Escolta is a street in the city of Manila. It is an old world in a center of new development. In the midst of construction, there are pockets of history still lingering in the historic buildings left standing.
From Jones Bridge, formerly called Punte de Espania, take a sharp right. You will be greeted by Savory Chicken House. This kilometer street might be tiny but it is rich in history. For three centuries and a half, this area of Manila was the Makati or the business district of the Manila. The best stores were here. The best theatres were here. If you had a bustling business, you had to have an office in Escolta. At one time, Manila was dubbed “The Paris of Asia” because of the fashionable shops and influx of theatres.
Manila’s Queen of Streets started long before World War 2. In 1594, the tiny street began as a hay field to supply the horses of Intramuros. After the Sangley Rebellion of 1603, Chinese migrants dominated the street and made it into the bustling trade capital. Threatened by the growing number and economic power the Fujian migrants had, they were pushed out by the Spanish to nearby Binondo. The street became a Spanish-centered business capital. But it didn’t get its name until after the Seven Year’s War of 1763. In 1761, the British invaded Manila with the help of the Sepoi or Indians. After the Seven Years War, the Philippines was handed back to Spain. The assigned Governor General of the Brits was Escorted out of Manila through that particular street. So,
After the American War, it had become a place for American Businesses such as Burg’s Department Store, American Bazaar and Clarke’s Ice Cream Parlor.
Present day Escolta is transformed. Many of the old buildings are torn down and turned into a residential or commercial high rise. But there are buildings that refused to budge. One such building is The First United Building. The area once known as Burg’s Department Store has become an artist haven and a start-up ground for fledgling retail business. Thinking of trying a new product? This is the place to try them out.
This place is both a romantic roam and a historic haunt. It has old world charm and a young hippy vibe. When visiting Manila, this is a place to visit. When you do visit, please support struggling artists by talking to them and possibly purchasing their artworks.