What You Need to Know Before Visiting Binondo's Calvo Museum

Doorway to Old Manila: Here’s Why You Need to Visit Calvo Museum in Binondo

Calvo Building Photo by Wikimedia Commons/Patrick Roque

A melting pot of culture and tradition, Binondo has its share of iconic streets and architectural marvels that witnessed the ebbs and flows of Manila’s civilization. At its core, you can find an architectural gem renowned for its Beaux-Arts architecture – Calvo Building.

As you explore the district, you can find this building at No. 266 Escolta and Soda Streets behind those tangled web-like power lines, where you can also find familiar landmarks such as UNO Restaurant, Mercury Drug Store, and Tropical Hut.

The Calvo Building, featuring its Spanish-style façade, weathered pediments, and walls painted neutrally with pink undertones, was built in 1938 and designed by Architect Fernando H. Ocampo, Sr. It was once a market hub for imported goods from China, Europe, and Latin America, marking Escolta as Manila's premier financial district prior to Makati City's taking the crown in the 1960s.

Over the years, it became a home to commercial companies, provided refuge for Japanese Imperial Forces during the war, and was the birthplace of the Kapuso Network in 1950. Today, it stands as one of the museums in Escolta that keeps the flame of the bygone days.

How to Get There

Before it transformed into a cultural hotspot, the Calvo Building was once a stop in Manila’s historic tramway system, located near the LRT1-Carriedo station. Another fast route you can take is through the Pasig Ferry, available from 6 AM-10 AM and 2 PM-6 PM. If you are coming from PUP or Guadalupe, alight at Escolta stop with fares ranging between P30-P50, depending on your embarkation point.

What’s Inside

Go back in time! Come visit the Calvo Museum at the Calvo Building, #270 Escolta St. Binondo, Manila. Remember Uncle...

Posted by Escolta on Friday, December 13, 2019

Calvo Museum houses a collection of photographs and postcards featuring prominent figures during Escolta's golden era displayed on its walls. It also has a vintage bottle collection that is bound to captivate you, showcasing different shapes, brands, and sizes of milk, soda, medicines, and alcoholic beverages such as the iconic 1920s Ginebra bottle.

Leave YouTube behind and transport back in time at the Calvo Museum where you can experience the past with hand-drawn movie posters, publications published from the Spanish colonial era, and the early years of American occupation, such as Filipinas, Republica Filipina, and the legendary El Renacimiento. This publication was put into silence in 1907 due to a libel case against its infamous "Aves de rapina" ("Birds of Prey") editorial.

What’s more, music lovers will be treated to an OPM library where they can peruse music sheets of songs such as "Sa Dakong Silangan," "Ang Maya," and "Awit ng Pag-Ibig," to name a few. These pieces are preserved behind glass cases for everyone to admire and appreciate. Other historical memorabilia you can see at the museum are old advertisements for cars, sporting equipment, shoes, and radio sets in the form of ticket receipts and memos.

To complete your trip down Filipino pop culture nostalgia, don’t miss the opportunity to ride the museum’s 80-year-old elevator.

The Calvo Building's museum is open Mondays to Fridays from 9 AM-5 PM and Saturdays every 9 AM-12 PM. The entrance fee is priced at P50 (P20 for students). For more information, visit Escolta's Facebook page.

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