The Manila Times
The Manila Times is the oldest existing English language newspaper in the Philippines. It is published daily by The Manila Times Publishing Corp. with editorial and administrative offices at 371 A. Bonifacio Drive, Port Area, Manila.
It was founded on October 11, 1898, shortly after news that the Treaty of Paris would be signed, ending the Spanish-American War and transferring the Philippines from Spanish to American sovereignty. It presently bills itself as the fourth-largest newspaper in the Philippines in terms of circulation, beating the Manila Standard Today but still behind the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Manila Bulletin and the Philippine Star.
The current publisher and editor-in-chief is Fred de la Rosa.
The city was in the midst of an uneasy peace and on the brink of another war when the paper named after it—The Manila Times—first hit the streets on October 11, 1898. Just a little over three weeks earlier, the President of the First Philippine Republic, Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, had been forced to move out of his headquarters in Bacoor, Cavite, on orders of the commander of the American occupation forces (who had won the sham battle, of Manila Bay on August 13 of that year). So to Malolos, Bulacan, trooped Aguinaldo and his followers to open the Revolutionary Congress on September 15.
A fortnight later, all roads again led to Malolos, now the capital of the Republic, where Congress had ratified the proclamation of independence made in Kawit, Cavite, on June 12 of that year. Congress declared September 29 "a public holiday in perpetuity."
In his book Manila, My Manila National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin writes that during those times, while the Filipinos had their attention focused on what was going on in Malolos, the Americans had their eyes glued to what was going on in Paris. The Constitution of the Philippines was finished and approved on November 29, 1898-—“but much good it did us in convincing the peace conference in Paris that we were already a sovereign nation.”
October 11, 1898, was still less than four months away from the first shot in San Juan that would signal the start of open hostilities between the Filipino revolutionaries and the American occupation forces. But the air of mistrust between the “liberated” brown-skinned Orientals and their new colonial masters was very thick, particularly in Manila and its surrounding provinces. Against this backdrop The Manila Times was born.
Luis Serrano, in his History of The Manila Times, writes that on October 11, 1898, shortly after news was received in Manila that the Paris Conference had started and would finally approve the treaty that would transfer the Philippines from Spanish to American sovereignty, Thomas Gowan, an Englishman who had lived in the islands for sometime, published The Manila Times to meet the demand for an American paper in Manila. The demand, of course, came mainly from the men of the United States Army who had occupied Manila.
Gowan hired a small printing press, Chofre y Compania, to put out the paper. The press was located on Calle Alix, now Legarda Street in Sampaloc. The paper, however, had a downtown office on the Escolta.
The first issue of The Manila Times had a sheet of two leaves, or four pages, measuring about 12 by 8 inches, each page divided into two columns. The first page was taken up by announcements and advertisements. Page 2 was the editorial page. It contained the editorials and the more important news of the day. Page 3 was devoted to cable news from Europe and the United States all bearing on the Spanish-American War.
The first editorial read:
“Since the United States forces have been in the Philippines, there has been a keen demand for an American newspaper here with a daily supply of American news. Several schemes have been talked about, but we have come to nothing. We have not talked about The Manila Times but we have been working, and hoped to complete the arrangements in a few days. Now we have the news of such importance that we feel compelled to publish it promptly, instead of holding it back until completion of our plans. The Manila public will readily see that news in this issue [is] of such a nature as to demand immediate publication, and to excuse defects in the manner of publishing. What The manila times lacks in quantity, it makes up in quality, today at any rate. We have made arrangements for a daily service of telegrams from the United States, and we undertake to continue that as long as the public desires. We cannot guarantee to provide as great a piece of news each day as we give today, for Paris Conferences do not sit often, and the United States does not acquire territories every day.”
Factually speaking, the issue of The Times on October 11, 1898, was not the first. The day before, a bulletin entitled “The Manila Times” and datelined October 10, 1898, appeared in the streets of Manila. The bulletin carried the first press cable in English received in the Philippines. It dealt with the convening of the Paris Conference to end the Spanish-American War.
