Postal Heritage Talks and Tour by the Royal Postal Heritage Guided Tour

Why stamps are so highly valued? What is Philately? Why collect stamps? How can PHLPost improve its inefficient postal system? – Comprehensive Guide to Postal Heritage Talks and Tour by the Royal Postal Heritage Guided Tour

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are mine.

​ Deiville revisited the Manila Central Post Office (MCPO) on 15 February 2020. Previously, we’ve attended Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) walking tour headed by Mr. Rence Chan of Walk with Chan and Filipinas Stamp Collectors’ Club (FSCC) in August 2012 [Postal Heritage Walking Tour: Postal Museum and Library.] This time, the guided tour was arranged by the PHLPost group. The demo tour focuses on the history of the structure, the redevelopment of MCPO, and classic interiors. The walking tour and heritage talks are free and are held once a month.

Postal Heritage Talks and Tour by the Royal Postal Heritage Guided Tour
The Neoclassical style facade is built with sixteen iconic pillars with a volute design atop the columns, leading the way to its multiple doors that suggest heavy foot traffic (transactions) during its heyday. Postal Heritage Talks and Tour by the Royal Postal Heritage Guided Tour. Full images are available at

The MCPO building structure, interiors and memorabilia collection as well as stamps collecting or philately have a vast history to tell. From the pre-World War 2 era, Neo-Classical architectural design down to its interiors and facilities, the totality of its heritage value, these are now given prior importance by the national government. In 2018, the National Museum declared the historic Post Office Building as an Important Cultural Property (ICP) in recognition of its cultural, artistic and historical significance. PHLPost has also unveiled the Museum Ceremonial Groundbreaking Marker to officially start the construction and retrofitting of the Philippine Postal and Philatelic Museum in partnership with the National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA).

PHLPost aims to inspire Filipinos to protect, preserve and promote these exceptional and outstanding cultural properties by establishing a Museum that will hold nationally important historical archive of stamps and museum collections, providing visual, physical and written records of 250 years of postal heritage in the country.” – PIA

My first blog about PHLPost in 2012, it was stated that, initially there were plans to convert the structure into a five-star hotel, thus the idea never materialized due to environmental issues concerning the location of the building. It’s a good thing though now that MCPO is officially a heritage site.

From the beginning, the idea of making it into a hotel is next to impossible. Everyone knows the location is a flood-prone area, until such time the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Manila fixes this urban problem they have been experiencing.

The walking tour focuses on what’s inside the building, the beauty of the pillars and its asymmetrical floor plan, as well as the damage it took from the Japanese invasion, and the restoration it underwent during the liberation of Manila.

Postal Heritage Talks and Tour by the Royal Postal Heritage Guided Tour
Manila Post Office in 1945

To date, the service of PHLPost has evolved since the vanishing patronage of the people from using the snail mail services. The exchanging of letters was replaced by email, online messaging apps, and chat boxes. Sad but true, technology has replaced the meaningful ways to get the message across.

Contrary to beliefs, snail mails are still actively used by a group of enthusiasts. The value of philately is highly praised mostly by avid collectors and history itself defines the timeline it covers. Philately groups are overwhelmed by the outpour of the younger generation getting into stamp collecting. In fact, this kind of postal heritage tour encourages young blood to build curiosity over what stories have been told through the years since World War II, ever since the first stamp was introduced, the objectives of why stamps were created, on how to measure the value of stamps, and so on. Until this present generation gathers interest to pursue philately, the group won’t stop doing what they like best.


Tentative schedule of the free guided tour – every third Saturday of the month

Meet up at the Manila Central Post Office main lobby

8:50 AM to 9:00 AM: Registration and assembly
9:00 AM to 9:10 AM: Briefing by Mr. Rence Chan of Walk with Chan) games, trivia and on the spot raffle.
9:10 AM to 9: 30 AM:  Talk by Ms. Arlene Labao of  Philatelic Section
9:30 AM to 10:00 AM: Special talks about philately and heroes  by Mrs. Josefina T. Cura of the Philippine Philatelic Federation and founder of Filipinas Stamp Collectors’ Club
10:00 AM to 11:45 AM: Post office tour, facilities, P.O. boxes, sorting of mails, proposed museum and gallery, post shoppe

Parking space is at the left side portion of the post office beside the ( Postal Saving Bank/ OFW Bank) area.

What is Philately? Philately or stamp collecting is considered the world’s most fascinating hobby. Through philately, you can learn of a country’s history, art, culture, and industry as depicted in special commemorative stamps.

