Arts & Culture

5 Must-See Structures in Escolta

Don’t leave without visiting (and taking photos of!) these

Photography: Michael Angelo Chua (Main Photo)

The best way to experience and appreciate a city is by looking at its historical architecture. And Manila, with its long, colorful history, is a treasure trove of sorts when it comes to that. If you don’t have the whole day to explore the nooks and crannies of the city, Escolta Street is the perfect place to have a crash course on different styles of iconic architecture and notable architects who designed these structures. Here are the must-see buildings that will leave you impressed: 

1. El Hogar Building located along Calle Muelle dela Industria

This structure by the Pasig River near the corner of the Binondo District and Escolta Street is considered a skyscraper (at five storeys) back in the day. Ramon Irureta-Goyena and Francisco Perez-Muñoz designed this building in the Beaux Arts Style that reflects the elements of neoclassical and Renaissance style. Intricate grillwork, arched window, and heavily ornamented elements add opulence to this beautiful building.

2. The Regina Building (formerly known as Roxas Building)

This building was a collaboration between Andres Luna de San Pedro, son of Juan Luna, and architect Fernando H. Ocampo. Designed in a neoclassical and Beaux Arts style, it has pediment windows, balusters, bas-reliefs, and sculptural groups. Now awashed in white, it still remains a queenly sight in this famed street.

3. Capitol Theater

The Capitol Theater was designed by Juan Nakpil (who also designed the Quiapo Church) and was laden in Art Deco Elements and friezes by Italian sculptor Francesco Riccardo Monti. Back in the day, this theater can accommodate up to 800 people in the double balcony theater. Its interior spaces show an underlying motif of sampaguita, the country’s national flower, as seen in wrought-iron grills on the stairs, the lobby, and foyer.

READ: Architect Heroes—4 Famous Buildings by Juan Nakpil

4. Calvo Building

With its deep bas-reliefs, cartouches, and ornaments, the Calvo Building is a rich building to gawk at, façade-wise. It’s a great example of the Beaux Arts architecture style designed by architect Fernando H. Ocampo. It now houses the Calvo Museum filled with memorabilia, items, and photographs of Manila and various offices.

5. Perez Samanillo Building

Now named First United Building, this structure was designed by Andres Luna de San Pedro (the same architect who designed the Regina Building). Art Deco elements pepper the building, as seen in the façade, architectural motifs, and even the elevator. It used to house Berg’s Department Store on the ground floor. Now, the HUB| MakeLAB, which is home to 22 creative brands, occupies the ground floor, while various offices occupy the rest of the building. 

Read more about Escolta in the August 2016 issue of Real Living magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to for more details.

PHOTOS: Arquitectura Manila| Michael Angelo Chua (Regina Building, Capitol Theater) | Paolo Bustamante for The Filipinas Blog

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Architect Heroes: 4 Famous Buildings by Juan Nakpil


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