World Stamps

Fire tears through historic post office in the Philippines

May 23, 2023, 2 PM
This Philippines 1932 4-centavo stamp pictures the Manila Central Post Office, which suffered massive damage from a fire that ripped through the historic structure on May 21.

By Charles Snee

An intense fire inflicted massive damage on the historic Manila Central Post Office in downtown Manila, the capital of the Philippines, on May 21.

More than 80 fire trucks responded to the inferno, which took more than seven hours to get under control, according to news reports from around the world.

Postmaster General Luis Carlos said the fire rapidly spread because the building was not equipped with a sprinkler system, according to some of the reports, including the May 22 report on the South China Morning Post website.

“The whole library of stamps had been burned out,” the report quoted Carlos as saying. Also likely destroyed was “the country’s collection of commemorative and antique stamps,” the report said.

Carlos noted that the building is considered a heritage site. “We have to look for a structural engineer to check the integrity of the building,” he said.

The post office was constructed in 1926 and was partially destroyed during World War II when United States forces recaptured Manila from Japanese occupation forces. It was rebuilt in 1946.

In 2018, the post office was designated an important cultural property by the Philippine National Museum.

The Manila Central Post Office has appeared on a number of stamps from the Philippines, including the 1932 4-centavo rose carmine stamp (Scott 355) pictured here.

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