Share this page:
Five years have lapsed since the second edition of this volume was issued, and epoch-making changes have taken place in Manila since then. In revising the book, the principal effort has been to give the new Manila special prominence, to impress upon visitors that while this "Pearl of the Orient" still retains all the romance and poetry of old, it has at the same time joined the ranks of the world's big business centers.
Whole blocks of old ramshackle buildings, whose only romance was their age, have been torn down and replaced by modern structures of strong material more adapted to this era. New streets have been constructed and more are in course of construction or have been planned. The Bureau of Health has performed wonders, and epidemics of all kind have forever been relegated to the past. Manila's new docks are up-to-date and afford room for the biggest ocean liners afloat. Such new government buildings as the General Hospital and the Bureau of Science are models that even big cities in the United States might copy. Manila is doubly attractive: on account of its moderness and on account of its antiquity.
With all the sweeping changes that have so rapidly transformed Manila to a modern business center, the city still has romance and poetry in abundance: in its many ancient churches, the medieval battlements and forts, the century-old Spanish houses, and the scenic beauty of the surrounding country. A quiet trip up the tranquil waters of the Pasig River is productive of peace and repose to a restless soul. The picturesqueness of the small native houses along the banks brings out a sense for the beautiful even in those whose highest ambition is three substantial meals a day. The intense silence of the majestic mountains fills us with awe and makes us feel how little we really are in the tremendous expanse of a creation. A few minutes, and we are out of the rush of the business section of the city, on the Luneta where three evenings a week Manilans gather to listen to the soft strains of the famous Constabulary Band, and from where one obtains a few view of the ships riding at anchor in Manila Bay. Sunset on Manila Bay is one of the most beautiful sights imaginable. As the sun disappears behind the tall mountain peaks on the opposite shore, the sky turns purple and gold, and the silent waters of the Bay assume the dignified seriousness of the night. The spectator falls into a trance of wonderment, overawed by the overwhelming display of kaleidoscopic beauty of nature.
"Oh, East is East, and West is West,
And never the twain shall meet...."
is not true of Manila. They have met here, met under the proud folds of the Star Spangled Banner.
Share this page: