Then and Now – Hotel de Oriente in Binondo
Posted by BCS on September 29, 2008
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.
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).
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.
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”:
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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.
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