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Manila Hotel Through the Years

The Manila Hotel which opened in 1912 and extensively remodeled in the 1970s, is a Philippine landmark, home to high society and often a scene of historic events.

1898- Judge William howard Taft issued of the first decrees of the Second Philippine Commission to create an urban plan for Manila. Architect and the city planner Daniel Hudson Burnham drafted a wide and long tree-lined boulevard that would begin at the park and at the spit's end of the bay, a boulevard that would be dominated on one end by a hotel.

1908- William Parsons was appointed to continue where Burnham left off. He supervised the design and construction of Manila Hotel and was completed four years later. Soon, a magnificent, white, green-tile-roofed California Missionary-styled edifice emerged housing 149 spacious ang high- ceiling rooms. Since then, it is a hotel that commands the best westward view of Manila's fabled sunset, the fortress of Corregidor, the poignant ruins of the medieval fortress that was Intramuros, and the palm-lined promenades of Luneta Park.

July 4, 1912- On the commemoration date of the American Independence, Manila Hotel was inaugurated and officially opened. With the hotel garbed in full regalia, four hundred handsomely groomed and elegantly attired guests were ushered in for a dinner of American roast, Philippine lobster, and French Champagne.

1912 to 1935- Manila Hotel was visited by some of the most prominent and notable personalities.

1935 to 1941- Commonwealth President Manuel Quezon invited General Douglas MacArthur to build the Philippine army in 1935, Gen MacArthur responded to the request of his long confidant and sailed back to the Philippines. During his tenure as the Military advisor to the Commonwealth Government of the Philippines, Gen. MacArthur, his wife Jean and son Arthur made Manila Hotel their home.

Quick fact: To handle the cost of MacArthur's suite, he was given the honorary title of "General Manager". He attended the monthly meetings. He, however, ignored the figurehead status and instead took control of hotel management. MacArthur's favorite food at the hotel was lapu-lapu, a grouper fish native to the Philippines, wrapped in banana leaves.

1941 December- Manila Hotel became the command post at the onslaught of the Japanese invasion. But MacArthur and his men were unable to hold off the advancing forces and he and his men withdrew to Corregidor.

Quick fact: When World War II broke out, Gen. MacArthur made Manila Hotel his command post. On the height of the war, the Japanese occupied Manila hotel and Gen. MacArthur was forced to leave. On his memoirs, he told of joining the patrol to recapture the hotel from the Jpanese High Command, writing, "I was anxious to rescue as much as I could of my home atop the Manila Hotel".

1942-1945- Japanese flag flew over the hotel during occupation in WWII.

1945- MacArthur returned and was eager to rescue his home atop Manila hotel as it was reported to him that the penthouse was intact. Upon reaching new Luneta however, they were pinned down by machine gunfire coming from the hotel. Suddenly, they saw that the penthouse blazed into flames consuming MacArthur's military library, his souvenirs, and other personal belongings.

1946 July 4- Manila Hotel was graced by the likes of Bob Hope, Marlon Brando, Tyrone Power, Secretary John Foster Dulles, Senator Robert Kennedy, Sir Anthony Eden, Charlton Heston, Burgees Meredith, the Rockefeller brothers, John Wayne, Publisher Henry Luce, Vice President Richard Nixon, President Dwight Eisenhower and Lyndon B. Johnson, and notable personalities.

1966 July 4- The Beatles stayed at the Manila Hotel

1966 October- Manila Hotel's Fiesta Pavilion was the venue for the ASEAN Summit Meeting. Six leaders discussed the worsening situation in war-torn Vietnam.

1970- Philippine Constitutional Convention was held at the Fiesta Pavilion which was led by the political party of Marcos. Among the 320 delegates were the former Presidents Diosdado Macapagal and Carlos Garcia. 

1974 January- In accordance to Presidential Decree 645, the old Manila Hotel Company was liquidated and GSIS was given the mandate to form a new subsidiary corporation which will restore, renovate, and expand the Manila Hotel.

1976- The Manila Hotel was remodeled.

1977 October 6- Inauguration and formal reopening ceremonies of Manila Hotel.

1970s-1980s- In the last two decades, Imelda Marcos could be frequently seen at the Hotel. when she visited restaurants, a red carpet ang garlands were put out and the air was sprayed with deodorant.

1986 July 6- A group of military ofiicers loyal to the deposed President Marcos, takes over the Manila Hotel and declared Arturo Tolentino, who was Mr. Marcos's vice presidential running mate, as President. They surrendered two days later.

1987 October 20- Cory Aquino delivered a speech at the Hotel that became the turning point in her campaign.

1988 December 7-11 - The 19th General Assembly of the World Veterans Federation was held at the Hotel. Distinguished personalities who attended the event were then Secretary of National Defense Fidel V. Ramos; Mr. W. W. Ch. J. M. Van Lanschot, President of the World Veterans Federation; Col. Emmanuel V. De Ocampo, President of the Veterans Federation of the Philippines and Chairman of Hosting Committee; Gen. Ernesto Gidaya, Administrator of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office.

1995- Supreme Court blocked a takeover bid by a Malaysian company using "Philippine First Policy". Fifty one percent of the ownership was awarded to Manila Prince Corporation.

1997 April 25- New owners joined as 49 percent shareholder.

1998- Their Majesties King Juan Carlos de Bourbon and Queen Sofia of Spain were in the Philippines for an official visit.

1999- His Serene Highness Crowne Prince Albert of Monaco was in the Philippines for an official visit.

2000- Visit of Norodom Ranariddh, Prince of Cambodia, and Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan.

2001- Visit of Indonesia President Megawati Sukarnoputri.

2002- Visit of Romania President Ion Iliescu.

2004- Visit of His Excellency Dr. Saleh Abdullah Bin, President of Saudi Arabia.

2005- Visit of South Korea President Roh Moo-Hyun.

2008- Original members of the legendary American band Earth, Wind and Fire came to Manila for a one night concert at the Philippine International Convention Center.

February 2010- Manila Hotel joined the ranks of the world's hotel elite group and became a member of Prestige Hotels of the World.

November 20, 2010- Former US President Bill Clinton visited the country for a speaking engagement on his insights and views on global issues and concerns. The conference, with the theme Embracing Our Common Humanity Seminar, was held at the Manila Hotel Tent.

March 24, 2011- Irina Bokova, United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director General, was in Manila for bilateral meetings with government officials to discuss the participation of the Philippines in UNESCO.

April 14, 2011- Members from the European Union had a luncheon at the Presidential Salon. The annual seminar of the EU discussed, among others, the findings of the evaluation of the EU aid programme with Philippine stakeholders.

May 10, 2011- Bb. Pilipinas 2011 winners led by Bb. Pilipinas Shamcey Supsup had a lucheon at the Champagne Room.

June 22 to July 24, 2011- World class act Varekai by Cirque Du Soleil was in Manila for the very first time for a series of shows.

September 03, 2011- Manila Hotel hosted the Pacquiao-Marquez World Press Tour at the Rigodon Ballroom.

September 13, 2011- Ms. World Philippines Gala and Charity Dinner was held the Fiesta Pavilion. The dinner, dubbed as Beauty with a Purpose, raised funds for the Ms. World charities around the world.

September 17, 2011- Finalists of the American Idol 2011 was in the Philippines for their last leg of the American Idol Live! Tour 2011 Press Conference.

November 2011- South Korea President Lee Myun-Bak was in the Philippines for an official state visit at the invitation of President Benigno S. Aquino III.

January 17, 2012- US Senators John McCain, Joseph Lieberman, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Kelly Ayotte were in the country for a three-day courtesy call promoting bilateral relations.

February 2012- Fuerza Bruta, a theater and interactive show from Buenos Aires, performed at the Manila Hotel Tent.

July 4, 2012- Manila Hotel celebrates its 100th Anniversary with a Grand Centennial Ball at the Manila Hotel Tent. Event's highlights include the unveiling of the Hotel's centennial logo, a 3D video mapping projections of the Hotel's history bringing the Hotel's building to life, and a grand ball featuring elaborate dance performance by Filipino artists.

July 27, 2012- Primetime news show TV Patrol celebrated its 25th anniversary at the Fiesta Pavilion with guest of honor, His Excellency President Benigno S. Aquino III.

September 2012- Manila Hotel hosted the world class act Saltimbanco by Cirque du Soleil when they came to Manila for the first time.

September 28, 2012- Manila Hotel in collaboration with fashion designer Francis Libiran presented a 100-piece collection of the fashion of the times as it unfolds at Manila Hotel. The Grand Lobby was transformed into a runway, a first in the Hotel's history.

December 2012- The Hotel was transformed into a magical land as huge nutcracker dolls, toys, gingerbread clock house, a giant Christmas tree, and other festive arrangements adorned the Grand Lobby.