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Old Street Names of Manila


Several streets of Manila have been renamed through the years, sometimes without regard to street names as signpost to history. For historian Ambeth Ocampo, old names of the streets of Manila, in one way reaffirmed and enhanced our culture.

Former names of some streets in Binondo were mentioned by Jose Rizal in his novels. Calle Sacristia (now Ongpin Street) was the street where Rizals leading character Crisostomo Ibarra walked the old Tiniente back to his barracks. The house of rich Indio Don Capitan Tiago de los Santos was located in Calle Anloague (now Juan Luna).

Only a century ago, the surrounding blocks of Malate and Ermita were traverse only by Calle Real (now M.H. del Pilar Street) and Calle Nueva (now A Mabini Street) that followed the curve of the Bay and led to Cavites port. Todays Roxas Boulevard was underwater then. Along the two main roads were houses and rice fields punctuated by the churches of Malate and Ermita and the military installations like Plaza Militar and Fort San Antonio Abad. After the Filipino-American War, new streets were laid out following the Burnham Plan. In Malate for instance, streets were named after the US states that sent volunteers to crush Aguinaldos army. Today, those streets were renamed after Filipinos patriots some became key players in Aguinaldos government. It is fascinating to learn that Manilas rich heritage is reflected in its streets. Below is a list of current street names and the little history behind it: Andres Soriano Avenue in Intramuros was formerly called the Aduana, after the Spanish custom house whose ruins stand on the street. The street was renamed after a famous businessman who organized the Soriano y Cia (Cia is not a Spanish surname but an acronym for compania or company). He

began his career as an accountant of San Miguel Brewery. Ongpin formerly called Calle Sacristia after the sacristy of Binondo Church whose entrance is located along the street. It was renamed in 1915 in honor of Roman Ongpin, a Filipino-Chinese philanthropist who also owned an art supply store in the district.

Juan Luna in Binondo was called Calle Anloague, which means carpenters whose shops used to abound the place. It was renamed in the 1913 after the great Filipino painter Juan Luna. Quintin Parades in Binondo is the old Calle Rosario after the districts patroness the Nuestra Seora del Rosario. The street was renamed after the Filipino statesman and lawyer Quintin Paredes. He represented Abra in Congress and became Speaker of the House.

T. Pinpin in Binondo was formerly known Calle San Jacinto, it was renamed in 1913 after Tomas Pinpin, a native of Bataan who learned printing from serving a apprentice at a Chinese press in Binondo. He was the first Filipino printer, who is credited for printing at least 14 books and authored Librong Pag-aaralan nang mga Tagalog ng Uikang Castilla in 1610. His monument was first erected at Plaza Cervantes in 1911 marked the third centennial of the introduction of printing in the Philippines. The monument was later transferred to Plaza Calderon dela Barca. Sabino Padilla is located in Binondo was formerly called Gandara Street, named in 1868 after Governor General Jose se la Gandara who established the telegraph system and Department of Mines in the colony, including the construction of lighthouses. The street was once a residential street of

