Throwback Filipinas: The Philippines and Filipinos as seen on the pages of LIFE Magazine

life-church-philippines-april-1951CATHOLIC CHURCH in PHILIPPINES on Negros Island, designed by New York firm of Raymond and Rado, is built entirely of reinforced concrete and concrete block. Frescoes by Alfonso Ossotio show Christ welcoming the multitudes as the hands of God offer him up. Large eye (top) indicates omniscient, all-seeing divinity. (LIFE Magazine, April 1951)

life-filipino-dancers-nov-1961Sharp as cat’s claws, the garish 6-inch fingernails flash open and shut in a dance that once centuries ago entertained the sultans of the Philippines. Now, in a charming nightclub act, they are knocking the eyes out of the customers at the Dunes in Las Vegas. The outlandish nails are made of metal, as they must be in this modern age. All but few of the wearers are Filipino college grads turned show girls, part of a revue imported from Manila. Imbued with Oriental modesty, the dancers threatened to pack up for home if any nudes–the Vegas staple–appeared in the same show with them. The Dunes gave in and Philippine Festival is such a resounding hit that it is set for six month run. (LIFE Magazine, November 1961)

life-filipinos-in-cambodia-dec-1957The road leads not only to the sea but also to new skills for the Cambodians working on it. They learn from U.S. road builders and surveyors. To make job training even more effective, Filipino instructors have been brought in by the aid mission as best equipped to teach their fellow Asians. (LIFE Magazine, December 1957)

Photo caption: FILIPINO INSTRUCTOR (back to camera) teaches welding to a Cambodian at U.S. supported school in Phnom Penh where students learn to service the heavy machinery used on the road construction job.

life-imelda marcos-malacanang-nov-1966Wearing a barong tagalog at the barrio party, the President (Lyndon Johnson) dances with his own Lady Bird and with the lovely Philippine first lady, Imelda Marcos. On the portico of the brilliantly lighted palace the guests of honr gather to watch a troupe of Filipino dancers. The party given by President and Mrs. Marcos drew 3,000. (LIFE Magazine, November 1966)

life-imelda-marcos-sep-30-1966Singing at reception held by Philippine embassy, Mrs. Marcos got thundering ovation. To a beaming L.B.J., Marcos remarked, “Now know you know how I got elected.” Indeed, Mrs. Marcos had accompanied her husband on his recent campaign tour singing from platforms. (LIFE Magazine, September 1966)

life-leyte-church-hospital-dec-1944In their church which has become hospital, barefoot Filipino women worship only a few feet from the expressionless mask of a burned American officer. / Army Nurse Florence Vehmeier stands outside her hospital church which was built by Spaniards in the 18th century. (LIFE Magazine, December 1944)

life-manila-april-1945Inside Manila’s City Hall there were sill live Japs when Carl Mydans took this picture. The Americans took and lost City Hall four times before they arrived to stay Feb 22. A hundred Japs were found in the offices and corridors where deadly skirmishes dragged on for days. Japanese riflemen shot at Mydans as he ran for cover among the City Hall ruins. (LIFE Magazine, April 1945)

life-ramon-magsaysay-death-apr-1957Collapsing in grief as she takes a last look at Ramon Magsaysay’s bier, a woman in the long line of mourners is gently helped up to her feet. (LIFE Magazine, April 1957)

life-tarsier-aug-1947The terrible little tarsier which sleeps by day and pounces from treetops at night on lizards and insects in the Philippine jungles, is now in captivity and public display for the first time in U.S. history. (LIFE Magazine, August 1947)

life-tita duran-dec-1951TITA DURAN, 23, represents the Filipino ideal of the shy, sweet, faithful woman. Often teaming up with her husband Pancho Magalona, se makes about $7,500 a film, playing in everyhting from gay musical to melodramatic tear-jerkers. All 45 of her films to date have been highly successful. (LIFE Magazine, December 1951)

life-victoria-draves-filipino-olympian-aug-1948DIVING CHAMPION Vicki Draves who has an English mother and a Filipino father, relaxes after victory while her usually critical husband-coach beams his approval. She was the only U.S. athlete to win two individual titles. (LIFE Magazine, August 1948)

taal volcano 1965                                                        Taal Volcano (LIFE Magazine, October 1965)

life-manila-bay-sunset-dec-1962SUNSET OVER MANILA HARBOR. The great port cities of the world can be quiet havens from the sea’s dangers or boisterous respites from the monotony of shipboard life. Every ship and sailor weaves a different strand into a seaport’s life, giving it a pulse beat that inland cities never knows. Manila’s magnificent 30-mile-long harbor has been a romantic crossroad ever since 16th century Spanish galleons put in there to trade copper and cocoa beans and Mexican silver. (LIFE Magazine, December 1962)


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