During the American colonial period in the Philippines, particularly during the 1920’s-1930’s, the country’s capital city Manila was experiencing unprecedented progress and commercial expansion. Along with it came the creeping problems brought about by such progress, though back then, they were as grave as they are today.
For Manila’s upper and middle class families, these changes brought out much stress that they consider moving to Manila’s outskirts or suburbs instead. This was not left unnoticed by the property developers of the time as they scrambled to develop what was then a vast wilderness found a few kilometers outside the city limits.
Part of this development became what was known as New Manila, a vast area of lush greenery, elevated topography with a hilly terrain, and, more importantly, a serene environment away from the bustling commercial activity in the city, not to mention of the area’s cool climate owing to the greenery and its terrain. Soon enough, a number of Manila’s families belonging to the upper class found themselves setting up their residences in this particular district.
New Manila’s residential boom came after World War II as it had left Manila in total decimation. As the city was undergoing massive reconstruction efforts, many Manila families decided it would be best to relocate elsewhere outside the city to start a new beginning. New Manila became a bustling residential suburb, and it would not take long before commercial activity would sprout in this area.
In recent years, a new wave of development has begun in New Manila as property developers scrambled anew in developing the district, with a number of them putting up condominiums or residential high-rises standing out in this once-quaint district, not to mention the rise of low-level developments as well like the townhouses. With all these changes, there’s no avoiding the inevitable loss of some of the charm this old neighborhood used to have that attracted families of the old to live here. Some old houses and structures eventually had to give way to newer structures espousing modern architecture.
Yet somehow, New Manila was able to keep its “residential flavor,” so to speak, as it strives to preserve whatever identity it has left while keeping in tune with the changes of today. For a foreseeable future at least, the quiet old neighborhood of New Manila will live on.
© The Urban Roamer