Last Updated: November 13th, 2018
Before the rise of Ayala’s brand of business districts in the country, Escolta was once considered to be the country’s premier financial district. Having housed the Manila Stock Exchange and the country’s largest department store, Escolta is now a far cry from its glory days.
After the Battle of Manila in 1945, the long stretch of this historic street has never fully recovered. Heritage advocates, however, started a campaign to turn Escolta into one of Manila’s tourist spots. Although that goal remains unrealized, a visit to Escolta is worth the walk and the long commute to check out the remaining heritage structures that survived the Second World War.
Built in the 1920s, Natividad Building was designed by Philippine-born Spanish architect Fernando de la Cantera Blondeau. Having been spared from total destruction during World War II, it was later purchased by Don José Leoncio de León and is one of the remaining buildings in Escolta that represents the beaux-arts style of architecture.
Built in the 30s, the Capitol Theater in Escolta was designed by Juan Nakpil, the first National Artist for Architecture. Its original interior spaces made use of Sampaguita, the Philippine national flower, as its central motif.
With the rise of mall culture and consumerism in the Philippines, the theater eventually closed its doors as modern theatergoers prefer cinemas inside air-conditioned malls.
Read in full: 9 Facts About The Capitol Theater in Escolta
Built in 1938, Calvo Building was named after its owner Doña Emiliana Mortera de Calvo. It is one of the few buildings designed by Fernando Hizon Ocampo whose famous works include the Arguelles Building, Paterno Building (now the FEATI University), and the restoration of the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros.
Similar to Natividad Building, Calvo Building incorporates the beaux-arts style of architecture in its design.
Read in full: 5 Things to Know About The Calvo Building in Escolta
Burke Building was named after Dr. William Burke, a professor at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila and was one of the pioneers of cardiology in the Philippines. This heritage structure was built in 1919 and was designed by Tomas Arguilles.
While it claimed to house the first elevator in the Philippines, this feat is also asserted by other structures including the Miramar Hotel along Roxas Boulevard.
First United Building
Previously known as the Pérez-Samanillo Building (Edificio Luis Pérez Samanillo) after its former owner Luis Perez Samanillo, First United Building was designed by renowned Filipino architects Andrés Luna de San Pedro and Juan Nakpil.
With its rectangular form, geometric decoration and straight lines, the building is a perfect example of the Art deco architectural style that was prevalent during the 20s and 30s.
Designed by renowned Filipino architects Andrés Luna de San Pedro and Fernando H. Ocampo, Regina Building was originally known as Roxas Building when it was owned by the prominent Ayala-Róxas family.
After the building was sold to Don José Leoncio de León, the same man behind the purchase of Natividad Building, he decided to rename both properties after his wives. Regina Building after his first wife, Regina Joven Gutiérrez Hizon de León, and the Natividad Building, after his second wife, Natividad Joven Gutiérrez de León, the sister of his first wife.
Don Roman Santos Building
Originally built in 1894, Don Roman Santos Building was designed by Don Juan de Hervás and first served as the headquarters of the Monte de Piedad Savings Bank. The building incorporates Neoclassical and Renaissance architectural style in its design and is one of the few buildings that survived the Battle of Manila in 1945.
The building is currently owned and occupied by the Bank of the Philippine Islands after their acquisition of its former owner, Prudential Bank.
The Manila Project
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