The Chaos After The Storm: Rare Color Photos of the Philippines in the 1940s

By | 01/12/2017

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After Filipinas was raped and desecrated in 1945, her life has never been the same again.

National Artist Nick Joaquin shared the same sentiment when as early as five years after the war was over, he wrote: [Manila is] in the same condition in which it had been left after the Japs and the GIs were through with it.” 

The multitude of jeepneys, the barong-barong, the squatter, and Garcia’s “Filipino first” policy that led to the proliferation of factories–these were just some of the post-war phenomena that made Manila worse than before. And looking at the status quo, it seems that Filipinos have never really recovered from that massacre which occurred between February and March, 1945.

Also Read: The Way We Were: Rare Color Photos of the Philippines in the 1950s

We’ve all heard the facts and figures before: Manila, second only to Warsaw as the most devastated city in WWII, was literally burned to the ground. Facing imminent defeat, the desperate Japanese used Filipino civilians as human shields and stationed themselves at different residential and government buildings. The massacre that ensued led to the destruction of our architectural treasures and the deaths of countless Filipinos.

A more serious battle, however, happened as soon as the Japanese and Americans left the  Philippines. Or did they?

Unlike the first  few Filipino presidents who helped rebuild the nation after the war, President Ferdinand Marcos was more forgiving to the Japanese. Some historians have underscored how Marcos’ efforts to strengthen Japan-Philippines relations starting in the 1960s led to influx of loans to the country.

The money, in turn, was reportedly used by the strongman to give life to an already comatose Philippine economy, as well as to “fatten his and his cronies’ wallets.” Today, the repercussions of that foreign debt are still evident as Filipinos continue to seek a better life abroad due to a debt-ridden government that can’t prioritize its people’s needs.

Also Read: 10 Facts About World War II That Never Made It To Your Philippine History Books

Indeed, the ghosts of WWII continue to haunt every facet of Filipino life. And everything started during those first few years of rehabilitation, as seen in the following photos:

 

1. Albay.

Workers near Mayon Volcano in the 1940s

“Loading copra in M.S. Ocean Mail,” 1949 © Instructional Technology Services (ITS) of Seattle Pacific University

 

Mayon Volcano in the 1940s

Mayon Volcano © Instructional Technology Services (ITS) of Seattle Pacific University

 

Legazpi Church in Albay in the 1940s

Legazpi Church © Instructional Technology Services (ITS) of Seattle Pacific University

Also Read: Fantastic 116-Year-Old Color Pictures of the Philippines

 

2. Iloilo.

Iloilo Mission Hospital in the 1940s

Iloilo Mission Hospital. © Instructional Technology Services (ITS) of Seattle Pacific University

 

Plaza Libertad in Iloilo during the 1940s

Plaza Libertad. © Instructional Technology Services (ITS) of Seattle Pacific University

 

Lizares Mansion in Jaro in the 1940s

The Lizares Mansion in Jaro. © Instructional Technology Services (ITS) of Seattle Pacific University

 

 

3. Cebu.

Cebu in the 1940s

© Instructional Technology Services (ITS) of Seattle Pacific University

 

A street scene in Cebu in the 1940s

© Instructional Technology Services (ITS) of Seattle Pacific University

 

Cebu public market in Cebu in the 1940s

A public market in Cebu. © Instructional Technology Services (ITS) of Seattle Pacific University

 

Kalesas in Cebu in the 1940s

© Instructional Technology Services (ITS) of Seattle Pacific University

Also Read: How Cebuano Fishermen Helped Defeat the Japanese in World War II

Two Cebuanas in the 1940s

© Instructional Technology Services (ITS) of Seattle Pacific University

 

Cebu City in the late 1940s

© Instructional Technology Services (ITS) of Seattle Pacific University

 

Magellan's Cross in Cebu in the 1940s

Magellan’s Cross. © Instructional Technology Services (ITS) of Seattle Pacific University

 

Cebu Philippines in the 1940s

© Instructional Technology Services (ITS) of Seattle Pacific University

 

Sailboats in Cebu Harbor in the 1940s

Sailboats in Cebu Harbor. © Instructional Technology Services (ITS) of Seattle Pacific University

 

 

4. Manila.

Manila Hotel in the 1940s

Manila Hotel. © Instructional Technology Services (ITS) of Seattle Pacific University

 

Jones Bridge after WWII

War damaged Jones Bridge. Manila Post Office in the background. © Instructional Technology Services (ITS) of Seattle Pacific University

 

Manila Post Office Building after WWII

Manila Post Office Building. © Instructional Technology Services (ITS) of Seattle Pacific University

 

Manila after WWII

© Instructional Technology Services (ITS) of Seattle Pacific University

 

Sto. Domingo Church after WWII

Possibly the old Sto. Domingo Church. © Instructional Technology Services (ITS) of Seattle Pacific University

Also Read: 20 Beautiful Old Manila Buildings That No Longer Exist

Legislative Building during reconstruction after WWII

Old Legislative (National Museum) during reconstruction. Normal University can be seen in the background. © Instructional Technology Services (ITS) of Seattle Pacific University

 

4th of July Parade in Manila in 1948

4th of July Parade in Manila, 1948. © Instructional Technology Services (ITS) of Seattle Pacific University

 

4th of July Parade in Manila in 1948

4th of July Parade in Manila, 1948. © Instructional Technology Services (ITS) of Seattle Pacific University

 

4th of July Parade in Manila in 1948

4th of July Parade in Manila, 1948. © Instructional Technology Services (ITS) of Seattle Pacific University

 

Plaza Moraga during the 1940s

Plaza Moraga. © Instructional Technology Services (ITS) of Seattle Pacific University

 

Manila City Hall in the 1940s

Manila City Hall after WWII. Photo Credit: pi9653 images

LOOK: Rare Photos of Manila City Hall from 100+ Years Ago

 

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References

Conde, C. (2010). Philippines remains devastated long after World War II ended. Asian Correspondent. Retrieved 4 July 2016, from https://goo.gl/HUpmQj

Manila Reborn. Google Arts & Culture. Retrieved 4 July 2016, from https://goo.gl/EdOjNU