WHEN the martial law regime closed it down in 1972, The Manila Times had been for 27 years our country’s No. 1 daily. The Times’ editors, writers, reporters and staff members became founders, top editors, reporters and columnists of the new Philippine dailies founded with the approval of martial law authorities.
Here’s a brief timeline of The Manila Times’ moments of triumphs and trials:
1898 The Manila Times first came out on October 11, 1898, a few weeks after the Treaty of Paris was signed, and the country fell into the hands of American invaders.
The American community in the Philippines grew, and so did the demand for an English-language paper. Thomas Gowan, an Englishman addressed those demands with the formation of The Manila Times.
Chofre y Compania was the first printing press hired by Gowan, located along Legarda St., formerly known as CalleAlix. The Times had a separate office in Escolta, Manila.
Its first issue had four pages and two leaves, measuring about 12 by 8 inches divided into two columns. First page consist of announcements and advertisements, while the second page was the editorial and important news of the day. The third page had cable news from Europe and the United States, with reportage on the Spanish-American War.
In those days The Times bore the flagship “Pioneer American daily in the Far East,” and underneath it, “Published everyday since 1898.” This rang true to the day that the paper burned down in 1928.
1899 In 1899, George Sellner bought The Manila Times from Gowan and treated it as a profitable business while making it a more sustainable journalistic venture.
1907 Sellner sold the paper to Thomas C. Kinney who incorporated the newspaper as The Manila Times, Inc. and formed a board of directors. The company achieved financial stability during his management.
1908 Martin Egan, famous for his articles in the Saturday Evening Post in the United States and as war correspondent in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War, became the editor of The Manila Times. He was later joined by his wife Eleanor Franklin Egan who became the subeditor.
1914 Due to the success and growth of the publication, The Manila Times moved from its original office in Escolta and transferred to Cosmopolitan Building near McArthur Bridge. With the new office, came a new Linotype machine, giving the Times an edge against competitors.
1918 In time for the coming of an American congressional delegation to probe the Philippines’ readiness for independence, employees of The Manila Times called an all-out strike against their American supervisors whom they believed misrepresented them. It was said that the leader of the strike was Manuel L. Quezon who hired some of the employees as his temporary staff.
1919 Quezon ended up buying the newspaper. His ownership did not last long since after two years, he went to be president of the Philippines and sold the paper, with the realization that politics and publishing don’t mix.
1921 George Fairchild assumed control as the new owner of The Manila Times and launched the golden years of the newspaper. George was a conservative businessman, an ardent believer of an autonomous Philippine Commonwealth. He was often accused of being anti-Filipino but during a Senate trial involving his Filipino employees, he backed them up. Also under his ownership, the publication had come to have first-class reporters.
1928 A disaster struck the The Manila Times when a fire burned the building down to the ground. The tragic event would have signaled the publication’s end had not the American owners of the Bulletin housed The Manila Times on Evangelista Street. Days later, the publication moved to Intramuros and used the facilities of the Philippines Herald. In the same year, then owner Jacob Rosenthal collected the insurance and sold the publication to the TVT (Tribune-Vanguardia-Taliba) chain of newspapers owned by Alejandro Roces Sr.
1930 It was announced that after 32 years of existence, The Manila Times would discontinue.
1945 Nearing the end of the Second World War, the heirs of Alejandro Roces Sr., decided to revive their father’s business. All were made possible through the help of Dave Boguslav. Boguslav’s management made the rebirth of The Manila Times successful. During this post-WWII period the publication excelled in writing investigative reports.
1949 A 16-year-old boy wearing a short pants showed up for a job interview with Boguslav. He expressed his eagerness to become a journalist. That boy was Benigno “Ninoy” Aqunio Jr. Due to his passion to be a journalist, he was the first choice to be sent to cover the Korean War when it broke out in 1950.
1950-1972 The Manila Times excelled as the Philippines’ No. 1 newspaper in circulation, coverage of regional and national events, and OpEd columns that commanded the attention and respect of national leaders.
With Publisher Chino Roces’ encouragement, Times reporters and columnists berated corrupt national officials and provincial officials and exposed unpatriotic activities.
1972 Martial law was declared by Ferdinand Marcos on September 21. The Manila Times and 11 media organizations except those owned or coopted by the government were shut down. Some Times editors and writers, as also those of other newspapers, were picked up by military teams. Some Times men succeeded in escaping to other countries before they were arrested.
1986 The Roces family revived the The Manila Times a few days before the day Marcos was ousted and carried away by Americans from Malacañang at the height of the EDSA Revolt. Ex-Times senior editor Jose Monteclaro edited The Times. After, Monteclaro. another ex-Times senior editor Manuel Benitez—who had worked in Hong Kong during the martial law years together with ex-Timesmen Johnny Gatbonton and Rene Bas—became editor.
1989 The Gokongwei group took over The Manila Times. Under them, one of the Philippine Center of Investigative Journalism’s much-awarded journalists Malou Mangahas became the paper’s editor.
1999 On July 23, 1999, The Manila Times bannered a one-word headline, “Closed.” This signaled the end of the publication under the Gokongwei’s hands.
On October 11, it operated under Reghis Romero, who was fronting for businessman Mark Jimenez, and Katrina Legarda until New Year’s Eve when the editors suddenly left their desks and resigned.
No issue was missed, however, because a new set of editors and writers led by Publisher Adrian Cristobal and Editor-in-Chief Cipriano “Cip” Roxas immediately took over the responsibility of putting out the paper.
The Times continued to come out daily until the Mark Jimenez Group sold it to businessman Dante Arevalo Ang.
2001 On August 8, 2001- The Manila Times was relaunched under Dante A. Ang.
On assuming ownership of the publication, he promised to honor its rich heritage of excellence in journalism, a policy that prevails until today 13 years later.
He formally is now the Chairman Emeritus, making sure that those involved in the day-to-day work of publishing The Manila Times are committed to the spirit of excellence and the highest principles of journalism in a democratic society.
The Manila Times is the oldest-running broadsheet in the Philippines.
Compiled and written by Miguel Asistio and John Roy Abenaza