The Manila Times for a long time had this motto under its flag: “Pioneer American daily in the Far East.” Underneath was the claim: “Published every day since 1898.” The statement was true, and remained so until the paper burned down in 1928. The Manila Times was the first newspaper in the English language ever published in this part of the world, not excepting China and Japan. The paper also came out every day of the week and, at a certain period in its life, had two issues—a noon and an afternoon edition.
Before The Times was born, several native papers were already in existence written in Spanish, and most of them were nationalistic and revolutionary.
By way of comparison, the Manila Daily Bulletin was founded on February 1, 1900, by H.G. Farris and Carson Taylor. The Manila Times had been coming out for nearly a year and a half before the Bulletin appeared. The Cablenews-American was the result of a consolidation of the Cablenews and The American in 1908. The Cablenews appeared in 1902, and was owned and edited by Israel Putnam, a US Army. The American came out on October 17, 1898, about a week after The Manila Times appeared, and was published by F.J. Berry and edited by William Crozier. In or about 1905 the Cablenews was published and edited by Frederick O’Brien, who later leased it to J.F. Boomer. O’Brien joined The Manila Times in 1907.
The only American publications antedating The Manila Times were The Bounding Billow, a tabloid printed on Admiral Dewey’s flagship Olympia by two sailors after the destruction of the Spanish fleet; the Official Gazette, an occupation paper which appeared on August 23, 1898, 10 days after Manila surrendered to the Americans; and The American Soldier, which came out on September 10, 1898. The Bounding Billow had only one issue devoted to the Battle of Manila Bay. The American Soldier stopped publication when regular dailies appeared. It lasted about a month, putting out some 20 issues. The Official Gazette carries its name to this day, being the official organ of the Philippine government.
In 1899 George Sellner joined The Manila Times as business manager, and later bought the paper from Gowan. Apparently Sellner was in the newspaper game not for love of journalism but for the more profitable financial phase he saw in it. He sold The Times to a group of American businessmen in 1902 and reacquired it three years later.
The Times Co.
Again, in 1907 Sellner sold the paper to Thomas C. Kinney, who incorporated the Times Co., with a board of directors composed of American and British businessmen. During this period R. McCulloch Dick, a British sailor who came to Manila with the United States Navy and had some newspaper experience, was appointed editor of The Manila Times. Dick later acquired the Philippines Free Press, a weekly founded by Judge W.H. Kincaid in 1907, and was joined by Theo F. Rogers as partner and business manager. The Free Press developed into one of the largest and most influential weekly papers in the Philippines. Dick lived most of his life in the Philippines, dying here at the age of 80 years.
In 1908 Martin Egan, after gaining fame and a name from his articles in the Saturday Evening Post, came to the Philippines to become editor of The Times. He had been in the Philippines as correspondent during the Spanish-American War. He brought his wife with him, a literary figure in her own right, and naturally formed part of The Times staff. Mrs. Eleanor Franklin Egan used to write for Leslie’s Weekly.
On July 25, 1914, The Manila Times moved from the Escolta to its new offices at the Cosmopolitan Building, formerly the Metropolitan Hotel, on the northeast approach of the Santa Cruz Bridge, now MacArthur Bridge. With its transfer to a new site The Times modernized its equipment, getting Linotypes of the latest models, the only ones of their kind then in the Orient. The use of the new machinery necessitated laying off 27 of the 35 printers, mostly hand typesetters, who had been with the paper since its founding some 16 years earlier.
A photoengraving system was installed to make the plant up-to-date and second to none in the islands in point of equipment. After nearly 10 years working with The Times, Egan returned to the United States, where, not long after, he joined the staff of J. Pierpont Morgan, Wall Street banker. Egan became a noted figure in New York’s financial circles.
Egan was succeeded on The Times editorial chair by Wilmot H. Lewis, formerly correspondent for the New York Herald during the Russo-Japanese War, who had joined The Times in 1911 as a reporter. He did not stay long as editor. While the First World War was going on he returned to the United States and became a member of the publicity staff of the US Expeditionary Forces in France.
In 1930 Lewis was knighted by King George V of England for notable journalistic services regarding the disarmament conference in Washington. He was then head of the Washington bureau of the British daily newspaper, The Times, then reputed to be the largest newspaper in the world in business and circulation.