Philatelic stamps come in different forms: Mint, Cancelled, Setenant, Souvenir sheets, and Sheetlets.

Other Philatelic products such as first-day covers, stamp albums and presentation packs are available at the Stamp and Philatelic Division of the Manila Central Post Office and in major post offices nationwide.

Stamp collecting guide as well as the complete list of legit Philately clubs and new stamp releases can be accessed via PHLPost website.
Stamps are categorized into four:
Commemorative stamps. Stamps that mark the anniversary of an event of national and/or international significance. These come in limited quantities and feature an important event, person, or special subject.
Personalized stamps. Stamps that are of unique kind where any individual or organization can place an image of the branding or partnership. These are usually used for commemorative milestones.
Special stamps. Stamps that are aimed to promote and publicize events, persons, objects, and local or international observances or holidays.
Merchandise. Philatelic merchandise are items which are made to accompany certain major stamps issued. These merchandises are other means of marketing stamp collecting and philately.

PHLPost by the Number

Within the nationwide coverage
9 Area offices
1,237 Post offices
3,714 Letter carriers

The Lock Box. These are rental post office boxes to drop off your mails or parcels by the letter carriers without the need to use your actual office or residential address. A parcel locker is a unit that is uniquely addressable lockable box installed within the PHLPost facility in conjunction with PO Boxes.  They are used for parcel and package deliveries. These are commonly used by companies with massive mail transactions. To avail the lock box, the requirements for application are:
SEC/DTI registration or Barangay clearance
2 valid IDs of signatory
2×2 ID picture of the authorized representative

Lock box rental annual fees are as follows:
Small – P1,120
Medium – P1,680
Large – P2,240

Postal Heritage Talks and Tour by the Royal Postal Heritage Guided Tour
Postal Heritage Talks and Tour by the Royal Postal Heritage Guided Tour. Full images are available at

What is a postage stamp? Stamps were used for transmitting messages from one place to another before the advent of the internet and texting.

The penny black. One Penny stamp featured a profile of Queen Victoria. The world’s first adhesive postage stamp used in the public postal system. It was first issued in Great Britain on 1 May 1840, but was not valid or used until 6 May.

First stamps. These stamps depicted a profile of an effigy of Spanish Queen Isabel II. Stamps issued on 1 February 1854 have four (4) denominations: the 5 quartos (orange stamp), the 10 quartos (red stamp), the 1 real (blue stamp), and the 2 reales (yellow stamp).

Why collect stamps? Collecting stamps is fun and educational. As a teaching tool, it tells stories about the history of nations, the geography, and the current events. Stamp collecting can serve as a natural learning opportunity. You get to know the information on:


What country issued the stamp?
Does the country still exist?
Where in the world is, the country located?

Philippine History. PHLPost created and printed stamps that impart historical events, Ms. Josie Cura presented visual images of actual stamps that became part of Philippine history. Some of which are:

19354: Far Eastern Games, Baseball – 2 centimos (2 cents) and 6 sentimos (6 cents)
Philippines issued the first Basketball stamp, P16 sentimos (16 cents)
1971: First Mass in Limasawa (1521), 450th Anniversary, 10 sentimos (10 cents)
1992: Founding of the Katipunan Centenary, P2.00
1994: Miss Universe Pageant was held in the Philippines (May 21, 1994), valued at P2, 6, P7, and P8.
1995: Battle of the Liberation of Manila, 50th Anniversary, P8.
Battle of Nichols Airbase and Fort McKinley, 1945-1995, P2
Liberation of Baguio, 1945-1995, P2
Liberation of UST, 1945-1995, P2
1995: United Nations, 50th Anniversary, P2 (print error – wrong photo)
2020: Battle of the Liberation of Manila, 75th Anniversary, P12.

Geography. Places that were never heard befose can be identified through stamps.