mansions that became famous for its brilliant social gathering during General Despujols time. It was renamed in 1995 after Sabino Padilla, Judge of the Court of Appeals and later Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. A.H. Lacson is located in Sampaloc. It was named after a former mayor of Manila, Arsenio H. Lacson, generally considered one of the best mayors the city ever had. The street was originally called Governor Forbes, in memory of a popular governor, William Cameron Forbes. He was credited with having carved Baguio out of the mountains, a grandson of American writer Ralph Waldo Emerson. Forbes was supposed to be renamed as Alfonso E. Mendoza. It was not implemented because of RA 6215 which approved in the 1971 the renaming of the street to Arsenio Lacson. The street is still referred to by old folks as, Forbes, pronounced in two syllables as for-bes. N.S. Amoranto Avenue was formerly known as Retiro, after Jose Rizals poem A mi retiro. The street was renamed after the famous politician Norberto S. Amoranto. G. Tuazon in Sampaloc was known to be Balic-Balic after the medicinal plant. The land was donated by the heirs of Gregorio Tuason of the Son Tua clan. Son Tua was a Chinese immigrant who helped the Spaniards quell the rebellion of the Chinese in the Parian district. As a reward, the Spanish government gave him vast tract of lands stretching from Manila up to what we know as Quezon City. M. de la Fuente in Sampaloc was formerly called Calle Trabajo. It was named after Manuel de la Fuente, chief of Police and later mayor of Manila. The street is still referred to by its former name. Legarda in Sampaloc was called as Calle Alix, after Jose Maria Alix, an 1862 magistrate of Manila. Not to many people recall that located at the No. 9 Calle Alix was the original Club Filipino Independiente (later Club Filipino International) was founded. The street was renamed in honor of Benito Legarda, a member of the Mololos Congress and one of the first commissioners of the Philippines to the United States. J. Figueras in Sampaloc was formerly Bustillos after the tragic Governor General Fernando Manuel de Bustillos Bustamante y Rueda. Bustamantes sternness of character and severity of measures led to his murder by an irate mob of clerics. The street was renamed after Jose Figueras who was secretary of labor during the term of President Elpidio Quirino. S.H. Loyola in Sampaloc was formerly called Lepanto, after the famous naval battle of the Lepanto in the Gulf of Greece where Christian forces defeated the Turks in 1571. The street was renamed on March 8, 1973 after Sergio H. Loyola, a Manila councilor and representative of the 3rd district. Gen. Geronimo in Sampaloc was formerly known as Gardenia, after the fragrant white flower known in Filipino as Rosal. It was also once known as Palomar, Spanish pigeon house after in became notorious for being the red light district of Old Manila. The mayor of Manila Justo Lukban deported prostitutes to Davao and renamed the street after General Licerio Geronimo, commander of the famous Filipino force called tiradores that killed Major General Henry Lawton on the Battle of San Mateo, Rizal in 1899. Dos Castillas in Sampaloc, where one end of the street leads to the Dangwa Flower Market was formerly known as Yeyeng. It was renamed to memorialize the unification in 1469 of the two kingdoms in the Castille region of Spain, Leon and Aragon, with the marriage of Leons Princess Isabel to Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Aragon. The union marked the emergence of modern Spain.

R. Hidalgo in Quiapo was at one time lined with exquisite ancestral houses of the old rich. It was formerly called Calle San Sebastian. It was renamed in 1913 after the famous painter Felix Resurreccion-Hidalgo. The street is erroneously marked as Ramon Hildago.

Carlos Palanca Sr. in Quiapo was formerly Calle Echague, after a Spanish Governor General. The street was renamed after the late Carlos Palanca Sr. (Tan Quien Sien by birth) who was the First Chinese Consul to the Philippines. He is credited for building the first Chinese school and hospital in Manila. The prestigious Palanca Awards given annually to talented writers is in his honor.

J. Nepomoceno in Quiapo is known then as Tanduay, derived from the alcoholic drinks manufacturing plant in the area. The street was renamed in honor of Jose Nepomoceno who pioneered the moving picture business and established the Malayan Movies in 1917. G. Puyat in Quiapo was formerly Raon after Spanish Governor Jose Raon. Raon was instrumental in the expulsion of the Jesuits from the country. The street was renamed after Gonzalo Puyat, the furniture maker who was once president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce.

Paterno in Quiapo was formerly known as Noria, the old name was derived from the Arabian word meaning, wheel for irrigation or for drawing water from the well. It was renamed after Pedro Paterno who served as negotiator in the signing of the peace treaty between Filipinos revolutionaries and the Spanish Army in Biak-na-Bato in December 1897, which resulted to the voluntary exile of Filipino revolutionary leaders to Hong Kong. Paterno became president of the Malolos Congress, succeeding Mabini as premier. He founded the Federalista Party during the American era. Arlegui Street in San Miguel was known as Calle San Geronimo. It was renamed after the Filipino property owners in the area, where the first known Colegio Filipino and later called National University, opened in 1902. Martin Ocampo in San Miguel was known as El Dorado. The old name was in reference to the city of gold in the Americas. The street was named after Martin Ocampo, publisher of El Renacimiento and La Vanguardia. Ocampo became councilor and board member of the Manila Municipal Board. Claro M. Recto Avenue stretches from North Port District in Tondo towards Sampaloc. It was formerly called Calle Azcarraga, after Marcelo Azcarraga who served as Minister of War and twice prime minister of Spain. It was renamed after poet-writer, lawyer, and senator Claro M. Recto. Rizal Avenue located, Sta. Cruz districts main thoroughfare and Manilas longest street (running from Carriedo in Quiapo to Monumento in Caloocan) is popularly known as Avenida Rizal named after the Filipino national hero Dr. Jose Rizal. It was formerly known as Calle Dulumbayan, which meant edge of the town or end of civilized territory.