A young reporter named George Culver worked with The Times during Lewis’s editorship. He returned to the United States and was lost to the world for some time until his name was heralded in Pacific coast financial circles as the founder of Culver City, a land development project near Los Angeles, California. He had done well in the real-estate business.
About the time of Egan and Lewis, L.H. Thibault, a schoolteacher, started breaking into the newspaper game by reporting for The Times during summer vacations. He later resigned his teaching job and eventually became editor of the paper, but before him Frederick O’Brien, soon to become famous as the author of South Seas novels, held the editorial chair for some time.
Filipino cub reporters
During the editorship of Lewis and O’Brien a few Filipino young men embarked on a newspaper career by beginning as cub reporters. Among them was Victoriano Yamzon, the first Filipino to be accepted on The Times staff. He had had a brief newspaper experience, having edited the short-lived English edition of El Renacimiento, a militant newspaper owned by Martin Ocampo and at that time edited by Teodoro M. Kalaw. Yamzon later became a successful lawyer and law professor.
Yamzon was followed by Cornelio Balmaceda, who was to become director of commerce a few years after his stint as reporter. He became later the secretary of commerce and industry and member of the National Economic . Carlos P. Romulo, who was to become secretary of education, secretary of foreign affairs, president of the United Nations General Assembly, ambassador to the United States and the United Nations, and other high posts in the Philippine foreign service. Besides his war service during which he attained the rank of brigadier general, Romulo also held the position of editor in chief of the T-V-T papers (Tribune-Vanguardia-Taliba) and publisher of the D-M-H-M newspapers (Debate-Mabuhay-Herald-Monday Mail). The Manila Times can very well be proud of its first Filipino “alumni.”
After Romulo, Bernardo P. Garcia joined The Times staff, covering the more important beats like Malacañang and the Ayuntamiento, where the department secretaries held their offices. Garcia had been on the staff of La Vanguardia, a Spanish-language newspaper, but was proficient in English. In his time Garcia was considered the best bilingual reporter in Manila, and probably the highest paid. Many years later he joined the government service, his last assignment before his retirement being administrative officer of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
Lewis took in a young student—Crispin Gonzales—for his shipping page. Gonzales not only was the waterfront reporter but also covered the Bureau of Customs. Subsequently Gonzales joined the Philippines Herald, and still later The Tribune, one of the T-V-T newspapers published before World War II. After the war he became the shipping editor of The Manila Times, a position he held until he retired in 1960.
The Times strike
In 1918 the Filipino employees of The Manila Times called an all-out strike. The Filipino press had accused The Times of misrepresenting the Filipinos in order to prejudice the minds of a party of American congressmen, which was then about to visit the Philippines, against granting of independence. Smarting from the attempts at misrepresentation, the reporters and printers of the paper, who were all Filipinos, declared a general walkout.
Romulo, then a Times reporter, was reported to be the leader of the strike, but the belief had gained credence at the time that the movement had been inspired by Manuel L. Quezon and other Filipino political leaders. The belief was later supported by two salient facts: First, some of the strikers were given temporary jobs in the office of Senate President Quezon, and second, the purchase by Quezon himself of The Manila Times. Not long after the strike Romulo became one of the secretaries of Quezon, together with an aspiring young politician named Elpidio Quirino.
Quezon buys The Times
In association with a group of Filipino businessmen Quezon bought The Manila Times lock, stock and barrel. He wanted a militant Filipino organ of public opinion, and he thought that The Times would suit his purpose. Under his ownership the paper was staffed mostly by Filipinos. This followed the pattern set by his close friend, Governor-General Francis Burton Harrison, of Filipinizing the government.
The editorials were written by a staff composed of Maximo M. Kalaw, Manuel X. Burgos, Vicente M. Hilario and Bernardo P. Garcia; the business side was managed by Felipe Buencamino Jr. Gabriel Sucgang, who had been cashier since the days of Gowan, continued to scrape in the day’s earnings and give chits to habitually impecunious reporters and editors against their month’s salaries. Sucgang, after an uninterrupted service of over 20 years, left The Times in the early days of the Fairchild ownership, but returned to his old job after Thibault bought the paper for the T-V-T newspapers in 1929.
