Imagining Manila’s Future: Capital, Media and Post-war Reconstruction

Dr Paul Hogben1

1UNSW Sydney, Australia

This paper looks at the role played by English-language newspapers, in particular The Manila Times, in promoting futurist images of Manila during the early years of its post-war reconstruction. As the city lay in ruins, these newspapers became a site for a future imaging in which ruins would be replaced by new skyscrapers and other buildings. Advertisers called for private business interests to start the process of investment and reconstruction and promoted the money-making opportunities that would present themselves. By 1947 publicity was extending into home construction, and newspaper advertisements incorporated images of modernist house design as a means of promoting building material suppliers. These advertisements may well represent the first public dissemination of images of modernist domestic architecture in the Philippines. The paper will examine these and other images for what they reveal about the mobilisation of capital in post-war Manila: who they were produced by, what ideas of progress and modernisation they conveyed and who they were addressed to.


Dr Paul Hogben in an architectural historian and senior lecturer in the Faculty of Built Environment at UNSW Sydney. His research interests include the role played by the media in the promotion and legitimisation of architectural ideas, practices and built outcomes.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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