Jones Bridge, National Post Office Building, late 1920s

This is the Hi-Definition scan. Look at it in the Largest size. Fantastic detail. On the back is written in Japanese: zpahc. says:

this is the translation:

on the left, you can see the post office.

the farthest squared building that you can see is theaters.

you can see the philippines' car (kalesa)

(kalesa means a horse driven carriage)


that's word per word translation :)


  • ACanucklehead 6y

    driving on the left side?
  • John Tewell 6y

    Wow you are very observant. I hadn't noticed. I suspect the Americans had their hand in changing it to how it was in the USA around the time of the photo. But then at times in today's Manila I wonder if the average diver even know what those lines are for on the roads. (smile)... I drove in Bangkok last month and had to really concentrate on keeping on the left side of the road and once I almost stepped in front of a car looking the wrong direction for traffic.
  • ACanucklehead 6y

    well, wasn't manila under British rule for something like two days? ;)
    I read that somewhere but this coudln't have influenced the driving on the left rule (or was I dreaming that I read that?) The Japanese drives on the left side, right? but that wouldn't have been until until ww2 not 1909...
  • John Tewell 6y

    Britain did hold Manila for a couple years in the 1760s. But that is not relative to which side of the road was used. I have changed the date of 1909 that I was told this picture was taken had to be wrong because the Post Office was not built until 1926. Still it is a curiosity about when and why the travelling directions were reversed.
  • ACanucklehead 6y

    I didn't know that the PO was built in 1926. where did it say 1909 then? did I imagine that or did you correct it? the driving direction is interesting.
    here's something I found.

    Wagon teams driven from the wagon: keep left. In some places, teams of horses pulling a wagon were driven by a person sitting on the wagon. A right-handed driver controls the team with a whip held in the right hand, and so must sit on the far right-hand side of the vehicle, or the whip will hit the vehicle and anyone else seated on the wagon. From the right-hand side of the vehicle, the driver finds it easiest to maintain separation with oncoming traffic by keeping to the left. It is also easier to quickly turn the team to the left than to the right if the whip is in the right hand, so it is better to keep left so that a quick left turn can be made off the road in case of a potential collision.

    The choice of sides seems to have been governed by the time of introduction of these different modes of transportation and their relative numbers, as well as by social and political influence. Most often, left-hand riding was the initial standard. In areas where carts and postilion riders became dominant, right-hand driving was adopted. In areas where wagons driven from the vehicle became dominant, left-hand driving remained the norm.
  • John Tewell 6y

    1909 was the information I got with he postcard when I bought it. I posted it that way and wasn't thinking because I know better that the Post Office Building was not built until the later 20s. I did change the title... Thank you so much about "Which side of the road". I find that extremely interesting and informative. I will need to tell my History PhD son about this.
  • Beyond Forgetting 6y

    Right-hand driving was introduced in the Philippines on the last day of the Battle of Manila, 10 March 1945, to facilitate American troop movements

    Though originally most traffic drove on the left worldwide, today about 66% of the world's people live in right-hand traffic countries and 34% in left-hand traffic countries. About 72% of the world's total road distance carries traffic on the right, and 28% on the left

    Early American motor vehicles were produced in RHD (to be driven on the left side lane of the road), following the practice established by horse-drawn buggies. This changed in the early years of the 20th century: Ford changed to LHD production in 1908 with the Model T,[66] and Cadillac in 1916

    Today, U.S. motor vehicles are normally LHD.
  • tongueflicker 3y

    This has always puzzled me. One commentor said that the films could have probably been accidentally printed using the back side, but judging from the correct location of the bridge at the right of the Post Office, these really appear to be RHD vehicles
  • Sepia Lens 3y

    Note you can still see the foundation(s) of the old Bridge of Spain to the left.
  • Beyond Forgetting 3y

    Photo during Liberation of Manila - February 1945
    It has not yet transitioned - traffic is still the same as in 1920

    Rizal Avenue
    you drive on the left-side of the road.
  • Beyond Forgetting 3y

    Even way ... way back, it was always ... drive on the left side of the road ... same place but more before the 2nd WW

    Avenida Rizal
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Taken on July 8, 2009
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