Get to know The Manila Times in 120 ways
TODAY, Oct. 11, The Manila Times celebrates its 120th year as the country’s oldest English-language newspaper. It has gone through many ups and downs, experienced plenty of firsts and lasts, been revived a number of times, and been under the ownership of some notable Filipino families.
Here are 120 trivia regarding Asia’s must-read English daily as well as one of the country’s widely read broadsheets:
1. Founded on Oct. 11, 1898 after news that the Treaty of Paris—the transfer of sovereignty over the Spanish empire to the United States from Spain—would be signed.
2. Thomas Gowan, an Englishman living in the Philippines, created the paper to serve the American settlers in Manila during the Spanish-American war.
3. Gowan was said to have hired Chofre y Compania, a small printing press on Calle Alix (now Legarda St., in Sampaloc, Manila) to put up the paper, while the paper’s offices were in Escolta, Manila.
4. During the Spanish occupation, most of the newspapers in the Philippines were written in Spanish and other native languages. Only The Times was in English.
5. The maiden issue consisted of two leaves of paper (or four pages) measuring about 12 inches by 8 inches, with each page divided into two columns. The first page was allotted for announcements and advertisements, while the second page was for news and editorial stories. The remaining pages were for cable news from Europe and the US regarding the Spanish-American War.
6. The first editorial read: “Since the United States forces had 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 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.”
7. Before The Times, newspapers in the Philippines were written in a nationalistic and revolutionary manner.
8. In 1899, Gowan sold The Times to its business manager, George Sellner, who, in turn, sold it to a group of American businessmen in 1902 but reacquired it three years later.
9. In 1907, Sellner sold The Times to Thomas C. Kinney, who incorporated a board of directors composed of American and British businessmen, in Times Co.
10. Apparently, Sellner bought the paper not for the love of journalism, but for profit.
11. During Kinney’s ownership, R. McCulloch Dick, a British sailor who came to Manila with the US Navy, was appointed editor of The Times, owing to his experience in newspaper.
12. Martin Egan—famous for his articles in Saturday Evening Post in the US as a war correspondent in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War—took over from Dick as editor of The Times. His wife, Eleanor Franklin Egan, joined him later as subeditor.
13. On July 25, 1914, The Manila Times moved to its new offices at the Cosmopolitan Bldg., in Binondo, Manila. With its transfer, The Times modernized its equipment by acquiring the latest Linotype—a line casting machine used in printing newspapers, magazines, and books, among other publications.
14. Before the modernization of its equipment, the paper had been typesetting by hand since its founding in 1898.
15. In 1918, reports say that Filipino employees of The Times called for an “all-out strike” against the company, accusing it of disrespecting the Philippine custome before a visiting party of American congressmen.
16. Carlos P. Romulo, former resident commissioner of the Philippines and reporter for The Manila Times, was reported to be the leader of the strike. The report gained credence when the movement was said to be inspired by then-Senate President Manuel L. Quezon and other Filipino political leaders. This was followed by the appointment of Romulo as one of Quezon’s cabinet secretaries during the latter’s presidency.
17. From 1918 to 1921, The Times was under the ownership of Quezon. He later sold it to a Hawaiian senator, George H. Fairchild, who was engaged in promoting the Philippine sugar industry.
18. During Fairchild’s ownership, he supervised the paper’s editorial policies, favored news on the sugar industry, and believed to be intensely proAmerican and antiFilipino when it came to politics.
19. In 1926, Fairchild sold The Times to Jacob Rosenthal, a businessman engaged in the importation and manufacture of shoes.
20. On Dec. 10, 1928, the Cosmopolitan Bldg., where The Times housed for nearly two decades, was reported to have burned down, forcing Rosenthal to sell the paper to D.H. Thibault, general manager of Tribune-Vanguardia-Taliba (TVT) publications owned by Don Alejandro Roces, Sr.
21. On Feb. 15, 1930, Thibault made an advance announcement that The Times would fold up a month after, or March 15, after 32 years of existence.
22. The paper’s “Swan Song”—a final public performance or professional activity before retirement—was published on March 14, 1930.
23. After 15 years, The Times resumed operations in 1945 under Don Roces, Sr.’s TVT publications.
24. In the wake of World War II, the heirs of Don Roces, Sr. were said to have gathered to discuss the revival of The Times. The owners agreed to drop the TVT name and to form a corporation named The Manila Times Publishing Co., Inc.
