20 April, 2009

Postal Heritage Walking Tour

Yesterday, I was one of those who joined the Postal Heritage Walking Tour sponsored by the Filipinas Stamp Collectors' Club (FSCC). I got interested with the tour since I collected stamps before I started collecting postcards. It would be nice to know the history of the Philippine postage.

We were met by Lawrence Chan, the club's tour officer, at the Liwasang Bonifacio. The walking tour kicked off at the Manila Central Post Office. We were lucky enough to tour inside the post office, and we have the whole building for ourselves!

Inside the Manila Central Post Office

Lawrence gave a little history about the building and started to narrate the postage history of the country. He informed us that the Philippines is the first country in Asia to issue stamps, printing and releasing them on February 1, 1854! Now that's something.

After the post office, we headed to the ruins of Aduana or the Customs House/Intendencia, where goods, including mails, were brought from overseas and declared. Boats would navigate the Pasig River and bring goods and mails to the Aduana. It was destroyed by American artillery in 1945 and was restored, but it was completely ravaged by a fire in 1979. Lawrence showed us some stamps that featured the old Customs House.

Aduana Ruins

We then walked the Magallanes Drive to check out the bronze statue of Queen Isabel II, which is in front of Puerta Isabel II. The statue was first erected near the Teatro Alfonso XII (now the Metropolitan Theater) in Arroceros (now Plaza Lawton) on July 14, 1860 and then stayed in front of the Malate Church for some 70 years until Typhoon “Yoling” toppled the statue. Again, Lawrence showed us stamps that featured the statue and also the Queen herself.

Queen Isabel II Statue

Next stop was the Manila Cathedral. The cathedral was also featured in several stamps. Lawrence showed us stamp of the cathedral when its bell tower has not yet been constructed.

Manila Cathedral

We ended the tour by visiting the Postal Museum (the oldest museum in southeast Asia) and Philatelic Library which is located within the Manila Central Post Office compound.
The postal museum is hidden at the third floor of the building of the Security Inspection Services Division and Postal Police Force. Quite hard to find unless you ask the guards where the museum is located. The building also dwarfs the Manila Central Post Office.

One can see lots of stamps on display and items used by the post office including old mail boxes, typewriters, awards, paintings, and philatelic magazines, books and catalogues.

Postal Museum

The exciting part of our tour was that the club was having an auction of not only stamps but also pre-war postcards!! I was even interested in joining the auction, but unfortunately I am not a member of the club. Maybe next time.

Filipinas Stamp Collectors' Club can be reached through Manila P.O. box 2986 or through (02) 735-5001.

Manila Central Post Office Postcard
Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Postcards

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