the world as I see it

Then and Now – Hotel de Oriente in Binondo

Posted by BCS on September 29, 2008


Partial Map of Binondo (1898) - Courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin (http://www.lib.utexas.edu/).

Some say it was constructed in the 1850s, and some claims it to be the first hotel to be built in the Philippines. But then, in her book “Three Centuries of Binondo Architecture”, author Lorelei D.C. De Viana mentions about Hotel de Oriente being opened some time in January 1889. She also mentioned about a city ordinance issued in 1869 that ordered for structures which are to be built at street corners to have chaflans to allow the easy maneuvering of carriages… and chaflans the Hotel had.

Moreover, the Fabrica de Puros stood on this site until the abolition of the tobacco monopoly in 1880.


Hotel de Oriente in Binondo (1902) - Courtesy of Stanford University Libraries (http://www.lib.umich.edu/).

The Site of Hotel de Oriente as of September 27, 2008

The Site of Hotel de Oriente as of September 27, 2008

Anyway, there’s no doubt that the Hotel de Oriente of Don Manuel Perez was a first-class hotel, and the only one at the time in the entire archipelago.

It had 83 rooms, one of which (specifically Room 22) was where Jose Rizal reportedly stayed upon his return from Hong Kong in 1892. Basing from what I’ve read on www.txtmania.com, Room 22 was one of the rooms located on the right side of the hotel and, as such, would have a view of the La Insular Cigarette and Cigar Factory from its window(s).


Hotel de Oriente in Binondo (1902) - Courtesy of Stanford University Libraries (http://www.lib.umich.edu/).

The Site of Hotel de Oriente as of September 27, 2008

The Site of Hotel de Oriente as of September 27, 2008

Considering that Plaza Calderon de la Barca (now Plaza Lorenzo Ruiz) was already pretty much developed at that time, I was quite surprised when I “saw” the view from one of the windows at the back of the hotel, but I’ll save that for tomorrow’s post.

Last night, as I was doing my research for this post, I stumbled upon NYPL Digital Gallery’s website that had images of Hotel de Oriente’s menus.

For breakfast (menu dated September 18, 1900), it served fresh fruits, oatmeal mush, cream toast, “Findon Haddock”, Spanish Omelette”, “Smoked Chipped Beef in Cream”, sirloin steak and fried potatoes, mutton chops, broiled bacon, “fried mush”, calves’ liver and onions, sugar cured ham, eggs (boiled, fried, scrambled, or poached), boiled potatoes, how rolls, dry toast, graham bread, wheat bread, hot cakes with maple syrup, marmalade, jam, tea, coffee, chocolate, and cocoa.

For lunch (menu dated September 19, 1900), it served cream of cauliflower soup, fried shad in tartar sauce, chicken a la Colorado, pork chops in piquant sauce, curried giblet and rice, baked potatoes, asparagus with durke dressing salad, chicory salad, green onions salad, smoked herring, boiled ox tongue, boiled ham, roast beef, bologna sausage, pumpkin pie, cherry pie, preserved peaches, lunch cake, cheddar cheese, fresh fruit, iced tea, tea, coffee, and chocolate.

Meal hours were 6:30 am to 9:30 am for breakfast, 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm for lunch, and 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm for dinner.

Meals served in rooms were charged with 50 cents extra.

The hotel’s building was later used as the office of Philippine Constabulary, American Circulating Library, Official Gazette, and the Commercial Museum, before being destroyed during the Japanese occupation.

For more (blogs) on Hotel de Oriente, you can visit Señor Enrique’s “Wish You Were Here”, and “Traveler on Foot”.

Note (on the use of old images):

Based on the “Access and Use Policy” on http://www.lib.umich.edu/ (from which I got the old images):

“Users are free to cite and link to digital content without asking for permission.

Users are free to download, copy, and distribute works in the public domain without asking for permission. To determine whether a work is in the public domain, see the section on the public domain of the Copyright & Fair Use site of Stanford University Libraries.”

Regarding “public domain”:

“ABSOLUTELY FREE! MUSIC, TEXT AND ART!! COPY ALL YOU WANT!! If you saw an advertisement like this, you might wonder, “What’s the catch?” When it comes to the public domain, there is no catch. If a book, song, movie or artwork is in the public domain, then it is not protected by intellectual property laws (such as copyright, trademark or patent law) –which means it’s free for you to use without permission.

As a general rule, most works enter the public domain because of old age. This includes any work published in the United States before 1923. Another large block of works are in the public domain because they were published before 1964 and copyright was not renewed. (Renewal was a requirement for works published before 1978.) A smaller group of works fell into the public domain because they were published without copyright notice (copyright notice was necessary for works published in the United States before March 1, 1989). Some works are in the public domain because the owner has indicated a desire to give them to the public without copyright protection.

