1930’S TRAVELOUGE FILM “THE SCREEN TRAVELER: MANILA”
This film is of the series called ‘The Screen Traveler’ which was created by the travelogue filmmaker, Andre De La Varre. It takes viewers through a tour of Manila in the Philippines. Narration is by Paul Devlin (:21). Manila is the capital and largest city in the Philippines (:37) and the film begins with an image of the bay which the Spanish had traveled into in 1570 (:42). This is also the site of the Battle of Manila Bay which took place in 1898 and was where Admiral Dewey and his forces defeated the Spanish Pacific Squadron (:48). In the harbor, a span of the inter-island ships which served some of the archipelago of islands in the area are pointed to (1:03). The Pasig river flows through the center of the city and connects Laguna de Bay to Manila Bay (1:07). As the Philippines had not yet received their independence until 1946, and the commonwealth government was still under the advisory of the US, American and Philippine flags are seen waving together on the stern of the ships (1:14). Cascos, which are small boat like barges are seen crammed in the canal as most of the local trading was conducted through them (1:23). A close up follows of some of the families who worked in them daily (1:31). Manila was considered to be comprised of three sections, the old Tondo district, modern Manila which was born of American development (1:46) and the Intramuros which is the old walled city of the Spanish and includes Spanish-era landmarks (1:49). The Intramuros was constructed on the south shore of the mouth of the Pasig River and it is surrounded by the well-preserved walls which were built in 1590 (2:06). The mote which had once run around the wall, had been filled in by the Americans for sanitation purposes and the area was now used for drills, recreation and for golf courses (2:12). Inside of the bastion of the Royal Gate, rests the Manila Aquarium (2:39). The Puerta Del Parion follows, which was a gate built in 1782 and is one of the most notable in the area (2:43). All of the cities five gates were closed nightly until 1852 (2:49). Remnants of the Spanish rule are represented in the style of the balconies and grilled windows of the area (3:11). A Franciscan church is pointed to which was over 200 years old (3:16) with townsfolk standing outside waiting for service. A close up is shown of some of the women’s traditional attire which included sleeves of cloth from pineapple plants and a long skirt with trains tucked into their belts (3:56). The Manila Cathedral, which is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, was constructed in Byzantine style (4:08). The Tondo district sits on the north shore of the Pasig river and is the most densely populated area (4:16). The area is a contrast of old and new with skyscrapers, modern automobiles riding down wide paved roads and the crumbling ancient walls and narrow crooked streets with the two-wheeled carromatas (4:43). Escolta Street located in the old downtown district of Binondo is the oldest and main business street of Manila (5:10). Rizal Street is shown next as another important road which was named after Dr. Jose Rizal; a Filipino polymath tagged as the national hero of the Filipino people (5:40). A bazaar which included almost exclusively Philippine products, follows (6:22). Carabao (7:29) were used to pull carts and again the contrast between these, horse drawn carts and modern methods of transportation point to the blend of ancient as well as the modernity of the area. Of the four bridges that cross the Pasig, the Jones bridge (8:10) was the newest and stood on the site of an old Spanish bridge. The Plaza Lawton (8:26) sits across from the post office and the legislature building rests on the Plaza Boulevard (8:42). Ermita is the residential sector of the area and includes the University of the Philippines (9:31). The home of the American High Commissioner follows with shots of the patio and garden which hosted social gatherings (10:20). The executive offices and home of the President of the Philippine commonwealth rests on the north bank of the Pasig (10:25). The film concludes with his home which was constructed for Spanish governors and now housed a Philippine executive who directed the home government (10:32).