Quezon, realizing out that publishing and politics did not mix well, sold The Times to George H. Fairchild in 1921. Fairchild, a former Hawaiian senator, was then engaged in promoting the Philippine sugar industry. The new owner supervised the business as well as the editorial policies of the paper, and was naturally partial to news bearing on the sugar industry. The paper under Fairchild was generally believed to have become intensely pro-American and anti-Filipino in its politics. It took on the role of spokesman for American business and politics in the Philippines.
In the early days of the Fairchild ownership, Egan, who had returned to the United States, was succeeded by John H. Hackett, a pioneer newspaper publisher in Mindanao. He was editor and general manager, assisted by A.V.H. Hartendorp, a former schoolteacher, as editorial writer. Later Hartendorp became editor and Clayton Young, city editor. Young had been with the paper for sometime as reporter and sports editor. He left the Philippines in 1921 and was not heard of until two years later, when became publicity manager of the Chicago International Exposition being held at that time.
Hartendorp as editor
When Hartendorp resigned in 1921 to join the Philippine Education Magazine, Walter Q. Wilgus was contracted as editor. Hartendorp later bought the Philippine Education Magazine, whose name he changed to Philippine Magazine. Wilgus, a veteran of the First World War and a journalism graduate, had come to the Philippines in 1920 to found the School of Journalism at the University of the Philippines. The school, however, lived only a year, because after that the Philippine legislature, on account of differences of opinion with Dr. Guy Potter Benton, president of the state university, refused to set aside funds for its maintenance.
When Hartendorp was editor of The Times, the members of the staff, besides Young, who was city editor, included Bernardo P. Garcia as political reporter; Vicente Almoalla, Malacañang reporter; Charles “Fat” Freeman, police reporter; William “Bill the Bosun” Jansen, shipping editor; Emilio Bautista, waterfront reporter; Antonio Escoda, sports and City Hall reporter; Cromwell Nash, sports editor; and Anacleto Benavides, sports reporter. Pedro de la Llana, a member of The Times business staff, sometimes contributed pungent and caustic articles which raised eyebrows among Filipino readers. He had edited The Independent, a militant weekly published by Vicente Sotto, before he came to The Times. Later he was appointed member of the House of Representatives by Governor General Leonard Wood. Before the end of World War II he was mistaken by Filipino guerrillas as a Japanese spy and executed.
Norbert Lyons, former editor of the Manila Daily Bulletin and the American Chamber of Commerce Journal, Albert Lawrence, Katherine Bush, Robert Montee, H. F. Stampf, George Heacock, John V. Tutching and W. “Bart” Bartholomew were also on the staff of the times at different times. Lyons covered the American business community, Lawrence and Heacock had the police beat, Montee the US Army beat and “Bart” wrote sports stories. Montee, after a brief apprenticeship with The Times, accepted an appointment as correspondent for a press service.
The Sakdalan case
Escoda died a hero’s death in 1944 when he and several companions, including Brig. Gen. Vicente Lim of the Philippine Army, were captured by Japanese soldiers while attempting to sail for Mindoro in a sailboat to contact an American submarine. Benavides died in New York in 1956. He was then serving the Philippine government as commercial attaché, having previously retired as editor of the Manila Chronicle. Sakdalan, who died in 1948, became a sort of newspaperman-hero when he was jailed sometime before his death for contempt by the Supreme Court for refusing to divulge the source of a news story he had written. Sakdalan’s brief imprisonment of inspired Sen. Vicente Sotto, a militant newspaperman himself in his younger days, to file a bill forbidding newspapermen to disclose their news sources unless it was “in the interest of the state.” Later this phrase was amended by another former newspaperman, Sen. Mariano Jesus Cuenco, to read “unless the security of the state demanded.”
The late Jose A. Bautista spent his apprenticeship as a reporter with The Times in the days of O’Brien. Later he joined the Philippine Herald and The Tribune, and still later, that is, after World War II, rejoined The Manila Times and became one of its editors. Generoso K. Liwag, another Tribune staffer, got his start in the newspaper game with The Times, serving as a stringer for the sportswriters. He did not live to see the last world war.
Wilgus as editor
Wilgus was editor and city editor at the same time. Under him were Floyd C. Finch, who was sports editor, and a staff of reporters who were mostly Filipinos including Juan Reyes, who later became representative and governor of Sorsogon, Narciso Ramos, former Philippine ambassador to Taiwan and subsequently secretary of foreign affairs after having served as representative from Pangasinan, and Antonio Canizares, who was to become an associate justice of the Court of Appeals. Reyes, Ramos and Canizares served The Times as court reporters.
Darrel L. Brodt joined The Times as an army and police reporter, while David T. Boguslav, who came in at the same time, was a sports writer. The two were technical sergeants in the US Army detailed as hospital assistants to the Sternberg General Hospital on Arroceros Street before they joined The Times. Boguslav eventually became sports editor as Finch moved up to the city editorship. Emilio Bautista became shipping editor after Jansen’s departure, and he was assisted by a brother, Abelardo.
In 1925 a Senate investigation of the Times, the first of its kind in its history, perturbed the staff and the publisher. The Times published a story that an appointive member of the Senate had been acting as a spy for the governor-general, Leonard Wood. Fairchild, Wilgus, Serrano and some members of the mechanical department of the paper were summoned to the questioned under a subpoena ducestecum.
The newspaper’s team led the senatorial investigators on a merry chase, and The Times played up the story for several days. Neither Fairchild nor Wilgus knew who wrote the story, they told the senators. Among the members of the Senate investigating committee were Jose P. Laurel, Juan B. Alegre, Jose O. Vera, Claro M. Recto and Elpidio Quirino. The caliber of the probers could be gauged by the fact that two of them—-Laurel and Quirino—became presidents of the Philippines, while Recto was considered the greatest constitutional lawyer and foreign affairs expert of his time.
The efforts of the investigators to track down the culprit proved fruitless. They never found out who had written the story, although the chair, Senator Quirino, tried to pin down Serrano, the regular Senate reporter of The Times. Several times Quirino did not pursue his warned Serrano that he could be jailed for contempt of the Senate, but threats, because the Quirino probably remembered that sometime in the past Serrano had written favorable stories about him. The probe made good newspaper copy, and The Times made the most of it.
The truth was that the spy story had been written by a guest reporter, a certain James Montague-Parker, who immediately took the first boat for Hong Kong on learning about the investigation. In writing the story, the author had jumped to the conclusion that since Gen. Jose Alejandrino, of Philippine revolutionary fame, had accepted an appointment from General Wood as a senator at large, he was acting as a spy for Wood. In fact, another senator, Alegre, had referred to Alejandrino as “the representative of General Wood, “to which Alejandrino’s rejoinder was that the Bicol senator was a Filipino only because of the accident of birth.” The statement referred to Alegre’s looks, he being more like a Spaniard than a Filipino.
Jenkins as manager
In 1926 Fairchild sold The Times to Jacob Rosenthal, a businessman who was engaged in the importation and manufacture of shoes. Rosenthal had inherited North W. Jenkins from the Fairchild management, and retained him as a business manager of the paper Jenkins had worked The Manila Trading Supply Co., a firm that imported of machinery. For a time The Times prospered financially under Jenkins, but later it could not withstand the drain on its revenue by the publication of two daily editions and several weekly provincial sections and supplements. The two editions were reduced to one, and the provincial supplements were abolished. Besides being as business manager, Jenkins wrote a daily column entitled “Señores,” which was very popular among American residents, particularly businessmen. The articles were later collected in book form. Jenkins resigned in 1927 due to ill health, and retired to Haight’s Place near Baguio, where he thought the temperate climate would improve his physical condition. He died there about a year after.
The paper did not fare well under Rosenthal although after Jenkins’ departure the publisher placed a man of his choice to look after the business side. The man was W. Schrameck, Rosenthal’s manager in the shoe business. The paper continued in a precarious financial state, and the owner began looking for a new editor. Wilgus having returned to the United States, Rosenthal secured the service of Hamilton Johnson, city editor of the Manila Daily Bulletin, as editor of The Times. Johnson brought over Abelardo J. Valencia, of the Bulletin staff, with him. After about two years with The Times Valencia left for the United States to join the staff of the Philippine Press Bureau in Washington, D.C.