25. On May 27, 1945, the paper’s first revived issue came out as The Sunday Times, which rolled out every Sunday.
26. On Sept. 5, 1945, the first daily issue of The Manila Times reappeared on the streets of Manila.
27. Records show that staff members of The Times during the postwar period included Jose P. Bautista, prewar editor of The Tribune; Jose Luna Castro and Emilio Aguilar Cruz, staff members of the prewar Graphic; Vicente J. Guzman, formerly of the Bulletin; Luis Serrano, Crispin Gonzales, Anatolio Litonjua, Andres B. Callanta, Jose L. Guevara, Benjamin Osias, and Zosimo Resurreccion. Among those who served as society editor were Jim Austria, Carole Guerrero, Rosario Delgado, Jovita Rodas, Estrella Alfon, Cita Trinidad, and Consuelo G. Abaya.
28. The late senator Benigno Simeon “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr., who then a teenage reporter for The Times covering the police and other minor beats, was sent out to cover the Korean War. He was assigned to the Army beat upon his return to the Philippines.
29. Another notable Philippine politician who shared her journalism skills with The Times was Maria Kalaw-Katigbak. She was a columnist, writing articles that were claimed to be highly appreciated by the reading public, especially women.
30. The Times again closed operations when Martial Law was imposed in September 1972. It remained closed for the next 14 years.
31.The Marcos regime allegedly used The Times presses as its own, printing issues under the name The Times Journal, which carried out news and events related to and accepted by the government.
32. Days before the EDSA People Power Revolution that ousted Marcos, the Roces family again revived The Manila Times. After three years, however, the family sold the paper to businessman John Gokongwei.
33. The paper was sued for P101 million during the Estrada administration, after it published a story that allegedly called then-President Joseph Estrada an “unwitting godfather” to a supposed fraudulent deal. 34. In 1996, The Manila Times Village was constructed in what is now Metro Manila’s Las Piñas City. Of the three prospective locations in Las Piñas, only the one in Pamplona Tres had materialized as a site for the home of the newspaper痴 employees. Divided into 200- to 300-square-meter lots, the new village was named after the newspaper and the streets took the names of the other publications under the Roces group裕aliba, Variety, Sunday Times, etc. The main road was called Manila Times Ave.
35. The paper folded up for the third time on July 23, 1999. Then it was bought by Mark Jimenez, allegedly one of Estrada’s close associates.
36. At first, Jimenez wanted his acquisition to go undisclosed, operating under the supposed owner, Reghis Romero (another close associate of Estrada’s), from October to November 1999. Then it was disclosed to Estrada that Jimenez had, indeed, bough The Times.
37. In August 2001, Jimenez sold The Times to its present owner, Dr. Dante Arevalo Ang, who is now the paper’s chairman emeritus.
38. For a long while, The Manila Times lived under the motto “Pioneer American Daily in the Far East,” with the blurb “Publishing every day since 1898” written under its masthead.
39. In his book “History of Journalism in the Philippine Islands,” Jesus Valenzuela said that Quezon’s purchase of The Times and the strike that occurred there were in connection to latter’s founding of an English daily, The Philippines Herald.
40. According to reports, under the ownership of Fairchild in 1925, The Times published a story about a Senate member acting as a spy for the governor-general, Leonard Wood. Fairchild was said to have been summoned for investigation of The Times, the first in its history.
41. Jose P. Laurel, Juan B. Alegre, Jose O. Vera, Claro M. Recto, and Elpidio Quirino were among the members of the Senate investigation committee that looked into the matter. Accounts state that Quirino was said to be pointing the finger toward The Times’ Senate reporter as the culprit.
42. Further accounts revealed that the real culprit of the story was the paper’s guest reporter, James Montague-Parker, who escaped upon learning about the investigation.
43. Records claim that under Fairchild’s ownership, The Times developed its pool of first-class reporters and editorial staff members.
44. Under Rosenthal’s ownership, it was said that he retained North Jenkins, the paper’s business manager during Fairchild’s ownership. Under Jenkins, the paper was reported to be financially abundant.
45. Also under Rosenthal, The Times was publishing two daily editions as well as several weekly provincial sections and supplements. Soon after, however, The Times abolished the provincial sections and went back to being single-edition.
46. The Manila Times and The Manila Bulletin had been next-door neighbors during their tenure at the Cosmopolitan Bldg. and before Bulletin moved out its plant to Evangelista St., in Quiapo.
47. In 1927, Ramon Roces, the son of Don Alejandro Roces, Sr., founded The Philippines Graphic, a newsweekly and literary magazine written in English.
48.Having gone into hiatus during Martial Law, Graphic had a rebirth in 1990.
49. Not long after the declaration of Martial Law, Joaquin “Chino” Roces, another son of Alejandro Roces, Sr., was jailed for being an activist of press freedom.
50. In January 1986, after the lifting of Martial Law, Ramon Roces, nephew of Don Roces, Sr., revived The Manila Times, registering it under the name of his grandson, Alfredo Roces-Guerrero.
