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Escolta Street

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

Escolta St, Binondo, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

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expert
Lando
Local tour guide
"Escolta Street in Manila is steeped in history; to truly appreciate its charm, visit during a Saturday when the Escolta Market is open, featuring unique vintage finds and local art. Moreover, take a moment to enjoy a cup of coffee from one of the hole-in-the-wall cafes that not only serve a great brew but also offer a nostalgic view of Manila's past."

What is Escolta Street?

Escolta Street is a historic thoroughfare in the heart of Binondo, Manila's Chinatown. This street whispers tales of a time when it was the center of commerce and fashion in Manila during the Spanish Colonial Period and American eras. Walking through Escolta is like taking a step back in time, with each building echoing the diverse architectural styles that Manila has seen over the centuries. Whether it's the neoclassical details, art deco embellishments or the Beaux-Arts influence, Escolta is a showcase of a bygone era's elegance.

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Today, Escolta has evolved into a blend of the old and the new. While some of the grandeur has faded, initiatives by the local community and heritage conservation groups have been revitalizing the area. The street now hosts a mix of artsy pop-up shops, cultural exhibits, and a new generation of entrepreneurs who are reimagining this historic space while keeping its soul intact. It's a street that very much embodies the gritty, resilient spirit of Manila itself.

History of Escolta Street

The history of Escolta Street is closely intertwined with that of Manila itself. In the Spanish colonial period, Escolta was the premier commercial district of the city, lined with fashionable shops, offices, and theaters. It was the place to be seen for the elite of Manila society. When the Americans took over the Philippines, they brought with them a new architectural style and modern amenities. As a result, Escolta flourished and was among the first to have electric tramways and later, movie theaters.

Over the years, the street has witnessed some of Manila's most significant historical moments and developments. It's seen the rise of the country's first department store, as well as the first ice cream and soda fountains, among other novelties. But with the growth and expansion of Manila, the focus of commerce gradually shifted away from Escolta, leading to its decline. Through war and modernization, many of Escolta's grand buildings were lost. Yet, its importance hasn't waned amongst those who appreciate the rich tapestry of Manila's cultural heritage.

Why is Escolta Street Important?

Escolta Street is important as a living museum of Manila's historical and cultural evolution. It stands testament to the city's booming economy and cosmopolitan life during its heyday. It is a reflection of the Philippines' colonial and post-war history and serves as a reminder of the economic and architectural grandeur that once defined the city. Escolta is not just a street; it's a narrative enshrined in its surviving structures and it's a story of resilience and reinvention.

Importantly, Escolta is a place where the past meets the future. It's become an urban hub for grassroots initiatives and innovative ideas, fostering a unique community spirit among locals. Preserving this street is crucial for educating future generations about Manila's past and providing continuous inspiration for Philippine urban development. Advocacy for its preservation is, in many ways, a fight to retain the soul of the city amidst fast-paced modernization and change.

Things to Do & See at Escolta Street

Visitors to Escolta Street can enjoy a collection of activities that highlight its unique history and its resurgence as a cultural hotspot. Take a leisurely walk and marvel at the architectural gems such as the Regina Building and the First United Building. Why not stop by The Den, a cozy cafe within the First United Building, where you can savor locally sourced coffee and browse through shelves of Filipino literature and art?

There's also the Escolta Block Party, which is an event that usually happens on a weekend, bringing together local musicians, artists, and food vendors for a vibrant street festivity. Meanwhile, for the history enthusiasts, the Escolta Museum located in the Calvo Building offers a deeper look into the street's past with a collection of memorabilia and photographs. Be sure to check the schedule as these events may be seasonal or periodic.

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Arts and crafts enthusiasts will relish the regular market days, where you can find an array of handcrafted goods, vintage items, and art pieces. And no visit is complete without a taste of the local food scene – you'll find everything from Chinese eateries to hipster cafes lining the street. Lastly, if you're interested in the local art scene, there's 98B COLLABoratory, a community + network + library + kitchen + shop that supports independent creatives and showcases their work. Every corner in Escolta has a story, and there's always more to explore beyond what meets the eye.

Frequently asked questions

What is Escolta Street known for in Manila?

Escolta Street is known for its rich history as a premier shopping and business district during the Spanish colonial era and the early part of the 20th century. It was once home to Manila's most prestigious boutiques, theaters, and corporations.

What are some historical landmarks on Escolta Street?

Historical landmarks on Escolta Street include the Regina Building, the First United Building, the Calvo Building, and the Santa Cruz Church. These landmarks represent the architectural heritage from the American colonial period.

Can visitors take guided tours of Escolta Street?

Yes, visitors can take guided tours of Escolta Street, which often include historical insights, visits to notable buildings, and stories of the street's past prominence as a commercial hub.

Are there any museums or galleries on Escolta Street?

Yes, Escolta Street has art spaces such as the 98B Collaboratory and the Fred's Revolución Café and Bar, which often features various exhibits and galleries showcasing contemporary art and historical displays.

What are the shopping options on Escolta Street today?

Escolta Street has evolved into a hub for niche markets and local entrepreneurs. Visitors can find a variety of shops selling vintage items, local handicrafts, artisanal goods, and even pop-up stores during special events.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

Escolta St, Binondo, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps