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Tutuban station (Philippine National Railway), Manila

Tutuban was the main railway station of the Philippine National Railways (PNR). It is situated on the corner of Claro M. Recto Avenue (formerly Azcarraga Street) and Dagupan Street, in the shopping district of Divisoria in Tondo, Manila. It has since been converted into a shopping center, and is now popular for its bargain and wholesale stands.


The Train Station's History

The construction of a railway line traversing the island of Luzon was initiated according to a plan submitted by Don Eduardo Lopez Navarro, then head of the Public Works Office. The line stretches from Tondo, Manila to Dagupan, Pangasinan. On July 31, 1887, the cornerstone of the Tutuban Station was laid by General Emilio Terrero, marking the start of the railroad track.

When the PNR began its operations on November 24, 1892, Tutuban Station became a place of business. It opened its doors to businessmen coming from different parts of Manila. Commerce played a large role in awareness about Tutuban, and it served as an important trading complex due to its very strategic location in Divisoria. Produce coming in by bulk from several provinces are unloaded in the station, and then distributed to retailers awaiting at the station.

The etymology for the name “Tutuban” was believed to have come from the sounds made by the locomotives stationed in the area. However, the word actually comes from “tuba,” the name of the local alcoholic drink made from coconuts, since previously Tutuban was the center of production of this beverage.

Tutuban Station is also famous for being the birthplace of the revolutionary Andres Bonifacio. In commemoration, a monument stands in the current mall's plaza.

Tutuban as a Shopping Center

Tutuban Prime Block Building. Bonifacio monument on the foreground.
Being in the trading district of Divisoria, the already defunct Tutuban Station was converted into an air-conditioned shopping center in 1993. Now bearing the name “Tutuban Centermall,” the former train station became famous for its indoor wholesale market, providing shoppers with a plethora of cheap items. Various stalls offered clothing, jewelry, furnishings and electronics.

The mall's architectural design considered the building's history, incorporating visible steel frames and railroad tracks into the mall's foundation and interiors. The station's brick facade was also maintained, giving the mall a Spanish-era feel.

Initially Tutuban Centermall had three buildings: one main structure flanked by two cluster buildings. But as time progressed additional shopping areas such as Robinsons Department Store and Robinsons Supermarket have sprouted around the perimeter. An extension of the Centermall has also been added, as well as the huge Prime Block building, giving shoppers more places to shop.


  • De la Torre (1981). Landmarks of Manila. Paragon Printing Corporation: Quezon City.
  • No byline (2007). “History is preserved in makeover of Tutuban Mall.” The Manila Times Online. Accessed on 19 Oct 2007.
  • The history of Tutuban - Manilahub.i.ph



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