51. On Feb. 5, 1986, two days before the snap elections, The Times reopened with Joaquin “Titong” Roces as its editor-in-chief.
52. After its revival, The Times reportedly had eight reporters and a handful of editors who worked in a small section of a publishing loft in downtown Manila.
53. Ramon Roces invested about $100,000 in putting The Times back in business.
54. When Joaquin “Titong” Roces became ambassador to Taiwan, his brother Alejandro took over his position as editor-in-chief.
55. On April 30, 1988, Chino Roces left The Manila Chronicle to rejoin The Manila Times. He passed away five months later.
56. Before Mark Jimenez purchased The Times, the Roceses reacquired the paper on Oct. 25, 1999, with their lawyer Katrina Legarda as publisher and editor-in-chief of “The New Manila Times.”
57. The Roceses sold The Times to the Gokongweis due to financial constraints.
58. John Gokongwei allegedly bought the newspaper as a gift to his daughter, Robina Gokongwei, who convinced him to buy the paper so that she could express her passion for journalism.
59.The Gokongweis retained most of the staff from the previous Roces-owned publication.
60.On July 23, 1999, the final banner story of the Gokongwei-owned publication read “Closed!”
61. The Times’ life-sized statue of the “newsboy,” who has stood prominently at the entrance of the paper’s varied offices for years, is fondly nicknamed “Cosme” by the staff under the ownership of the Ang family.
62.Cosme is as recognizable as The Times’ unchanged logo, which has been used for years, except for a brief period during the editorship of Malou Mangahas when the paper was owned by the Gokongweis.
63. The paper’s current President and CEO, Dante “Klink” Ang 2nd, said the statue seen at the entrance of The Times offices in Intramuros, Manila, is not the original version.
64. The original brass statue of Cosme is owned by the Roces family.
65. The newsboy statue was reportedly made by Guillermo Tolentino, who was considered the “Father of Philippine Arts” for his works such as the Bonifacio Monument, located along the intersections of EDSA and Rizal Ave., and the Oblation statue at University of the Philippines. Tolentino, however, did not sign the art piece, as he was known to do with his other works.
66. The said inspiration for Tolentino’s Cosme came from a small statue given to his father as a gift from England, according to Edgardo Roces, one of the children of the late Chino Roces.
67. The original statue shows Cosme wearing rubber shoes, which was not common in England. Tolentino then added the feature of the carved “The Manila Times” onto the newspaper that the statue is holding.
68. The statue has two other replicas: one currently located at the lobby of The Manila Times offices, and another at the garden of Casa Roces restaurant, in Malacañang compound.
69. Another feature that Tolentino added to the statue was the slab of brown marble on which it stands.
70. In an interview with The Times “Lifestyle” section, Klink Ang shared that former chief justice Art Panganiban used to be a newsie, selling copies of The Manila Times on the streets.
71. He used to be a newsie himself when he was young, but not for The Times. He distributed a publication belonging to the so-called “mosquito press” during the Marcos regime.
72. He loves golf, so The Times staged “The Manila Times 1st President’s Cup,” on July 21, 2016, at Eagle Ridge Golf and Country Club, in General Trias, Cavite.
73. On Feb. 10, 2016, the paper awarded President Rodrigo Duterte as the “Manila Times Man of the Year,” with the unveiling of a caricature of the President.
74. After its relaunch in 2001, The Times became the country’s fourth-largest newspaper in terms of readership.
75. A recent poll ranked The Times as No. 3 in the Visayas region.
76. Under the Angs, The Times has received recognitions from the Jaime Ongpin Awards for excellence in journalism and from the Philippine Press Institute, among other awards.
77. Outside of the paper business, Ang was appointed the first chairman of office of the Commission of Filipino Overseas, serving from 2004 to 2010.
78. Besides being the chairman, Ang had also held other positions in the paper such as publisher, columnist, and president.
79. Ang was also known for his rich experiences in international diplomacy, contributions to the development of democracy in the Philippines during and after the Marcos regime, achievements in the field of marketing, and a good track record in labor and employment.
80. On May 3, 2017, President Duterte appointed Ang as “Special Envoy of the President for International Public Relations,” owing to the latter’s wide experience in the field of public relations.
81. Ang served as publicist to former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
82. In 2002, Ang established The Manila Times School of Journalism—now The Manila Times College (TMTC)—to promote journalism as a profession and excellence among practising journalists.
83. TMTC is said to be the first school being operated by an established newspaper, where Ang also presides as chairman.
84. It’s the only journalism school that offers students on-the-job training from day one of classes.
85. TMTC has come to be known as the most innovative and responsible center of journalism education in the Philippines.
86. Isagani R. Cruz, the prize-winning journalist, creative writer, TV producer, and respected educator, previously presided as the college’s president. Likewise, Rene Q. Bas, former editor-in-chief and now publisher emeritus of The Times, had served as college dean.
