Then and Now: These photos of Manila during World War II vs today are pretty amazing

February 3 marks the 7Oth Anniversary of the Battle of Manila

( Back in 1940s, Old Manila was the Wall Street of Southeast Asia—complete with paved boulevards and entertainment centers. There were stylish Art Deco buildings here and there, too. But World War II happened and it left the city in shambles. It’s been 70 years since the liberation of the city. Though successful, Manila is still picking up the pieces to this day.


The battle for the liberation of Manila went on from February 3 to March 3, 1945. More than 100,000 men, women, and children lost their lives, architectural heritage was ruined, and the city of Manila was the “second most devastated Allied capital of World War II.” You may have heard stories from your lolos and lolas, but you won’t get the full impact unless you see visual evidence.  


Here are historical photos of the Batte of Manila set beside Manila as we know it today that will make you appreciate the city and its beautiful history even more.



The main entrance gate of Fort Santiago, Intramuros


Monte de Piedad and Savings Bank of Manila Building in Bustos Street, Santa Cruz was rebuilt as the Roman R. Santos Building.


Central United Methodist Church at T.M. Kalaw, Ermita

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San Agustin Church

The ruins of the Manila Post Office and the present-day Post Office building




Superimposed photos of University of Santo Tomas, then and now


Legarda Street


Pasig River



Malacañang Palace




Colorized photo of  Legislative Building (now National Museum of the Philippines)


American soldiers at Avenida Rizal

Also read:
10 Beautiful Historic Buildings in Manila
Cityscapes: 10 Beautiful Buildings in Old Manila 
10 Beautiful Old Manila Buildings That No Longer Exist


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