Johnson as editor
Johnson inaugurated three columns in the paper which added popularity to it, especially since they were directed at advertising clients who were flattered by the frequent mention of their names in the columns. These columns were Bernardo P. Garcia’s “As I See It,” A.L. Valencia’s “Around the Town” and Mario Mariano’s “Mere Habla,” a humorous presentation of life in Manila in the late twenties.
Destroyed by fire
On December 10, 1928, the Cosmopolitan Building, in which The Times had been housed for nearly two decades, burned down. Rosenthal, who had learned to consider the paper a sort of white elephant, gladly collected the insurance and sold the paper’s name and goodwill—they were all that were left to sell—to the T-V-T papers through D.H. Thibault, who, after an absence of about 10 years, had returned to the Philippines to become general manager of the T-V-T publications of Don Alejandro Roces Sr.
Immediately after the fire in which The Times was reported (by other papers) to have lost P200,000, the paper, accepting the hospitality proferred by its contemporaries, printed its first issue after the fire at the Bulletin plant on Evangelista and Raon streets. The Times and the Bulletin had been next-door neighbors for a long time in the Cosmopolitan Building before the Bulletin moved to its Evangelista quarters.
A few days after the fire, The Times moved to the Philippine Herald’s quarters in the Walled City, where it continued publication until negotiations for its purchase had been arranged by Thibault, who transferred the paper to the T-V-T building on Florentino Torres Street. Johnson remained editor, Brodt became city editor, Boguslav sports editor and Garcia, Serrano, Valencia and Marcelo Victoriano, a cub reporter, staff members. Escoda, in the meantime, had transferred to the Bulletin, where he eventually became city editor. Victoriano was later shifted to the staff of the sister paper, The Tribune, where he became one of the best police reporters that paper had ever had. His death in early youth was a great loss to the newspaper community.
Soon after The Times’ change of ownership, Johnson returned to the United States due to ill health, and the paper had to crawl along with a crippled staff. Brodt was advanced to the editorship, Boguslav became city editor and Garcia, besides reporting, wrote editorials. Brodt did not stay long as editor, having accepted a more promising job with the Philippine Herald, later becoming its advertising manager. After Brodt’s departure the editor’s chair was given to Boguslav. He was next in line and highly deserved the promotion. It was not a mere employer-employee relationship that existed between Thibault, the general manager, and Boguslav, the editor. It was more than that. Boguslav was Thibault’s son-in-law, having married Thibault’s daughter Ruth.
On February 15, 1930, Thibault announced that The Manila Times would discontinue publication on March 15, 1930. On March 14 The Times’ “Swan Song” editorial appeared. On that date The Times closed the first epoch of its eventful history after an uninterrupted existence of nearly 32 years, which covered a period of great political changes not only in the Philippines but throughout the Far East.
The second epoch in the history of The Manila Times began 15 years after its discontinuance in 1930 and when World War II was still in its mopping-up stage. Japan had not yet surrendered, although it was ready to do so.
People had come down from their mountain refuge, and Manila residents who had evacuated to the provinces to avoid the horrors of the Occupation began to return in numbers to their native city. The war had left very few habitable houses in Manila, but the returning evacuees had to make the best of a miserable situation. With the returning population, the need for adequate reading matter was generally felt in the city. A few enterprising people started printing small newspapers from salvaged presses and little capital. Among these post-Liberation papers were the Manila Post, the Philippine Liberty News and the Manila Chronicle.
The heirs of Don Alejandro Roces, Sr., who died during the war along with his eldest son Alejandro Jr., met together and decided to revive the business their father had founded. The printing plant of one of them had not been destroyed by the war. A newspaper could be printed there if newsprint were available. Accordingly, arrangements were made for a supply of newsprint.