87. TMTC’s main campus is located within the historic walls of Intramuros, Manila. It has a branch in Subic, where it offers medical-related courses aside from its journalism program.
88. “Sunday Times Magazine,” “Fast Times,” “Maritime,” and “Expats & Diplomats” are among the weekly sections and special sections published in the paper.
89. Former ambassador Rigoberto Tiglao joined the paper in 2013 as one of its columnists.
90. Essayist Juan T. Gatbonton, the Philippines’ most statesmanlike analyst of the political economy, writes at least once a month for the paper.
91. In 2012, The Times and TMTC launched the Voice of Asia Speech Competition, a contest that aims to encourage Asia’s youth to take part in intercultural discussions, share ideas about education, and represent their country through the use of the English language.
92. The Times had been a 10-year Superbrand awardee since 2005. It has been one of the most recognizable brands in the Philippines, since most of the leaders in the business and the government sectors grew up reading the paper.
93. The paper made a successful inroad to the internet medium, being regarded as one of the first Philippine newspapers to develop an online edition.
94. Its online edition is among the country’s top most popular news websites.
95. The Times was the first recipient of “National Newspaper of the Year” award when the Rotary Club of Manila launched it in 1966.
96. It was also awarded as the 2018 “National Newspaper of the Year” by Rotary Club of Manila.
97. In 2017, the paper received the “Outstanding Newspaper Award” from Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), a nongovernment organization that envisions a relatively crime- and corruption-free Philippines.
98. Also last year, reporter Jefferson Antiporda received a VACC award for his excellent reporting.
99. The Times and TMTC reinforces the college’s broadcasting course with the upcoming The Manila Times TV.
100. The publication’s digital presence can be seen in a number of platforms, such as its electronic newsletter, mobile application (available on iOS and Android), and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
101. During the paper’s 118th anniversary, Ang revealed his reason for buying the paper, saying “I bought The Manila Times largely on emotion and vision. I wanted my family to be part of history. In my own small way, I dreamed of continuing the good fight, the fight for truth and justice that our founders had fought for.”
102. The Times has achieved the distinction as the paper with the “Best Opinion Section.”
103. The paper underwent a reformat last year, adding new sections that are published weekly, namely, “Boardroom Watch,” “Golf,” and “Campus Press.”
104.“Boardroom Watch” debuted on May 19, 2017, with Jaime Bautista, president and COO of Philippine Airlines, as its first top-level executive interviewee.
105. “Golf” features pro and amateur tournament results, tips on how to improve one’s game, equipment review, golf apparel, and rankings, among other topics, for the local golf organizations and Filipino golf aficionados.
106. “Campus Press,” launched in February 2017, where it invited students to contribute news articles and features, to be published by the paper and rolled out every Thursday.
107. The digital platforms of The Times has videos, live streaming coverage, and other visual presentations available to its readers.
108. On Feb. 14, 2017, The Times’ first roundtable discussion—with then-Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd—was streamed live via Facebook. The livestreaming lasted one hour, gaining more than a thousand views.
109. The Times most popular roundtable, which was streamed on its Facebook page, was with then-Environment Secretary Gina Lopez.
110. To date, there have been eight roundtables uploaded on The Times’ Facebook page.
111. The Times’ introduced live streaming on its website (manilatimes.net), in 2017, with the first coverage on President Duterte’s second SONA, or State of the Nation Addres.
112. In 2017, the paper also introduced “microsites”—sites dedicated to special events—which are available on its main website.
113. These microsites were created for the 2017 SONA, the 2017 Southeast Asian Games, in Kuala Lumpur, and The Times’ sixth business forum.
114. Data from a 2016 Facebook insight showed that the paper’s online’s audience—based outside of the Philippines—included readers from Saudi Arabia,the US, Latin America, Canada, Australia, Europe, Asian countries, and the African continent.
115. The Times held its first business forum entitled “Business as Usual in Unusual Times,” with former president Fidel V. Ramos as its keynote speaker on October 28, 2014, at the Dusit Thani Manila Hotel, in Makati City.
116. It created and organized an award-giving event dubbed “The Philippine Model Cities and Municipalities,” to promote the need for more of the most-livable cities nationwide.
117. It staged its first “Women’s Circle,” a biannual gathering of successful women across various industries, on June 22, 2016.
118. The second “Women’s Circle” was followed five months after at Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria, in Ortigas, where it focused on beauty and health.
119. During The Times’ 5th Business Forum, which was held on Feb. 10, 2017, its keynote speaker was President Duterte.
120. Currently, The Times is one of the country’s leading national dailies.