Hidden nostalgia inside the Calvo Museum

“Real museums are places where Time is transformed into Space.” – Orhan Pamuk

The Calvo Museum and Building was named after the original owner of the building Doña Emiliana Mortera vda. Calvo . According to old residents of Escolta, this building was also known as the Luisa building.

Calvo Museum
Cross Over

The Calvo Museum and Building is heavily influenced by the Beaux-Arts style. This is a type of architectural style prominently used from 1880’s to late 1920’s. This is one of the few buildings in the country that showcase this style. The Calvo building was designed by Architect Tomas Arguelles and Architect Fernando Ocampo, who also designed the UST Central Seminary, and the eighth Manila Cathedral.

Calvo Building and Museum
Calvo Building and Museum

The building is one of the few structures along Escolta that survived the ravages of the Second World War, which came just a few years later after it was built, especially the Battle for Manila in 1945 which significantly decimated most of Manila to the ground.

The museum is part of the Cross Over  “Back to Back” tour organized by the United Architects of the Philippines– Makati chapter, walkwithchanPHLPOST and the Intramuros Administration. Some of the places that were also included in the tour were the historic Manila Central Post Office, First United Building , Juan Luna E-Services Building, Plaza Mexico, Maestranza walls, Puerta Isabel 2 Gate and Monument, National Press Club, Fort Santiago, Casa Manila, Baluarte de San Diego with side trip at New Toho and Ying Ying Restaurants in Binondo.

calvo museum
Calvo Museum

DZBB Studio and Office

The museum also showcases the life and times of Mr. Robert La Rue “Uncle Bob” Stewart (November 19, 1918 – April 6, 2006) who sent the first signal of the station. He was a former US war correspondent for United Press who eventually fell in love with Loreto Feliciano and married her in 1948, and the Philippines as well. He is also best remembered as the soft spoken host of Uncle Bob’s Lucky 7 Club.

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He set up an AM radio station with the call sign DZBB on March 1, 1950 on the fourth floor of the Calvo building. DZBB would eventually evolve into a broadcasting giant known today to many Filipinos as GMA Network channel 7 or the Kapuso Network.

Calvo Museum and Memorabilia Collection

Calvo Museum
Calvo Museum

The museum has a quaint collection of family memorabilia items such as letters, books and personal collection by the family. This also includes wood blocks from paved street of Escolta.

blue ink bottles
blue ink bottles

The family also showcased their ink bottles, a treasured collection of the family.

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Calvo Museum 2

The museum collection also includes Filipiniana comics which dates back in the late 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s . One of the featured artist is Ms. Lilian Velez .

Lilian Velez
Lilian Velez

 

Exhibit: a letter from DZBB’s General Manager John McLaughlin to the Calvo Building administrators requesting for repairs of the windows at the floor where DZBB was at (dated November 11, 1954)
Exhibit: a letter from DZBB’s General Manager John McLaughlin to the Calvo Building administrators requesting for repairs of the windows at the floor where DZBB was at (dated November 11, 1954)

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The current owners of the building are collectors of ink bottles, soda bottles, Manila Carnival Queen photos, receipts, newspapers, Filipino comics and other ephemera which reminiscent of Escolta’s bygone age.

Address: 266 Escolta street, Santa Cruz, Manila, Mezzanine area

Operation Hours: Monday to Fridays from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm , Saturdays 9:00 am to 12 noon , Sundays and Holidays- by appointment 

There is a minimal donation/ entrance fee of Php 50.00 for the general public and Php 20.00 for students and senior citizens with valid ID’s. 

 

Rence Chan

writer and contributor

social media writer, food lover, heritage advocate, philatelist , deltiologist , numismatist , notaphilist , toy collector, key chain collector, bibliophile , orchid fancier , plant lover , environmental advocate, freshwater aquarium fish hobbyist, tour consultant, memorabilia and art connoisseur.