The residences of New Manila

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.

New Manila

Quezon City’s New Manila district roughly encompasses the barangays of Mariana, Valencia, Damayang Lagi, Kristong Hari, Kalusugan, and portion of Kaunlaran, the residential enclave centered in the barangays of Mariana (where most of the houses featured here are located) and Valencia

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.

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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.

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currently, only 3-4 houses in New Manila that were built more than 50 years ago remain. Here’s possibly one of them located along Doña Juana Rodriguez Ave. (AKA Broadway Ave.)

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Another surviving old house along Gilmore Avenue, this house is actually a house owned by the Commonwealth President and father of Quezon City, Manuel L. Quezon. Built in the 1930’s to be a “summer house”, it is said he stayed in the house for a short while as he was recovering from tuberculosis before World War II. This property is on sale but the Quezon City government is acting on having it stopped and convert it into a heritage site, partly because it is the only surviving house of Quezon that is actually located in the city he founded http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/41185/qc-gov%E2%80%99t-acts-to-save-house-of-founding-father

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.

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The Mt. Carmel Shrine, built in the 1950’s to serve the growing Catholic populace residing in the bustling New Manila neighborhood

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a property located across Mt. Carmel Shrine, this reminds me of the Great Wall or the Intramuros walls, this is said to be another old property though I have yet to find out its owner or the significance of the design on the walls.

This residence along Gilmore Avenue actually served as residence of the Philippines’ first female senator Geronima Pecson, who served in the Senate from 1948-1954. Her descendants still own this property

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Commemorative plaque honoring the Philippines’ first lady senator Geronima Pecson.

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.

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Princeton Residences by SMDC located near the Line 2 Gilmore Station

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North Andrea and Robinsons Magnolia residential towers

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when New Manila was being developed, it was originally subdivided into large parcels of land, which explains the large area of the properties there. As the metropolis’ population grew as well as the demand in real estate, some property owners decided to subdivide their own properties to make way for multi-residential townhouse complexes like this one to meet the demand as well as take advantage of the prime real estate prices in the area

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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

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