Monday, January 07, 2008


At the corner of Escolta and William Burke streets stand proud a neo-classical beauty - the Regina Building built in 1934. It reminds one of other buildings that can also be seen in other Asian capitals signifying that the style is pervasive throughout the region. I didn't have the chance to enter the building but did an effort of walking around it to have a feel of its immensity.

I read in in an article by Honesto General that former Senator Vicente Madrigal used to rent a room here for his staff. Provident Insurance Corporation - one of the first Filipino-owned insurance companies (now is Spanish-owned Mapfre Insular Insurance) -opened here in 1934. Many other insurance companies made this their headquarters when this area was still the main financial district of Manila. It now houses several freight forwarding companies.

Sorry, no idea why it is called Regina. Coincidentally, it stands practically along an estero - estuary - called Estero de la Reina. Regina = Reina. Just playing with the possibilities here.
It is said that the Regina is one of the first examples of structures built with reinforced concrete - something the Americans introduced in these earthquake-prone islands. Along with the nearby building, the equally beautiful Perez-Samanillo Building, the Regina was designed as a three-floor affair by Andres Luna de San Pedro (Note: this information needs verification). Later, when the De Leon family bought the building from the Roxases, a fourth floor was commissioned and was designed by architect Fernando Ocampo, one of the pioneers of modern Filipino architecture known as one of the Thirteen Moderns. He took Civil Engineering, University of Santo Tomas; and Architecture, University of Pennsylvania). He founded the UST College of Architecture in 1930.
A site I came across describes the Regina as Art Deco. The lettering of the name, however, is definitely Roman and is characteristic of the Neo-classical styles which count, among others, the Manila Central Post Office, the National Museum, and the Finance and Tourism buildings at both ends of the Agrifina Circle. When Filipino architects were studing in the US in the 1930s, the trend was starting to veer away from this style towards Art Deco. The Regina is a quite an interesting mixture of these two styles.

Detail. Posts design as seen from the side facing the estero.

Detail. Repetitive design in between posts.

Detail. The warm Sunday sun bathes the external ground floor hallways.

Detail. This hallway ends on Escolta.
A woman does her laundry along the murky waters of the Estero de la Reina. Life definitely goes on in these parts.


Mila said...

I remember when I was working in Madrigal building in Escolta just accross the capitol theather, I work as a secretary in Phil-Am life Agency, I used to walk everyday from sta cruz to escolta. wow! those were the days. that was 1966, until I met my husband who was in the U.S Navy. since then I have not gone home. Its nice to see and reminice my escolta days.

Citizen of the World said...

Hi, Ate Mila! How have you been? Ang aga ng comment nyo kahit wala pa ang mga photos!

Thanks for visiting SUPERPASYAL again!

caryn said...

this is one of my fave escolta buildings too. i remember having to do a report on it when i was at ust cafa ;-)

mae said...

hi.. any one here did a research for Regina Building?

franfran said...

i work in Regina bldg.. story around here goes that the owners had children named REGINA and NATIVIDAD (referring to Natividad Bldg. also in Escolta).. thus the name =)

Beyond Forgetting said...

I used to pass by this building going to the USIS Library on the next building in 50's. The building next to Regina Bldg was also used as a propaganda place by the Japanese during the occupation. I had occassion to watch propaganda movies in 1942 in that place.

Anonymous said...

do you have interior image of manila royal hotel?what is the old building stand now at isetan carriedo?

WhistleBlower said...

as of today po..ayon sa news...ang Regina Bldg. daw po ang pugad ng mga Players sa Customs...ilang bese na raw pong na-raid ung mga offices dito..