Have you ever been to the Tutuban Center? Well, if you have not then you are missing out. That is because Tutuban Center is a fantastic mall. Affordable shops for all your needs and wants. And not to forget the place has a lot of restaurants and food to satisfy your cravings.
Also, Tutuban is located at the juncture of many jeepney lines. So, you do not have to worry if you will be able to get a ride to and from the place. But have you ever wondered why some parts of the center have brick masonry? Compared to other malls it seems like Tutuban is the only mall that uses bricks. Why is that? Well, that is because before Tutuban Center became a mall it was once a train station.
In 1875, King Alfonso XII of Spain initiated plans to build a railroad system in the Philippines. Next, he then commanded the Office of the Inspector of Public Works in the Philippines to make plans for his railway. The office tasked engineer Eduardo Lopez Navarro to conduct the surveys, accounting, and planning for the venture. Afterward, Navarro proposed three railroad lines that would total 1,730 kilometers long. The plan gave priority to one of the railroad lines, the Manila-Dagupan line. Later on, people would call the line the “main line”.
By 1887, the Manila Railway Company (MCR) won the bid to build the railroad. And on the 31st of July 1887 MRC started the construction of the Manila Central Station in Tutuban. MCR made the Manila-Dagupan line based on British methods. And that is why Tutuban has brick masonry, not concrete. Afterward in November 1892, the railroad opened its doors for service. The project exceeded its estimated price of P4,616,000.00 which is a 63 percent increase. In the end, the Royal Crown of Spain paid P7,899,000.00 for the railroad. But the entire project was worth it. Because of the opening, real estate values increase, renewed development in the old town that the line passes, and stimulated production and flow of goods.
Sadly, the railroad faced many challenges that led to its eventual closure. The Philippine Revolutionary War, The Philippine-American War, and the 2nd World War halted the railroad operation. After the wars, the Manila-Dagupan railroad did all right until the1970s. During this time the Philippine government shifted priorities from the railroad to highways and other mass transportation systems. This led to the end of the railroad.
Present Day Tutuban Center
By 1993, Tutuban transformed from a train station into the shopping complex that we see today. You can still see the remnants of its past today. Look around and see the historical marker of the MCR on the side of the complex.
See the old railways around the area. And not to mention the Philippine National Railway, the progenitors of the MRC. They still operate a train station nearby named Tutuban. This railroad line goes from Tutuban all the south to Alabang in Muntinlupa.
If you are in the mood for shopping or finding a good place to eat, try Tutuban Center. It’s easy to go to, has affordable shops, and has great places to eat at. So, visit Tutuban and feel the history of this old train station while enjoying yourself
Martin is your average manileño. He loves history and traveling around his beloved Metro Manila. His passion is to make the past come to life by exposing past stories not known by the general public. Tag along with him as he visits the past through the present.