Regarding “fair use”:

“In its most general sense, a fair use is any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “transformative” purpose such as to comment upon, criticize or parody a copyrighted work. Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner. Another way of putting this is that fair use is a defense against infringement. If your use qualifies under the definition above, and as defined more specifically in this section, then your use would not be considered an illegal infringement.”


30 Responses to “Then and Now – Hotel de Oriente in Binondo”

  1. achie said

    astig! so it’s still the same old fountain? ang galeng!!!
    you might also want to check out this blog: http://nostalgiamanila.blogspot.com/

    ackchurly jan ko nadiscover ang MTV ng Mistake #3 😛

    looking forward to more of yer posts.

  2. Wow!

    Allow me, please, to be the first to congratulate you on this excellent find! Bellissimo!

    I will go back to some of my previous posts which mention this hotel so I could link to this entry of yours.

    More please … hehehe.



  3. […] Then and Now – Hotel de Oriente in Binondo […]

  4. BCS said

    @Achie – Yes, I suppose it’s the same fountain… it does look identical. I’m just somewhat disappointed by the treatment it got from the developers of the plaza. It’s treated like some unwanted old furniture that’s been moved around all over the house hanggang sa itambak nalang sa kung saang bodega, or worse, itapon na. Thanks for the link, I believe I’ve visited that site a few times in the past… 🙂

    @Eric – Thank you sooo much! What you said makes it all worth my while and effort in doing what I did last Saturday. 🙂 Again, many many thanks!

    To the both of you, as I’ve mentioned in my other blog, I have enough material right now to post here for a whole month… so you can expect to see more of this in the days to come. And I hope I’ll be able to gather some more materials as I go along. 🙂 Thank you both. 🙂

  5. BCS said

    By the way, there are two of that fountain on the plaza… both in the same condition.

  6. carlota said

    para ka ng si detective conan. aheheheh.. congrats congrats.

  7. BCS said

    Haha! 😛 Thanks Carlota. 🙂

  8. […] Then and Now – Hotel de Oriente in Binondo […]

  9. ka tony said

    Hi Bryant,

    Congrats on this old map & old photos of Binondo & Hotel de Oriente, these are very rare!!! In the early 60s I saw part of Hotel de Oriente being used as Office office for Bureau of Tax Revenue, though the top floor was destroyed by fire.

    Here’s what I wrote Eric about Plaza Calderon, where the former Hotel de Oriente used to be & where Rizal used to stay & made the house across the hotel as his setting for Noli me Tangere…

    Hi Eric,

    Thanks for featuring once again my historical hometown Binondo! I think my last visit was 12 years ago. I video recorded places I used to hang out, which included the district of San Nicolas.

    I also recorded the house of “Kapitan Tiago” (which I think still with my files) was the setting of Rizal’s Noli. It might have existed or might only be a place in Rizal’s imagination. I’m not trying to disclaim Ambeth Ocampo’s article “The House on Anloague Street” # 175 Juan Luna St. (former calle Anloague), which the owner was Balvino Mauricio, that Rizal used for his Noli’s opening.

    According to Ambeth Ocampo, searching for the “house” they (Mr. Ocampo & Senor Ortiz Armegol, was a Spanish ambassador to the Phil.) crossed “Estero de Binondo.” By crossing the estero from “Plaza Calderon de la Barca” one have to take “San Fernando Bridge” which connects Binondo & San Nicolas. By crossing the bridge from Binondo, one will find himself in the district of San Nicolas. Mr.Ocampo & Snr. Armegol after the bridge, crossed the first street, the tail of “calle Tabora”, next street (they turned left, south) will be “calle Sto. Cristo” perpendicular to calle Barraca (means “barracks”), during Spanish time was cabins for the “marineros” and a shipyard. The end of “calle Barraca” is the Pasig River.

    According to Mr. Ocampo in his previous research revealed that the warehouse # 2 on “calle Barraca” was the site of the hotel “Fonda de Lala” because according to Rizal’s description on the 5th chapter of Noli, “Ibarra returns to his hotel room and looks out the window across the estero into Kapitan Tiago’s house where the party in his honor continues without him”

    Indeed, if one is in hotel “Fonda de Lala” located in San Nicolas, looking beyond “Estero de Binondo” you can see “calle Anloague (Juan Luna St.)”. But its too far, your vision have to pass “calle Tabora”, “Estero de Binondo,” then “calle Anloague” & “calle Ingreso” to view # 175 Juan Luna St. without blocking one’s view, like buildings, houses, trees, etc… Remember “calle Anloague (tagalog word for builder)” was named, because this street was once where one can buy building materials and deal with “carpenteros” had tall buildings & houses.

