexander Piotrowski, Sr._1946-47_Manila, Philippines_20I’ve been on a little hiatus from my daily photo posts after reaching a frustrating stumbling block in identifying historical sites in Manila.  Thanks to the kindness and knowledge of John Tewell, who is currently posting a collection of historical photographs on Flickr, I’ve now got some clarification.   I highly recommend you check out his Flickr photostream for a ton of historical photographs of Manila, the Philippines and World War II.

Today’s picture is not merely another shot of the ruined Finance Building (center).  In fact, there are a few historical sites in this picture.  On the right is a corner of the Legislative Building.  Like the previous picture showing the couple with the Legislative Building in the background, this picture was probably taken from on top of the Jai Alai building.  Taft Avenue is in the lower right of this picture.  John Tewell pointed out that you can see the walls of Intramuros in the distance, as well as Recoletos Church (established 1608), in the distance between the Finance Building and Legislative Building. I can’t help but notice how desolate and torn up this area looks.

God Only Knows What I’d Be Without Pet Sounds

The Beach Boys - "Pet Sounds"No other album besides The Who’s Quadrophenia has impacted my life more than The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, which was originally released on May 16, 1966.  The album is celebrating its 46th anniversary today.

Songwriter and producer Brian Wilson (with lyricist Tony Asher) created a kaleidoscope of teenage emotions with Pet Sounds: the hopeful romanticism of “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”; the spiritual paean to love and devotion that is “God Only Knows”; the troubling introspection of “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times”; the heartbreaking disillusionment of “Caroline No”; and all the feelings and anxieties that fill the songs in between.

Thank you Brian for this groundbreaking work of pop music.  It is no wonder that this unorthodox pop album has withstood the test of time, with its universal themes of love and heartbreak, brilliant instrumentation and gorgeous Beach Boys harmonies. I love this album so much.

Happy Mother’s Day


Good Vibrations

Tonight I saw all surviving Beach Boys on the same stage together, celebrating the group’s 50th anniversary. I can’t believe it.

Pap: Finance Building Ruins – Manila, Philippines c. 1946/1947

Thomas Alexander Piotrowski, Sr._1946-47_Manila, Philippines_19Here is yet another piece of Filipino architecture ravaged by war.  It is truly sad and unbelievable to see just how  much culture, art and history that the city of Manila lost during World War II.

I had a little bit of difficulty researching this building and trying to figure out whether it was the Finance Building or the Bureau of Commerce Building.  However, I’ve determined (and had a source reasonably confirm) that this building housed the Department of Finance, as it was located right next to the Legislative Building, which housed Congress.  You can see a corner of the Legislative Building in this photograph on the right.  This photo was taken from Taft Avenue looking southwest. The National Museum of the Philippines now houses its Archaeology and Anthropology divisions (also known as the Museum of the Filipino People) in this former Finance Building, located in Agrifina Circle, Rizal Park.   The neighboring Legislative Building is now the National Museum’s main building, as I mentioned in yesterday’s post.

Pap: Legislative Building Ruins – Ermita, Manila, Philippines c. 1946/1947

Thomas Alexander Piotrowski, Sr._1946-47_Manila, Philippines_18I’m not sure who this serviceman and woman are, but they are posed in front of the ruins of the Legislative Building located on Padre Burgos Avenue in Ermita, which is considered the financial, cultural and commercial district of Manila.  This view looks north-northwest down Taft Avenue.   If this shot were wider, we would be able to see the city hall clock tower behind the buildings skirting the right side of the picture across Taft Avenue. This couple is sitting on top of the Jai Alai building, were jai alai games were held.  Jai alai is a sport that involves bouncing a ball off a walled space using a basket-type racket.

Originally designed by Ralph Harrington Doane and Antonio Toledo, the Legislative Building (also known as the Old Congress Building) was originally intended to be the National Library of the Philippines when construction began in 1918.  However, plans changed and architect Juan Arellano was brought in to revamp the design. The building became home to various bodies of legislature throughout the subsequent years when the building was inaugurated on July 16, 1926.  Sadly, this national historic landmark was one of the many architectural victims of World War II.  It’s a little tough to see from a distance in the picture, but you can nevertheless tell that it was severely damaged by Japanese bombing during the Battle of Manila.   The Legislative Building was eventually reconstructed (albeit in a simpler form) by 1950.  The National Museum of the Philippines took over the building in 1997 and converted it to its main building which houses the National Art Gallery along with the natural sciences and other support divisions.