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.
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):
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