THE Manila Times, the oldest existing English-language newspaper in the Philippines, is celebrating its 121st anniversary. Over the years, the newspaper has been open to adaptation as it believes innovation can thrive in this age of transformation.
Oct. 11, 1898. The Manila Times was founded after news that the Treaty of Paris — the transfer of sovereignty over the Spanish empire to the United States from Spain — would be penned.
Thomas Gowan. Created the publication to serve the American colonizers in Manila during the Spanish-American war. Gowan was an Englishman residing in the Philippines.
Chofre y Compania. A small printing press on Calle Alix (now Legarda Street, in Sampaloc, Manila) that Gowan hired to put out the paper.
English. Only The Manila Times was written in this language. During the Spanish period, a lot of the newspapers in the country were written in Spanish and other native languages.
The maiden issue. Two leaves of paper (or four pages) measuring 12 inches by 8 inches, with each page divided into two columns. The first page contained announcements and advertisements, while the second page was devoted to news and editorial stories. The remaining pages were for cable news from Europe and the US regarding the Spanish-American War.
1899. The year Gowan dropped the paper to its business manager, George Sellner, who, later on, sold it to a group of American businessmen in 1902 but repurchased it three years later.
1907. Sellner sold The Times to Thomas C. Kinney. He was part of a board of directors represented by American and British business entrepreneurs in Times Co.
R. McCulloch Dick. A British seaman who came to Manila with the US Navy, Dick was named editor of The Times during Kinney’s ownership.
Martin Egan. Took over from Dick as editor of the paper. He was famous for his accounts in the Saturday Evening Post in the US as a war correspondent in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War. His wife, Eleanor Franklin Egan, helped him later as sub-editor.
July 25, 1914. The Times moved to its new offices at the Cosmopolitan Building in Binondo, Manila. With its transfer, The Times — typeset by hand since its founding — innovated its equipment by obtaining the latest Linotype, a line casting machine used in printing newspapers, magazines, and books, among other publications.
1918. Filipino employees of The Times rallied against the company, accusing it of disrespecting Philippine customs before a visiting party of American lawmakers.
Carlos P. Romulo was tagged as leader of the strike. He was a reporter of the paper at that time. The report gained reliability when the the group was said to be inspired by then-Senate President Manuel L. Quezon and other political leaders.
1918-1921. The Times’ possession was under Quezon. He later transferred ownership to a Hawaiian lawmaker, George H. Fairchild, who was known for promoting the Philippine sugar industry.
1925. A first in its history: Fairchild was said to have been summoned for investigation of the paper after it published a story about a Senate member acting as a spy for the governor-general, Leonard Wood.
1926. Fairchild sold the publication to a business entrepreneur, Jacob Rosenthal, who was engaged in the importation and manufacture of shoes.
Dec. 10, 1928. The Times’ Cosmopolitan Building, where it was housed for nearly two decades, was reported to have burned down. Rosenthal was forced to sell the paper to D.H. Thibault, general manager of the Tribune-Vanguardia-Taliba (TVT) publications controlled by Don Alejandro Roces Sr.
Feb. 15, 1930. After 32 years of service, Thibault announced that The Times would close a month after, or on March 15.
1945. After 15 years, The Times resumed operations under Roces’ TVT publications. The owners dropped the TVT name and created a corporation named The Manila Times Publishing Co. Inc.
May 27, 1945. The Manila Times’ first issue after its revival was published as The Sunday Times, which has rolled out every Sunday until the present.
Sept. 5, 1945. The first daily The Manila Times issue was seen on the streets of Manila.
Benigno Simeon “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., former senator and then a teenaged Times reporter covering the police and other minor beats, was sent out to cover the Korean War.
September 1972. The paper again closed operations when Martial Law was imposed by then-President Ferdinand Marcos. It remained closed for the next 14 years.
January 1986. Ramon Roces, nephew of Don Roces Sr. revived The Times after Martial Law was lifted. It was registered under the name of his grandson, Alfredo Roces-Guerrero.
Feb. 5, 1986. The paper reopened again with Joaquin “Titong” Roces as its editor in chief, two days before the snap elections. Ramon Roces invested about $100,000 in putting the paper back in business.
The Roces family revived The Times days before the EDSA People Power Revolution that ousted Marcos. The family then sold The Times to businessman John Gokongwei.
