Just wanted to share one of a couple of rare videos that showcase our beloved City of Manila the way the city used to look back in the 1930s. Both videos are making the rounds of several blogs since they were "discovered" in YouTube's archives recently. What I'm going to do is present each video separately and add some bit of information I know on some of the topics discussed and/or presented.
This first video was part of the "Port O' Call" series produced by a William M. Pizor. Unfortunately, the introduction to the short film failed to show the year it was produced. But judging from the styling of the cars shown on the streets and the way the people dressed, the film must have been taken in the early 1930s at the latest. In addition, at the beginning of the video clip, it showed that the "Cinephone" sound system was used. This system was one of the early sound systems used at the dawn of the talking movies.
The clip showed Manila's then famous Pier 7 (part of Manila's South Harbor) and showed life in nearby Intramuros back in the day when businesses, government offices, and residents commingled within its thick walls. It showed how the Old Bilibid Prison looked and how it was run during those days and gave us a feel for the rather rustic character of the district of Tondo back in those days.
Pier 7 was part of Manila's South Harbor. Manila had, and still has two harbors namely, the Manila North Harbor and the Manila South Harbor. The North Harbor, with its even-numbered piers, is the domestic port that caters to coastwise cargo and passenger ships. The South Harbor with its odd-numbered piers, serves as the international gateway for shipping and trade. I'm not sure if Pier 7 is still in use or service because a review of South Harbor's current active piers do not include it on the list. Maybe the Pier has since been renamed but I can't vouch for that.
The clip also showed elements of the famous 31st Infantry Regiment performing some marching drills outside the walls of Intramuros. This regiment was part of the USAFFE's (United States Armed Forces in the Far East) Philippine Division. Troops of this regiment fought valiantly in the defense of Bataan and a majority of the men did not survive the Second World War.
The Bilibid Prison shown on the video referred to the Old Bilibid Prison on Oroquieta Street in Manila. This served as the country's national penitentiary until 1940 when the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa opened. After most of the prisoners were moved to the New Bilibid Prison, most of the Old Bilibid Prison complex was turned over to the city of Manila and subsequently became known as the Manila City Jail. The whole structure, now decrepit, badly in need of repair and surrounded by shanties, remains as the Capital's city jail.
Founded in 1778, the Hospicio de San Jose Orphanage's mission was to help the poor, disabled, and abandoned. This institution has occupied its current location at the Isla de Convalescencia right off of the Ayala Bridge in Quiapo, Manila since 1810.
My apologies but since I'm a non-smoker, I don't know a stitch about tobacco products. It was never a field of interest to me and thus, I could not share any information on the tobacco products presented on the video. To those of you who have any knowledge on the tobacco products shown, please do not hesitate to enlighten all of us.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed viewing this video. Although short, it succeeds in taking us back to a Manila lost forever to all of us.