A Walk from Postigo to Sampalucan

 

 

Walking southeast from Plaza Roma passing via the left wing of the Palacio del Gobernador is Postigo Street. This street is named after the gate at the end of the road –Postigo de Palacio 

 

 

Postigo de Palacio

 

The Postigo de Palacio was built in 1783 to serve as alley-ways to the palace of Governor General and residence of Archbishop. It can either be used when the highest officers of the colony (archbishop or governor) wanted to exit the walled city unnoticed or to bring someone in without attracting attention. Rizal passed through this gate from his cell in Fort Santiago to Bagumbayan for his execution in December 30, 1896.

 

 

Commonwealth President Manuel Quezon (he was not yet president then but a lieutenant in the Revolutionary Army of Aguinaldo) was held as a prisoner of war when its side chambers were used as prison cells by the enemy during the Filipino-American War.

 

 

The gate open to Bonifacio Drive which was then a seaside promenade leading to Luneta called Malecon Drive or Paseo de Maria Cristina. The Malecon Drive is like the version of Baywalk in those days where Manileños enjoy an evening stroll to a lit up boulevard while music is played by a military band.

  

 

Palacio Arzobispal

   

 

 

Along Arzobispado Street stand the offices of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Manila. On this site once stood the grandiose Palacio Arzobispal –the official residence of the Archbishop of Manila during the Spanish period.  

  

 

An old picture of the interior of the Palacio Arzobispal shows a throne room where the Archbishop received important people and held high profile weddings.

  

 

Yglesia de San Ignacio Ruins and Ateneo de Manila

 

Right at the smack of the Palacio Arzobispal, at the corner of Arzobispo and Anda Streets is the ruins of the second Jesuit church to rise in Intramuros –Yglesia de San Ignacio. 

 

 

The first Jesuit church was located in the Jesuit compound where the Pamantasan ng Lunsod ng Maynila currently stands. The San Ignacio Church was built when the Jesuit returned to the Philippines after being expelled from all Spanish territories.

 

The church’s neo-classical design was the work of Filipino architect Felix Roxas. Its façade consists of two flanking towers and a patio surrounded by wrought-iron grills. 

 

 

The interior is a celebration of the best of local work on Philippine hardwood executed by Isabelo Tampingco and his students. Nick Joaquin noted the San Ignacio to have the most fashionable confessionals in Manila.

 

The Japanese torched the Church in 1945. It took four days to reduce all the magnificent woodwork into ashes.

 

Across the San Ignacio is the school established by the Jesuit order –Ateneo de Manila. The entrance of the old Ateneo was located along Arzobispo. This school for boys began as Escuela Pia de Manila. It was named as Escuela Municipal de Manila when it was surrendered by the Jesuits to the civil government. Upon the return of the Jesuits, the government-run school was handed over to them. The school adapted the name Ateneo Municipal de Manila in 1859.

 

 

Today, there are no traces of the old Ateneo building can be seen on this site. Ateneo de Manila University is now in Loyola Height Quezon City.

 

West of Ateneo is an open lot which was then called the Baluarte Plano Luneta sa Santa Isabel. This area forms a part of the seaside defense.

  

 

Colegio de Santa Isabel and Monte de Piedad

 

Along General Luna street once stood Colegio de Sta. Isabel. It was founded by the Hermandad de la Santa Misericodia (Brotherhood of the Holy Piety) in 1632 as a school for the daughters of Spanish soldiers. In 1864, the school was handed over to the Daughters of Charity.

 

 

A Franciscan friar Fr. Felix Huertas  founded The Monte de Piedad y Caja de Ahorros (while later known as the defunct Monte de Piedad Savings Bank) on the school ground floor of Colegio de Sta. Isabel. The bank lends money to merchants using church funds called obras pias. In 1894, the bank moved to a new building in Santa Cruz Manila.

 

Japanese troops burned the building in 1945. A clamshell-shaped pavilion used for various events now occupies the site.

 

Colegio de Sta. Isabel is now located in the Taft Avenue.

  

 

Plaza Sampalucan

 

Across Colegio de Sta. Isabel is a small park called Plazuela de Sta. Isabel (named after the school) or more popularly known as Plaza Sampalucan.

 

 

Plaza Sampalucan receive its name because of the Sampaloc trees that grew in the empty lot. Legend says that Sampaloc (Tamarind) trees sprouted in the area as a reminder of the Bitter-Sweet Love Story (scandal) that took place in 1621.

 

Today, the Sampaloc trees were replaced with a beautiful garden. A focal point of the park is a sculpture by Peter Guzman. The sculpture was put up by a group called Memorare Manila 1945 in memory of the 100,000 lives lost during the Liberation of Manila.  

 

Information sources: 

Intramuros of Memory by Dr. Jaime Laya

Bonifacio’s Bolo by Ambeth Ocampo

Ciudad Murada by Jose Victor Torres

 

 

Click here for the next related article.

Click here to begin at Plaza Roma

Published in: on January 23, 2008 at 4:18 pm  Comments (1)  
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  1. The monte de piedad was an institution funded in Italy by frasciscans friars in order to help the poor (to prevent them from being prey to loan sharks). It was not the only one. The issue was very important because the Church traditionally prohibited the loan with interest -it was considered a sin- But this aggravated the problem for people who needed the money.
    This way, when someone fall in hardship or needed a small amount of money, he could go to the Monte de Piedad which acted as a charitable moneylender, and received a free loan . In the S XVI this idea spread through Spain. This way Madrid had its own Monte de Piedad, still working, funded in the convent of poor Clares (Las Descalzas Reales) by Father Piquer, chaplain singer of those royal ladies.
    Caja de ahorros (savings bank) came in order to encourage savings paying an interest for the deposit. Its union with the monte de piedad served to pay for the administration expenses.
    To improve commerce, you need banking.
    Felix Huertas was an hero and deserves a statue and a street named after him, like Father Piquer has in Madrid.
    I hope blue Manileños remember their benefactor as he deserves.


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