During the Estrada government, The Times was sued for P101 million after it published a story that allegedly called then-President Joseph Estrada an “unwitting godfather” to a supposed fraudulent deal.
July 23, 1999. The paper folded up for the third time. Mark Jimenez, said to be one of Estrada’s close associates, bought the newspaper. The final banner story of the Gokongwei-owned publication read “Closed!”
Oct. 25, 1999. The Roceses announced that they had re-acquired the newspaper, with their lawyer Katrina Legarda as publisher and editor in chief of “The New Manila Times.”
August 2001. Jimenez sold the paper to its present owner, Dr. Dante Arevalo Ang, who is now the paper’s chairman emeritus.
The Times lived under the motto “Pioneer American Daily in the Far East,” with the blurb “Publishing every day since 1898” written under its masthead.
John Gokongwei allegedly purchased the newspaper as a gift to his daughter, Robina Gokongwei, who convinced him to buy the newspaper so that she could indulge her passion for journalism.
“Cosme.” The nickname of The Times’ life-sized statue of the “newsboy,” which has stood prominently at the entrance of the paper’s varied offices for years except during the editorship of Malou Mangahas when the paper was owned by the Gokongweis. This logo is under Ang’s ownership.
Dante “Klink” Ang 2nd is the current president and CEO of the paper.
2002. Ang instituted The Manila Times School of Journalism — now The Manila Times College (TMTC) — to promote journalism as a profession and excellence among practicing journalists. TMTC has been known to be the most innovative and responsible center of journalism education in the country.
2012. The Times and TMTC assembled the Voice of Asia Speech Competition, which to engage Asia’s youth to take part in intercultural discussions, share ideas about education, and represent their country through the use of the English language.
Multi-awarded. Since 2005, the paper has been a 10-year Superbrand awardee. The newspaper has also received recognitions from the Jaime Ongpin Awards and Philippine Press Institute for excellence in journalism. In 2018, the newspaper received the “National Newspaper of the Year” award given by Rotary Club of Manila.
Oct. 28, 2014. The newspaper organized its first business forum titled “Business as Usual in Unusual Times,” with former president Fidel V. Ramos as guest speaker, held at the Dusit Thani Manila Hotel in Makati City.
July 21, 2016. The Times organized “The Manila Times 1st President’s Cup” at Eagle Ridge Golf and Country Club, in General Trias, Cavite.
Feb. 10, 2016. President Rodrigo Duterte was named the “Manila Times Man of the Year,” with the unveiling of a caricature of the President.
June 22, 2016. The paper staged its first “Women’s Circle,” a bi-annual event of successful women across various industries.
The Times is now the country’s fourth-largest newspaper in terms of readership after its comeback in 2001. In the Visayas region, the paper ranked No. 3 in a recent poll.
2017. The Times was awarded as the “Outstanding Newspaper” by the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC).
Special sections: Sunday Times Magazine, Fast Times, Maritime, and Expats & Diplomats are among the weekly sections and special sections that have been established over the years. The Times had a reformat last 2018, adding new sections such as Boardroom Watch, Golf, and Campus Press that are published weekly.
Digital presence. The Times is one of the Philippine newspapers to successfully develop an online edition to adapt to fast-paced technology innovations. The publication’s digital presence can be seen in electronic newsletter, mobile application (available on iOS and Android), and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Opinion leader. The “Best Opinion Section” distinction was achieved by the paper under Ang’s ownership.
Feb. 14, 2017. First-ever roundtable discussion of Times streamed live via Facebook. The guest was then-Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre 2nd. The livestreaming lasted an hour and gained more than a thousand views.
Live streaming on The Times’ website was first introduced in 2017 during the coverage of President Duterte’s second State of the Nation Address.
Overseas reach. Readers from Saudi Arabia, the US, Latin America, Canada, Australia, Europe, Asian countries, and the African continents, are among the paper’s online’s audience based on the data from a 2016 Facebook insight.
Advocacy: The oldest English newspaper in the country created an award-giving body dubbed as “The Philippine Model Cities and Municipalities,” to promote the need for more of the most-livable cities all over the country.
Latest offerings: The newspaper launched its first The Manila Times 500 in November 2018, which the editors and staff envision to be an annual ranking of the cream of the crop of Philippine business. The Manila Times Entertainment and Lifestyle Section together with TMTV put up a weekly online show that features showbiz news and lifestyle events. “CSI — Celebrity, Style, and Inspiration” had its premiere on Aug. 24, 2019.