Sunday, September 21, 2014

Day 1 - Manila Hotel

We arrived to the hustle and bustle that is Manila, Philippines. Lots of horns honking, languages we could not speak, people soliciting our business, taxis, vans every form of transportation you could imagine. We trusted the nice lady as we excited the airport doors to ground transportation as she looked so official with her security uniform and her huge badge of credentials hanging around her neck. She told us which service to take and let me know that if we rode with them "you will be safe!" What she really meant was if you ride with us we will charge you two to three more pesos than it should really cost. The Filipino people sure do love to see Americans as they can make a few extra bucks on our ignorance. However it was all good. We arrived safely at the Manila Hotel.

Our accommodations were wonderful. However it is very strange to them to provide double beds or to sleep more than two people in a room. So Scott and I had single beds and Kenzie was provided with a roll-away for her first nights sleep in the Philippines. We were so surprised with how beautiful our room was.

When daylight came we loved the view from our hotel room window. It overlooked the Manila Bay.


Manila Hotel Through the Years
The Manila Hotel which opened in 1912 and extensively remodeled in the 1970s, is a Philippine landmark, home to high society and often a scene of historic events.
1898- Judge William howard Taft issued of the first decrees of the Second Philippine Commission to create an urban plan for Manila. Architect and the city planner Daniel Hudson Burnham drafted a wide and long tree-lined boulevard that would begin at the park and at the spit's end of the bay, a boulevard that would be dominated on one end by a hotel.
1908- William Parsons was appointed to continue where Burnham left off. He supervised the design and construction of Manila Hotel and was completed four years later. Soon, a magnificent, white, green-tile-roofed California Missionary-styled edifice emerged housing 149 spacious ang high- ceiling rooms. Since then, it is a hotel that commands the best westward view of Manila's fabled sunset, the fortress of Corregidor, the poignant ruins of the medieval fortress that was Intramuros, and the palm-lined promenades of Luneta Park.
July 4, 1912- On the commemoration date of the American Independence, Manila Hotel was inaugurated and officially opened. With the hotel garbed in full regalia, four hundred handsomely groomed and elegantly attired guests were ushered in for a dinner of American roast, Philippine lobster, and French Champagne.
1912 to 1935- Manila Hotel was visited by some of the most prominent and notable personalities.
1935 to 1941- Commonwealth President Manuel Quezon invited General Douglas MacArthur to build the Philippine army in 1935, Gen MacArthur responded to the request of his long confidant and sailed back to the Philippines. During his tenure as the Military advisor to the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines, Gen. MacArthur, his wife Jean and son Arthur made Manila Hotel their home.
Quick fact: To handle the cost of MacArthur's suite, he was given the honorary title of "General Manager". He attended the monthly meetings. He, however, ignored the figurehead status and instead took control of hotel management. MacArthur's favorite food at the hotel was lapu-lapu, a grouper fish native to the Philippines, wrapped in banana leaves.
1941 December- Manila Hotel became the command post at the onslaught of the Japanese invasion. But MacArthur and his men were unable to hold off the advancing forces and he and his men withdrew to Corregidor.
Quick fact: When World War II broke out, Gen. MacArthur made Manila Hotel his command post. On the height of the war, the Japanese occupied Manila hotel and Gen. MacArthur was forced to leave. On his memoirs, he told of joining the patrol to recapture the hotel from the Jpanese High Command, writing, "I was anxious to rescue as much as I could of my home atop the Manila Hotel".
1942-1945- Japanese flag flew over the hotel during occupation in WWII.
1945- MacArthur returned and was eager to rescue his home atop Manila hotel as it was reported to him that the penthouse was intact. Upon reaching new Luneta however, they were pinned down by machine gunfire coming from the hotel. Suddenly, they saw that the penthouse blazed into flames consuming MacArthur's military library, his souvenirs, and other personal belongings.
1946 July 4- Manila Hotel was graced by the likes of Bob Hope, Marlon Brando, Tyrone Power, Secretary John Foster Dulles, Senator Robert Kennedy, Sir Anthony Eden, Charlton Heston, Burgees Meredith, the Rockefeller brothers, John Wayne, Publisher Henry Luce, Vice President Richard Nixon, President Dwight Eisenhower and Lyndon B. Johnson, and notable personalities.
1966 July 4- The Beatles stayed at the Manila Hotel
1966 October- Manila Hotel's Fiesta Pavilion was the venue for the ASEAN Summit Meeting. Six leaders discussed the worsening situation in war-torn Vietnam.
1970- Philippine Constitutional Convention was held at the Fiesta Pavilion which was led by the political party of Marcos. Among the 320 delegates were the former Presidents Diosdado Macapagal and Carlos Garcia. 
1974 January- In accordance to Presidential Decree 645, the old Manila Hotel Company was liquidated and GSIS was given the mandate to form a new subsidiary corporation which will restore, renovate, and expand the Manila Hotel.
1976- The Manila Hotel was remodeled.

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