Evangelista Street in Sta. Cruz was formerly called San Pedro in honor of St. Peter. The street was renamed after Edilberto Evangelista, Filipino

engineer who figured in the Battle of Zapote Bridge in 1897. He engineered fortified trenches used by the Revolutionary Army against Spanish attacks. Doroteo Jose Street in Sta. Cruz was formerly Melba Street. The old name commemorates the visit of Nellie Melba, Australian opera singer of that time. In August 6, 1914, the street was renamed in honor of Doroteo Jose, a patriot who suffered persecution for his convictions. He led a group of Filipinos in petitioning the expulsion of Archbishop Payo, predecessor of Nozaleda.

Tomas Mapua Street in district of Sta. Cruz is formerly known as Misericordia. Tomas Mapua is the founder and first president of the Mapua Institute of Technology (MIT) and first registered architect in the Philippines after graduating BS Architecture from Cornell University. Misericordia was taken from the Confraternidad de la Santa Misericordia (Fraternity of Holy Piety) that was founded for charitable purposes in 1594 by Governor Luis Peres Dasmarias. Kusang Loob in Sta. Cruz was formerly called Negros, it was renamed after the Tagalog expression meaning, of ones own accord. A wealthy resident donated a piece of his land for government use. In gratitude, the local government decided to name the street Kusang Loob for the generous deed. M. Natividad in Santa Cruz was known as Evangelista where the famous Teatro Zorilla stood. The street was renamed after Mamerto Natividad, one of the youngest general during the revolution. Tayuman which stretches from Tondo to Sta. Cruz was formerly known as Morga, it was renamed after the indigo plant called Tayum (indigofera hirsute), commonly found in the area. Carmen Planas was formerly Folgueras, after Mariano Fernandez de Folgueras, twice governor-general of the Philippines. The Basi Revolt marred his term. The street was renamed after the first woman city councilor, dubbed as Manilas Sweethear. Magasaysay Street in Tondo was named after President Ramon Magsaysay. It was formerly called Santa Mesa or holy table. The land was originally owned by the La Hermanidad de la Santa Misericordia (Brotherhood of Holy Piety) whose board of directors was known as La Santa Mesa. The street was known earlier as Camatchilehan, after the Kamatsile tree that once shaded its length. United Nations Avenue in Ermita was formerly known as Isaac Peral, in memory of the Spaniard who successfully experimented on a submarine in the post of Cadiz in 1889. The street was renamed United Nations Avenue in 1962 to marked the 17th anniversary of the United Nations. A. Villegas Street is located in Ermita. A portion of Arroceros is renamed after Antonio Villegas, who assumed office after the death of Mayor Lacson. Calle Arroceros was a derivation of the Spanish word arroz or rice, referring to the cargo being docked in the vicinity by cascos from Laguna. Padre Faura in Ermita was formerly called Observatorio, it was renamed after the Jesuit Fr. Federico Faura, who conducted meteorological studies leading to the invention of the Faura barometer which indicated the proximity and intensity of typhoons. The invention won him international fame. He played a major role in establishing the Manila Observatory and the Philippine Weather Bureau. T.M. Kalaw Avenue located in Ermita was formerly known as San Luis. The street was renamed after Teodoro M. Kalaw Sr., the editor of the El Renacimiento and director of the National Library which also stands along the street. Engracia Reyes Street in Ermita was formerly called Arkansas. It honor Engracia Reyes founder of the Aristocrat chain of restaurants. Dr. A. Vasquez in Ermita was formerly Wright Street. It honor Dr. Antonio Vasquez, physician and surgeon. He served the University of the Philippines College of Medicine. General Luna in Ermita was formerly known as Nozaleda, it was renamed after the Filipino general Antonio Luna. The street runs through Rizal Park (of which a part if formerly known as Nozaleda Park) to Intramuros.