The postwar Times
At that time Boguslav, who had joined the war correspondents attached to the United States Army after his release from the Santo Tomas Internment Camp early in February, was in Manila covering the liberated city for the Chicago Sun and other American papers. He was asked to revive the English-language newspaper of the T-V-T chain of newspapers. The Tribune was the prewar daily newspaper in English, but its resurrection was thumbed down because of the bad taste it might have left as a result of its continued publication during the Occupation under the management of Japanese overlords. They had paid P2 million in "Mickey Mouse money" for the entire T-V-T plant, an amount the owners had to accept under the circumstances. The purchase price in the form of a check was never used, and the liberators of Manila found it framed and in the same condition as when it was issued.
The T-V-T management decided on using the name of The Manila Times instead of The Tribune, The Times having been a member, although only for a brief period, of the T-V-T chain before the war. Besides, Boguslav had worked for many years with The Times before it was discontinued in 1930.
In the meantime, the owners of the paper discarded the old T-V-T name and formed a corporation under the title of “The Manila Times Publishing Co., Inc.”
The first issue of the paper on May 27, 1945, carried the name The Sunday Times, and it was only a small folded sheet of the ordinary tabloid size reminiscent of the dimensions of the first issue of The Manila Times on October 11, 1898. Then as The Times approached normalcy The Sunday Times increased its pages. In the meantime the circulation was getting larger, and it became evident that The Sunday Times alone would not adequately supply the demand of the reading public. So on September 5, 1945, the first daily issue of The Manila Times reappeared on the streets of Manila.
The Manila Times was “resurrected” 15 years and six months after its “demise” on March 14, 1930. The paper at first occupied the Ramon Roces Publications Building on Soler and Calero streets, which had not been much damaged by the war, but later it moved to the T-V-T Building on Florentino Torres Street after the building had been repaired.
Among the first staff members of the postwar Times, besides Boguslav, were Jose P. Bautista, pre-war editor of The Tribune, Jose Luna Castro and Emilio Aguilar Cruz, staff members of the prewar Graphic, Vicente J. Guzman, formerly of the Bulletin staff, Luis Serrano, Crispin Gonzales, Anatolio Litonjua, Andres B. Callanta, Jose L. Guevara, Benjamin Osias and Zosimo Resurreccion. Guzman covered the House of Representatives, Serrano the Senate, Calanta Labor, Osias City Hall and Gonzales handled the shipping page. Later Guevara took over the House beat from Guzman, who was given a desk job, and Resurreccion succeeded Callanta in the labor beat when he resigned. Litonjua got the army beat.
Among those who served as society editor were Jim Austria, Carole Guerrero, Rosario Delgado, Jovita Rodas, Estrella Alfon, Cita Trinidad and Consuelo G. Abaya.
Later a teenager joined The Times as a cub reporter, covering the police and miscellaneous beats. He made such a good showing that the editor of the paper decided to send him to Korea as its correspondent. His dispatches from the Korean battlefront were quite creditable, coming as they did from the actual firing line assigned to the Filipino contingent. He was wounded in Korea and had to be sent back to the Philippines. He was later assigned to the army beat. This young man was Benigno S. Aquino, Jr..
Another Times staffer who attained eminence in public life was Mrs. Maria Kalaw-Katigbak. She was a columnist of the paper before she went into politics. Her column was highly appreciated by the reading public, especially by women whose views and opinions generally found expression in the column.
Boguslav, after serving with The Manila Times for 27 years, excluding the war years when he was in an internment camp, and the 15-year period when The Times lay in inanimate suspension, died in Manila in 1962 at the age of 67. At the time of his death he was the oldest staff member of The Times in point of service, and the only editor of the paper who died in the Philippines, which he had made his home and whose government in 1960 awarded him the Legion of Honor for his service to Philippine journalism.
On Saturday, September 23, 1972, Manila woke up with nary a newspaper in sight. The night before, President Ferdinand Marcos had imposed martial law throughout the country, although the declaration was antedated September. 21. The Manila Times was one of the media organizations closed down by the imposition of authoritarian government. It was to remain closed down—-as would a number of other media outlets—for the next 14 years.