St. Helena – Commemorating the 70th birthday of Prince Philip (1921-1991), 25p
Fernando Poo – an island in Equatorial Guinea (Africa), 1901, 5 centimos

Philately tips.
1. Let your collecting interests survey the world from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe until later on, when you have gained a wide general knowledge of stamps, you may select for yourself the countries of topics that attract you most.
2. Do not think that the time or the money spent on starting on the world-wide plan will be wasted.
3. Everything that you learn from the common stamps will be useful in later and advanced stages of collecting.
4. Ways to collect stamps: General (worldwide collections), country collections, thematic or tropical collection

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Postal Heritage Talks and Tour by the Royal Postal Heritage Guided Tour Full images are available at

Why are stamps so highly valued? To most people, stamps may just be a piece of paper that is valued only for sending a letter from one point to another. However, in each stamp stands a unique story. It is the rich history and how interesting pieces of information behind it that differentiates one from the other. Four (4) reasons affects the value of the stamp:
1. History
2. Rarity
3. Antiquity and quality
4. Provenance

World’s most expensive stamps and its estimated value.
1968, The Whole Country is Red. China. US$474,197
1851, 12 Pence Black. Canada. US$488,900
1863, Plate 77 Penny Red. Great Britain. US$652,770
1864, Olive-colored Queen Victoria’s Head. Hong Kong. US$624,648
1851, Hawaiian Missionaries. US$ 1 million
1847, Post Office Mauritius. US$ 1.67 million
1867, Franklin Z-GRILL. USA. US$ 3 million
1918, Inverted Jenny. USA. US$ 3 million
1855, Treskilling Yellow. Sweden. US$ 3.14 million
1847, Post Office Mauritius. US$ 3.8 million
1840, Penny Black. Great Britain. US$ 5 million
1850, British Guiana 1c Magenta. US$ 11.18 million

Why are stamps so highly valued? To most people, stamps may just be a piece of paper that is valued only for sending a letter from one point to another. However, in each stamp stands a unique story. It is the rich history and how interesting pieces of information behind it that differentiates one from the other. Four (4) reasons a

Philippine Postal and Philatelic Museum. The construction of the museum was put to halt because the priority to renovate the building was approved by NCCA. Temporary site of the museum was located at the left wing of MCPO. It houses some of the vintage items such as:

1948 Weighing scale, 1kg capacity, Commercial Control Corporation. Used to accurately rate postage feed for letters and parcels. Today, these are replaced by digital metered machines.

Mailman’s bag. Made of brown leather, a symbol of service Excellence. The postman delivers mail that touches the lives of the people. The soul of the postal service.

Metal letter boxes and vintage typewriters.

The Art of History. National Stamp Collecting Month. 2019.
An exhibition of the latest stamp collection gathered by Pilipinas Philately.

Pinoy Music Icons – Rene Garcia, Rico J. Puno, and Pepe Smith. These icons shaped the landscape of Pinot popular culture through their music hits. Many of their peers from the industry credit them with pioneering Original Pinoy Music (OPM). P45

Journey of a stamp. Ideally, issuance of new stamps entails planning and collaboration with in-house PHLPost Filipino artists. The planning group does research and brainstorming and conceptualisation and designing/making art/digital art.

Postal Heritage Talks and Tour by the Royal Postal Heritage Guided Tour
Mrs. Josie Cura of the Philippine Philatelic Federation and founder of Filipinas Stamp Collectors’ Club, leads a lecture on stamp collecting and auction every third Sunday of the month at 1:30 p.m. The group promotes philately, postcrossing, and letter writing.


Excerpt from PHLPost website:

“The Philippine postal system has a history spanning over 250 years. The first post office was established in the city of Manila in 1767. It was organized under a new postal district of Spain in 1779, encompassing Manila and the entire Philippine archipelago. In 1783, the postal service was organized in the Philippines-overseas mail from the Philippines was conveyed to Europe by Spanish ships via eastbound routes through Mexico. Later on, the postal district was re-established on December 5, 1837. After a year, Manila became known as a leading center of postal services within Asia. Spain joined the Universal Postal Union in 1875, which was announced in the Philippines two years later.

During the Philippine Revolution, President Emilio Aguinaldo ordered the establishment of a postal service to provide postal services to Filipinos during that time. On September 5, 1902, it was organized as a bureau under the Department of Trade (currently known as Department of Trade and Industry) by virtue of Act No. 426, which was passed by the Philippine Commission. The Philippines finally joined the Universal Postal Union in January 1, 1922 as a sovereign entity.

The Manila Central Post Office Building, the center of the Philippine postal services and the headquarters of then-Bureau of Posts, was completed in 1926. It was destroyed during World War II (1945) but was rebuilt in 1946, after the war.

The Manila Central Post Office located at Liwasang Bonifacio is a neo-classical building designed by two American architects and a Filipino namely: Ralph Doane, Tomas Mapua, and Juan Marcos de Guzman Arellano. The Post Office Building was considered as the grandest building during its time, and is now considered as one of the dominating landmarks in Metro Manila.