Pedro Gil Avenue which branches from Roxas Boulevard in Ermita to President Quirino in San Andres was formerly known as Herran Street, after Jose dela Herran, a captain in the Spanish Navy during the 1898 Battle of Manila Bay. Pedro Gil was a member of the 1930 independence mission to the United States together with Osmea, Roxas, Montinola and Tirona. Gil was later elected to the first National Assembly and became chairman of the committee on city government. Roxas Boulevard that stretches from Ermita towards Pasay City was known as Harrison Boulevard until 1915, when it was renamed as Dewey Boulevard, after the American Commodore who destroyed the Spanish Navy during the Battle of Manila Bay in 1898. After World War II, the long road was given its present name in memory of the first president of the post-war republic, Manuel Roxas. Taft Avenue was formerly Columbia Avenue, it was renamed after the first American civil governor of the Philippines, William Howard Taft. Taft later became the President of the United States and Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court.
Information source: Daluyan: a Historical Dictionary of the Streets of Manila

Possibly related posts: (automatically generated) Thank You Filipinas Magazine For The Positive Review Central Station, LRT, Manila Published in: Old Manila on July 10, 2008 at 3:36 pm Comments (30) Tags: A.H. Lacson, Andres Soriano Avenue, Anolague, Avenida Rizal, Azcarraga, Bustillos Sampaloc, calle Alix, Calle Rosario, Calle San Sebastian, Calle Tanduay, Carlos Palanca Quiapo, Carmen Planas, Doroteo Jose, Dos Castillas, G. Tuason, Gardenia, Isaac Peral, J. Figueras, J. Nepomoceno, Juan Luna, Legarda Avenue, Lepanto, M. de la Fuente, N.S. Amoranto, ongpin, Padre Faura, Pedro Gil, Quintin Paredes, R. Hidalgo, Raon, Recto Avenue, Rizal Avenue, Roxas Boulevard, S.H. Loyola, Streets of Manila, T. Pinpin Street, T.M. Kalaw, Taft Avenue, Tayuman, Tomas Mapua Street, traveler on foot, United Nations avenue

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30 Comments Leave a comment.


1. On July 15, 2008 at 3:58 pm juanwesley Said: This is really helpful! Im working on early 1900 manuscripts pertaining to the history of Methodist work in Manila and a lot of old street names do get mentioned. Now I can easily look this up as quick reference. Thanks! Reply 2. On July 15, 2008 at 4:26 pm traveler on foot Said: Im that this article was able to help you with your endeavor juanwesley. If you wanted to know more about Manilas rich heritage as reflected by its street, may I recommend that you visit the National Historical Institute located along T.M. Kalaw Avenue and acquire the book Daluyan. The book has a comprehensive listing of street names and a detailed history behind it. Good luck on your project! Reply 3. On July 17, 2008 at 4:14 pm juanwesley2000 Said: Thanks! Im in the U.S. right now, but I did request Daluyan from another library. Do you happen to know where the actual location of Teatro Filipino in Calle Echague is? Thanks again! Reply 4. On July 18, 2008 at 2:44 am Don De Alban Said:

Interesting and informative post! Thanks for sharing this. Ive been wondering about the origins of other Philippine place names tooe.g., Tagaytay, Diliman, etc.would you happen to know a good reading material on this? Reply 5. On July 18, 2008 at 2:18 pm traveler on foot Said: Thanks for visiting the site Don. I just know that Tagaytay received its name from a legend involving a father and son while hunting the forest down the slopes. According to the legend, the father was attack by wild boars.The son threwn in a jungle knife (taga) and cried taga itay (Itay is father). His echo was heard through out the forest by Spanish conquistadors. Thus naming the place Taga-ytay. This is pre-empting the next article Im about to post about Tagaytay. Reply 6. On July 18, 2008 at 6:45 pm Isabelle Said: Your first comment is spot-on! It wouldve have been really ideal if all the original names were kept for that sole purpose. Its really too bad that some people especially those in power, dont see the significance in all this. So much of our heritage could be unearthed and embraced from questioning the the origins of something as seemingly insubstantial as street names. Reply 7. On July 20, 2008 at 4:02 am ynchaustti Said: Impressive and very helpful. Reply 8. On July 22, 2008 at 3:00 am patrick Said: very informative. i enjoyed and im amazed. ive always imagined Manilas street signs to have two names.. one with the original names, i.e. Calle Real in an intricate, antique style of frame and above it is the new name, however, in an original-Filipino design concept. UNLIKE, the green-white thing, patterned after US, I surmise.. ive always hated it. Reply 9. On July 22, 2008 at 5:06 pm traveler on foot Said: Thats a great idea Patrick.Having two street signs indicating the old and the new name. Similar on what they did to some streets in Intramuros where the old name were embossed on the wall while the new name is written in a modern looking signpost. However, what I would really appreciate is for those in-charged in renaming the streets to consider the historical and cultural value attached to the streets of Manila. Reply 10. On July 22, 2008 at 5:11 pm traveler on foot Said: Thank you ynchaustti. I hope to hear more from you. Reply 11. On August 5, 2008 at 1:33 pm royefarol Said: this is a very educational site.my son and i have a good time together visiting places we usually go to everytime we take our train day from tutuban to fti and back and lrt-from monumento to baclaran and in between carriedo and avenida. thanks alot for this wonderful tour site of manila. best regards and all the best wishes. thanks again. Reply 12. On August 5, 2008 at 2:21 pm eric aka senor enrique Said:

Great information! I just wish that theyd revert to the former names instead of glorifying these has-been politicians and super rich industrialists. Reply 13. On August 5, 2008 at 4:14 pm traveler on foot Said: Wow! I think a train ride is an interesting and exciting way to discover Manila royefarol. Thank you for sharing this idea. Same here, I also take my son to different places in country and we have a good time together. I appreciate the feedback. Reply 14. On August 5, 2008 at 4:21 pm traveler on foot Said: Glad to hear from you Eric. Well I think too much importance given to politics than to our heritage and culture that authorites would choose to grossly change the historical name of a street to the name of a politician or a businessman. This attitude has to be rectified for heritage sake. Reply 15. On October 6, 2008 at 8:54 pm Pepe Alas Said: Dos Castillas was renamed to memorialize the unification in 1469 of the two kingdoms in the Castille region of Spain, Leon and Aragon the union marked the emergence of modern Spain. Amigo, I just learned of this a few minutes ago from a Spanish gentlemen (Sr. Ramn Perdign) who is a co-member of the yahoogroup to which I belong. He wrote no hay tal cosa (there is no such thing). Heres the rest of his text (with my translation below it): A tiempo del matrimonio de Isabel de Castilla (reina de Castilla, no de Leon) con Fernando de Aragn, el reino de Castilla se extenda por los dos tercios occidentales de Espaa desde Galicia, Asturias y Vizcaya hasta las costas de Andaluca. Para ver la razn del nombre de Dos Castillas hay que mirar al contexto urbano de Sampaloc que se desarroll en el primer tercio del siglo XX: hay un grupo de calles con nombres de regiones espaolas, y una de las calles se llam Dos Castillas porque entonces haba dos regiones en Espaa llamadas Castilla la Nueva (lo que es hoy Castilla-La Mancha) y Castilla la Vieja (la parte oriental de lo que hoy es Castilla-Leon) , de ah vino el nombre Dos Castillas. (At the time of Isabel of Castilla {queen of Castilla, not of Len} and Fernando de Aragns marriage, the Kingdom of Castilla was spreading over two-thirds of Western Spain, from Galicia, Asturias, and Vizcaya up to the coasts of Andaluca. To realize the origin of the name Dos Castillas, it is necessary to look at the urban context of Samploc which developed in the first third part of the 20th century. There is a group of streets with names of Spanish regions, and one of the streets was called Dos Castillas because then there were two regions in Spain called Castilla la Nueva (what is today Castilla La Mancha) and Castilla la Vieja (the oriental part of what today is known as Castilla y Len), hence came the name Dos Castillas. Saludos! Reply 16. On October 9, 2008 at 3:39 am Nicky Said: I think Nozaleda (General luna today) was named after an Archbishop of Manila Reply 17. On October 9, 2008 at 4:11 pm traveler on foot Said: youre right Nicky former name of Gen. Luna was named after the Archbisshop of Manila Reply 18. On November 25, 2008 at 1:49 am JP Said:

Good evening! I was reading your list of names of old streets. Just so youre aware, Retiro, currently NS Amoranto, was the name of the street that lead many souls to go on a retreat from Intramuros to the church of San Francisco del Monte in Quezon City. The street was meant to serve as a reminder to many that the street lead to a place of solace and retreat that priests, missionaries, martyrs, politicians and church officials would go to avoid the crazy noise of the city. The church of San Francisco del Monte, as you have mentioned in one of your articles was the reason why that street existed. It ends up at the current Talayan Hills Subdivision. From the street, one would have to cross the creek and climb the hill to the place of retreat. You might want to expound on that write up of yours. Cheers! Reply 19. On December 19, 2008 at 1:35 pm zeitgeist Said: thanks for the information! great help! I have this homework for my Rizal subject and we need to take photos of streets named after characters in Noli and El Fili which I already did. hmmm do you know any facts about how the city of manila came with that idea? thanks! Reply 20. On December 28, 2008 at 9:38 am Michael Towers Said: Does anyone know the current names of Tennessee and Pennsylvania Avenues in Malate? Reply 21. On January 3, 2009 at 7:48 am RUBEN S HERNANDO Said: Very helpful and informative. I was, even in my teens one of those who feel that Manilas streets should remain as they were originally named. If only the original names of Magdalena, Bangkusay, Requesens, Tayabas,Misericordia, Mayhaligue and so many others can be known, plus their current names, then we can see how self serving and short sighted our politicians can be. I propose a movement to initiate actions to make our congressmen revert all of Manilas streets to their former names. Reply 22. On January 21, 2009 at 6:21 am anthony Said: Pennsylvania Street is now called Leon Guinto St. I dont remember Tennessee. I will purchase Daluyan later if I manage to reach NHI before 5pm. Reply 23. On January 23, 2009 at 3:41 pm jessie a angeles Said: do u know that a street in tondo now called Zaragosa was the old mamante strret??? Reply 24. On January 23, 2009 at 3:47 pm jessie a angeles Said: san antonio street in tondo manila was called el mabato during the pre war due to rocks and pebbles was present in the area and according to the old people settle in the area that the place was body of water close to break water and was just filled with sands and soils to erect houses, by the way 2 members of the katipuneros are from mamante. Reply 25. On February 15, 2009 at 11:35 pm Michael Towers Said: thank you, Anthony Reply 26. On March 24, 2009 at 1:16 am Michael Towers Said: To answer my own question, Tennessee Avenue is now Gen. M. Malavar Reply 27. On April 30, 2009 at 8:59 am Efren Alawi Said: We are doing a research work on ALCANTARA STREET in Sampaloc, Manila. Why was the street named after Alcantara? What accomplishments did Alcantara contribute to give him the honor of naming a street after him? Reply

28.

On July 15, 2009 at 9:19 am manilagirl Said: Wow, this is such an interesting article because I pass by these streets on the way to work everyday and wonder who those people whose names are on the streets signs are. Another major street with a name change is A. Mendoza which I understand was formerly known as Andalucia. Reply

29.

On September 5, 2009 at 3:19 am lisette Said: thanks,very helpfulmy daughter needed it for her homework..its funny because they cant find it on the web. shes blaming the internet cafe (there in QC) because mabagal mama yung computer, she saidthanks Reply On September 8, 2009 at 8:27 pm traveler on foot Said: I am glad to know that one of the articles Ive posted was able to help your daugther lisette. Reply

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