10/19/15

A Legacy in Power and Transport: the Museum of Meralco History

Having been a major and vital player in the lives of Manileños and those living in the nearby provinces, there is no doubt that the Manila Electric Company (popularly known by its acronym Meralco, something we’ll get to a bit later) has contributed much to the city’s development for more than 100 years.

While we may know Meralco today as a utility providing the electricity needs of a bustling metropolis as ours since 1903, Meralco was more than just a power utility firm. And there is no better way to understand its rich and interesting legacy than a visit to its museum located within the Meralco compound in Ortigas Center.

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01/1/15

Meralco’s Bright Christmas

Christmas Day and New Year’s Day may have passed, but until the feast of the Epiphany or the Three Kings, (though they’re not actually kings but Magi or Wise Men) it still is a good excuse to still celebrate the Christmas season. And if you are looking for a place to celebrate the last days of the Christmas season, then you may consider visiting the Meralco Complex along Ortigas Avenue and check out the Liwanag Park.

For all evenings during this Christmas season until January 19, the area surrounding the Meralco headquarters has been converted into this mini theme park of sorts that is illuminated with hundreds of multicolored bright lights. After all, it’s not called Liwanag Park for nothing. Continue reading

10/10/14

Reminiscing the Tranvias

Currently, the metropolis is facing serious issues as far as its transportation network is concerned. There is the issue of too many jeepneys plying the metropolitan roads which contribute to the constant heavy traffic the city has been suffering. Then, there is the unreliability of the current mass transit network, particularly that of the Line 3 along EDSA. I suppose I no longer have to elaborate further on that one.

These issues are rooted in a stark and sad reality: the current metropolitan transport system is unorganized and in disarray, needing of a long-overdue total overhaul. What’s even more sad is that it was not always like this. In fact, before World War II, Manila had an extensive and efficient transport system that linked different parts of the city and beyond which consisted mainly of mass transport streetcars that were known here as the tranvias

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02/11/12

Heritage endangered: the old MERALCO Building at San Marcelino Street, Manila

Last weekend, the Internet and Manila’s heritage community was rocked with a shocking development: the demolition of a heritage structure along San Marcelino Street in Ermita, Manila near Adamson University. The structure in question being the old headquarters of MERALCO, or the Manila Electric Rail and Light Company as it was first known.

First established in 1903 from the franchise given by the American government to an American businessman named Charles Swift to operate the city’s planned electric tramways or tranvias, MERALCO established its first offices in San Marcelino 2 years later, serving as a depot of sorts for the tranvias they operate.

The MERALCO Head Office in San Marcelino during its heyday (courtesy of www.ivanhenares.com)

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