    Again I’m not disclaiming Ambeth Ocampo, I like his articles & he might be right on his research “site” I’m just suggesting another alternative.

    Now, here’s my father’s research & claim, the house of “Kapitan Tiago” which I agree 100%. Rizal’s description on the 5th chapter of Noli… “Ibarra returns to his hotel room and looks out the window across the estero into Kapitan Tiago’s house where the party in his honor continues without him” Remember Rizal stayed at “Hotel de Oriente” in Binondo before going to Europe & before writing Noli. He also walked two blocks (from his hotel and will cross “calle Oriente” & “calle Condesa”) to attend mass in Binondo Church located on Plaza Calderon de la Barca.

    “Hotel de Oriente” occupied the whole block from “calle Oriente” to “calle Veronica”. “Calle Veronica” few meters will be the “Estero de Reina” & taking the bridge, you’ll be at “Meisic” (Ma Insik). Rizal, looking out his hotel window, will have the view of the Plaza C. de la Barca on his right is “calle Veronica” a corner block meeting “calle Anloague” (Juan Luna). The “bahay na bato” on this corner with a “tisa rojo” was the setting of Rizal’s Noli. The back of this house is the “Estero de Reina” which Rizal mentioned on his Noli that “Kapitan Tiago” & his neighbors used the estero to wash their clothes, dishes, drink, bath etc… # 175 Juan Luna St., “house” does not have a estero at the back!!!

    I hope Eric the house is still there & I hope my Dad’s claim is right. One of my Art Exhibits, which I featured “Binondok” included “Casa de Maria Clara” …


    Thanks once again Eric, this is a long comment, but I hope you & my fellow commentators find this interesting.
    ka tony

    Bryant thanks again & I hope you’ll find this interesting.

    Best regards,
    ka tony

  10. BCS said

    Thank you so much for dropping by Ka Tony, and likewise for your very informative comment. 🙂

    However, I do personally believe that the river mentioned in Noli was “Estero de Binondo”.

    As Pascual Poblete had put it (in his translation of Noli):

    “Guinawâ ang anyaya sa paghapong itó sa isáng bahay sa daang Anloague, at yamang hindî namin natatandâan ang canyang bilang (número),…”

    “Ang bahay na iyo’y may calakhan din, tulad sa maraming nakikita sa mg̃a lupaíng itó; natatayô sa pampang ng̃ ilog na sang̃á ng̃ ilog Pasig, na cung tawaguin ng̃ iba’y “ría” (ilat) ng̃ Binundóc,…”

    Anyway, thank you so much for dropping by, Ka Tony. I hope to see your mark on here again. 🙂

    Best regards,

  11. FJ said

    who is the first general manager of the first hotel ?

  12. … i am so overwhelmed with what you did… may pictures na, meron pang history na kasama… very educational indeed… you have described the place with poignancy that i could actually picture the site in my mind… thank you for sharing.

    • BCS said

      Thanks for your very kind words, Eileen. 🙂 And thank you very much for dropping by. I am very glad you enjoyed this… it makes it all worth my while. 🙂

  13. rogelio said

    its true,yung fountain nung 1902 up to now yun parin nireretouch lng ,maraming beses na binago ang design ng lahat ng bahagi ng PLAZA LORENZO,pero yung fountain hindi kailanman pinalitan.Dito ako ipinanganak sa BINONDO,naging member ako ng LEGION OF MARY sa BINONDO CHURCH at isa sa mga gawain namin tuwing sunday after the meeting ay linisin ang paligid ng PLAZA,ang pagkakaukit at desenyo nito ay pinanatili ayon sa nagkakaisang desisyon ng lokal na pamahalaan at ng simbahan at ng mga residente ng BINONDO,sa dahilang isa ito sa patunay na ang aming lugar ay makasaysayan at may angking kwento sa likod ng mga bahay kastila ,ang mismong simbahan at ang fountain na ito.

  14. rogelio said


  15. I’ve been following your blog for 3 days now and i have to that say i am starting to like your posts.
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  16. randy said

    hmm.. sayang hndi n sana bibago ung hotel like ng luneta hotel.. mas old kc xa, 1902 luneta hotel is 1918 the remaining old french structure dito sa philippines..

  17. Catherine Ramirez said

    .. can I use the picture of old hotel de oriente in my blog.. provided taht i will encaption the source, which is your blog site..? I’m asking for permission pls..

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