With the overhaul of the Philippine bureaucracy in 1987, the Bureau of Post was renamed the Postal Service Office (PSO) by the virtue of Executive Order No. 125 issued by then-President Corazon Aquino on April 13, 1987. It was also that order which placed PSO under the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC). On April 2, 1992, by virtue of the Republic Act No.7354 issued by then – President Fidel V. Ramos, PSO became a government owned and controlled corporation named as the Philippine Postal Corporation of more commonly known today as PHLPost.”

Postal Heritage Talks and Tour by the Royal Postal Heritage Guided Tour
Postal Heritage Talks and Tour by the Royal Postal Heritage Guided Tour Full images are available at and at DeiVille Facebook Page

• 1767-The first post office was established in the City of Manila.
• 1926-The Manila Central Post Office was built in its present neo-classical architecture.
• 1942-During the Japanese occupation, the then- Bureau of Posts was reopened, although the letters were censored.
1946-The Manila Central Post Office was rebuilt after World War II.
• 1948-The postal service and telecommunication facilities in the Philippines were considered the most modern at that time in Asia. For example, the airmail service was inaugurated in our country ahead of any other countries in Asia.
• 1992-The Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost), a government-owned and controlled corporation responsible for providing postal services in the Philippines, was created by virtue of Republic Act No. 7354, otherwise known as the Postal Service Act of 1992.
• 2000-The improved Central Mail Exchange System (CMEC) is now capable of computerizing and modernizing the sorting of all incoming and outgoing mail matters handled by PHLPost.
• 2004-PHLPost was placed under the Commission on Information and Communications Technology per Executive Order 269.

To date PHLPost has widened its services aside from mail services, postal station, and postal ID provider. The office expanded into: retail services, postal payment services, and logistics and warehousing.

PHLPost experience. The problem lies in the delivery of the letters. In 2006, we once sent letters/photos going to the USA – when people demand hardcopy because they can’t appreciate soft copy, mostly the seniors. We sent it from the UP Diliman Post Office and it was never received. Another story, back in 2017 when we experimented sending postcards from Hong Kong going to the Philippines and USA respectively on April 6. It was delivered May 3 while the USA recipient got the postcard on April 14. Indeed the Manila-bound postcard is slower than snails and turtles! The worst scenario, was in 2019, Quezon City Science High School’s Letter of Notice (for students who took the incoming Grade 7 entrance exam for school year 2019-2020) was never delivered. From QC’s District 1 going to District 2. Text message from the school at that time was deemed crucial.

Postal Heritage Talks and Tour by the Royal Postal Heritage Guided Tour
Postal Heritage Talks and Tour by the Royal Postal Heritage Guided Tour Full images are available at and at DeiVille Facebook Page

How can PHLPost improve its inefficient postal system? Admittedly, the stamp collectors from Quezon City are very much aware of the worsening postal services.

Last February 29, 2020, leap year, Mr. Rence Chan sent postcards directly from MCPO. Unfortunately, Metro Manila lockdown was enforced. We hope those postcards will be delivered soon.

For those of you who wish to attend the guided tour of the Manila Central Post Office, check the facebook page for events from Pilipinas Philately as conducted by Philippine Postal Corporation every third Saturday of the month. Tour duration is from 9:00 AM to 11AM onwards. March 2020 and April 2020 schedules were cancelled due to Covid-19 pandemic /Luzon-wide Community Quarantine.

According to Mr. Rence Chan:
“For the “Certificate of Attendance” please try to attend the activity and wait between 3 weeks to 1 month before claiming at the PHLPOST. Contact Persons: Ms. Abi Tarroza, Ms. Perla Goco or Ms. Arlyn Labao (02) 527-01-08 or 527-01-32 ( Mondays to Fridays ) from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.”

Pilipinas Philately
PHLPost []
Philippine Information Agency []
Postal Heritage Tour and Talks

Last updated: 9 April 2020


Related posts from
COMPLETE PHOTOS of Postal Heritage Talks and Tour by the Royal Postal Heritage Guided Tour – February 2020 on Deiville Facebook Page
COMPLETE PHOTOS of Postal Heritage Walking Tour – August 2012 on Deiville Facebook Page
POSTAL HERITAGE WALKING TOUR: A Dose of Philippines’ History

#PhilippinesPhilately #PilipinasPhilately #ManilaCentralPostOffice #ManilaHeritage #HeritagePH #WalkWithChan #stamps #PhilPost #royalpostalheritageguidedtour #postalheritagetalksandtour, created by Green Dei (Daryll Villena)
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