MANILA, Philippines — Known as Calle de la Escolta in Spanish colonial period, Escolta Street in Manila was the first financial district in the country.
Created in 1594, the street back then was lined with shops selling imported goods from China, Europe and Latin America.
Escolta was Manila's commercial district until the 1960s when the business shifted to Makati.
As the first financial district, Escolta houses several historical buildings that still stand until today. Can you spot all of them?
Commercial Band and Trust Company Building
Located in Plaza Moraga, the end of Escolta Street, the building was designed by National Artist Jose Zaragoza in 1969. It is iconic with its circular shape and remains to be a landmark in the western end of Escolta.
Though it’s now being demolished, the Capitol Theater is one of the iconic buildings in Escolta. It was once one of the most modern movie houses in Manila that boasted of air-conditioning. Designed by Juan Nakpil, the country's first National Artist for Architecture, and inaugurated in 1935, the theater is prominent for its ornamental sampaguita motif.
Built in 1936, the architect of the building was Fernando Ocampo. The building was home to many prominent tenants such as Philippine Bank of Commerce, Sabater Optical and LR Villar Records and Mareco Recording, which was the first recording studio for Filipino music like those of Ruben Tagalog, Pilita Corrales and the Mabuhay Singers.
The Natividad Building was the old Gaches Building owned by American businessman Samuel Gaches, who headed H.E. Heacock Department Store and founded the radio station KZRH, now DZRH. It was designed by Spanish architect Fernando de la Cantera Blondeau, who infused the building with features of the Beaux Arts style.
Named after William J. Burke, an eminent physician and cardiologist of 19th century, the building was the first in the country to be installed with an elevator. It was damaged during the Liberation of Manila in 1945 and underwent rehabilitation.
It was dubbed as one of the most modern offices in Manila before World War II. The building was rehabilitated and renovated after the war by Architect Fernando Ocampo.
Designed by Juan Luna’s son Andres Luna de San Pedro in the Art Deco style, the building was awarded in 1928 for best office building design. In 1968, the building was bought by First United Building Corporation. Interestingly, the 5th floor was the office of the NV Productions under National Artist for Film and Broadcasting/Broadcast Arts Nora Aunor and the RVQ Productions of the late "King of Comedy" Dolphy. — Video by Philstar.com/Jan Milo Severo, tour courtesy of National Commission for Culture and the Arts
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