Roces family reopens The Times
On February 5, 1986, days before Edsa I that ousted Marcos, the Roces family (the Ramon Roces group) revived The Manila Times. Sheila Coronel, former Times reporter and now executive director of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), recalled that the Roces family had hired some refugees from the Marcos-controlled press like her, Lorna Kalaw-Tirol and Malou Mangahas, who was to become editor in chief of The Times, to staff the new paper. Coronel and her fellow reporters kept vigil through the four nights of Edsa 1, covering events during the day and rushing to the office at night to file their reports.
She wrote: “Don Chino was often there, watching protectively over us and going out of his way to bring us food. If memory serves, I think it was Max’s fried chicken and the occasional burger. But it was not the food that was memorable. It was that Don Chino himself went around the newsroom to give each of us dinner.”
Coronel said if there was something that Roces instilled in them when they were still young and impressionable, it was humility. Roces treated everyone the same way, whether editor, reporter or copy boy. To him, in the newsroom, all were equal: Everyone did what they could to bring out the next day’s paper. There was no need for an exaggerated sense of self-importance. Three years after its rebirth, the Roces family, citing financial dearth, sold the paper to the business tycoon John Gokongwei.
Estrada sues The Times
The Manila Times under the Estrada presidency was a paper under siege. When The Times published a story calling the former movie actor an “unwitting godfather” to a supposed fraudulent deal, Estrada sued The Times for P101 million. Terrorized by Estrada’s wrath, the Gokongweis were forced to apologize to stop him from harassing them on their alleged tax problems. The printed apology prompted Estrada to withdraw the libel case. The Times publisher Ermin Garcia Jr. pointed out that the paper did not retract the story that drew Estrada’s ire.
On July 23, 1999, the nation’s most trusted newspaper closed up. The 180 employees of The Times mourned the demise of the paper which had been critical of the Estrada administration. Clad in black, The Times workers posted banners in the newsroom that said “Defend Press Freedom.” In an earlier interview, the editor in chief, Malou Mangahas, said the purchase of the paper by a group headed by the businessman Reghis Romero 3rd was part of an effort to stifle newspapers that were critical of the government.
The Times under Mark Jimenez
Months before The Times’ closure, Mark Jimenez, an Estrada crony, was said to have already shown interest in buying the paper but wanted to remain an undisclosed partner. Reports said Jimenez even paid a visit to John Gokongwei as early as April 1999. A member of Estrada’s inner circle confirmed that Jimenez indeed bought The Manila Times. But Jimenez’s wish to be an unidentified buyer would be granted. From October 11 until November, The Times was operating under its supposed owner Romero, who reportedly fronted for Jimenez.
In the last week of December, after a series of critical stories against Estrada’s friends, the lawyer Katrina Legarda, who was also editor in chief, went public claiming she was being pressured by The Times owners regarding editorial policies and which story should get published. Just before the millennium, 10 Times editors resigned, citing increasing pressure from the owners. Legarda followed suit. Eventually, Jimenez admitted ownership of the paper before the May 14 election.
Dante Ang's vision for The Times
On August 8, Dante A. Ang formally sat as publisher and chair of The Manila Times. He promised to give news that is accurate, fair and comprehensive. He’s also proud of The Times’ Opinion Page, which he said is more ruminative and reflective, delving more deeply into the meaning of the news and into the motive of those who make the news. In particular, Ang said The Times would publish enterprise-driven investigative stories. The Times would also honor its rich heritage and snoop into the future, Ang said. He said he would be aided by a strong editorial, advertising and production staff who have a high degree of professionalism and experience that honor the ethics of the trade.
The Times, under its new owner Dante Ang, will capitalize on its rich and illustrious—-if tumultuous—-history since 1898. Ang’s vision is to make The Times “handsomely profitable” as well as one of the top influential dailies in the country. He is no stranger to newspapering. He published Money Asia, a business magazine, and founded the Filipino broadsheet Kabayan. He also maintains five publishing houses and is president and chair of a public relations firm that handles corporate accounts. The Times will also put a premium on enterprise stories, solid political and business reporting, and investigative exposés. “Watch us as we grow, keep us company as members of the family,” Ang said.
- The Manila Times: 106 Years in a Nation’s Rich History, (based on the History of the Manila Times by Luis Serrano), ManilaTimes.net, 2001