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Then and Now – La Insular Cigar and Cigarette Factory

Posted by BCS on October 2, 2008

Facing the façade of Hotel de Oriente, one would see, to its right, the La Insular Cigar and Cigarette Factory which, according to the Hyman’s National Cigar Museum’s website, was established in 1883.

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Hotel de Oriente (left) and La Insular Cigar and Cigarette Factory (right) in the early 1900s - Courtesy of University of Wisconsin Digital Collections (http://uwdc.library.wisc.edu/)

The site of Hotel de Oriente and La Insular Cigar and Cigarette Factory as it is now (photo taken on September 27, 2008)

The site of Hotel de Oriente and La Insular Cigar and Cigarette Factory as it is now (photo taken on September 27, 2008)

In the book “Three Centuries of Binondo Architecture”, author Lorelei D.C. de Viana mentions that La Insular Tobacco and Cigar Factory (La Insular Cigar and Cigarette Factory?) was established by Don Joaquin Santamarina and his associates Don Luis Elizalde and Don Manuel Clemente (upon the advice of Don Enrique Dominguez) after the government monopoly on tobacco was abolished.

Note: I am inclined to believe that the correct name of the factory was “La Insular Cigar and Cigarette Factory” basing on two court cases I found online. (G.R. No. L-8169 December 29, 1913 and G.R. No. L-5021 July 31, 1953).

The lot on which the factory was built was once home to the old convent of Binondo. It was part of a greater lot that originally included the area occupied by the Fabrica de Puros. This huge piece of land was divided into several parcels and sold at a public auction after the tobacco monopoly was abolished in 1880.

The piece of land on which Fabrica de Puros stood was bought by Don Manuel Perez and, on it, built his Hotel de Oriente. On the other hand, instead of a new convent, the La Insular Cigar and Cigarette Factory was constructed on the parcel of land situated between the church and the old Fabrica de Puros.

The designer of the La Insular Cigar and Cigarette Factory was Juan Jose Hervas y Arizmendi, a Spanish architect, who was then the municipal architect of Manila.

Unfortunately, the building was destroyed by fire some time in 1944.

Note (on the use of the old photograph contained herein):

From the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections website (where I got the old photograph from):

“The University of Wisconsin Libraries generally do not own the copyrights to materials in their print and electronic collections. Consistent with their public university mission, the Libraries encourage the use of content in these collections for study, research, and teaching.

“Most works published after 1923 are protected by U. S. and international copyright laws. The publications of the United States government are not copyrightable and may be freely copied and/or re-published.

“Fair use of copyright-protected works for study, research, and other purposes does not require the permission of the copyright owner provided that the use meets the standard specified in Section 107 of the U. S. Copyright Law.

“Copyright in the compilation, electronic format, and descriptive material for the digital collections created by the University of Wisconsin Libraries is retained by the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents. Copyrights for individual items and images in the UW Digital Collections may be owned by other individuals, publishers, or institutions.”

8 Responses to “Then and Now – La Insular Cigar and Cigarette Factory”

  1. achie said

    ang galing naman!

  2. Beautiful buildings! Makes one imagine how grand Manila was at that time.

    Kudos on your research. Bravo!

  3. BCS said

    Thank you very much, Achie, Eric.🙂

  4. carlota said

    i don’t understand the copyright laws and all those things… but its wise of you to take time to understand it.. aheheeheh.

  5. BCS said

    The general provisions of copyright laws are quite easy to understand.🙂 Maigi na yung nakakasiguro.🙂

  6. good job said

    I happened to see some of the locations that you have in our library and the question that has been boggling my mind as to where these sites are at present time were not just answered through pictures but the historical background and evolution of the place that you have written helped in my better understanding. Thank you very much! Keep up the good research!

  7. Isis said

    I’m curious to find out what blog platform you have been working with?
    I’m experiencing some minor security problems with
    my latest site and I’d like to find something more secure.

    Do you have any solutions?

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