A Brief History

The Manila Club is the oldest Foreign club established in The Philippines. Here is a brief summary of our history:

1896

The Club moved to a big seashore house in the newly fashionable Ermita district, from whose roof members watched, in 1898, the U.S. Navy fleet of Commodore Dewey beat the antiquated Spanish squadron in Manila Bay.

1898

The U.S.A. bought the Islas Filipinas from Spain as its colony for USD20 million. The 1898 Philippine-American War by Filipinos against the colonizers lasted for at least 6 years.

1914-1918

During the First World War, 14 members died on active service.

1922

H.R.H. The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII), escorted by Lord Louis Mountbatten, attended the Club’s garden party and met the British community including 80 ex-servicemen.

1942

The Japanese invaded, members and their families were interned in prison camps. The clubhouse became a Japanese Officers’ Mess, the 4 Victorian billiard tables were burned for firewood, and the library books, the biggest non-reference library in the country, were left outside to rot, but the Japanese did not touch the memorial plaque.

1945

U.S. forces recaptured Manila in February, demolished the clubhouse by point-blank artillery, and knocked a hole in the memorial plaque with a rifle bullet. In June, the Tiffin Club, The Manila Club’s downtown daytime annex, reopened in a semi-ruined building in the Binondo business district. It had been started originally c.1880.

1948

The clubhouse was rebuilt and partly air-conditioned, with billiard tables, a bowling alley, tennis courts, and 29 bedrooms all of which were en suite. A memorial plaque was unveiled for the 17 members killed on active service from 1939-1945.

1962

The clubhouse and grounds were sold, conforming to a law disallowing ownership of land by foreigners. The Club stayed for 4 years in two adjacent houses on the Manila Bay seafront.

1966

The Club signed a 20-year lease for a former small hotel in an Ermita side street. Although un-photogenic from outside, it had originally been a private house and, once inside, it had the ambience of a home.

1984

In February 1984 the Club finally opened in Makati City on the site of the long closed La Mancha Inn in the Magallanes Commercial Center.
Despite initial financial challenges significant improvements in membership, usage & profitability occurred after the fall of the Marcos government in February 1986.
While always maintaining its renowned British character, people of other Commonwealth & of other nationalities sought to join.
The Club remained there until the 20 year lease was terminated in late 2003.

2003

Dallas Street, Bangkal, Pasig Tamo, Makati City:
This site was previously a private residence which provided the Club with a ground floor bar and dining area, a meeting room, an outside garden event bar & pizzeria, an upstairs dining room and a club room. At the completion of the initial 5 year lease the Landlord would not provide long term extension terms. After a further almost 2 years of renting without a new lease he eventually requested the site’s return  for redevelopment. Despite an in depth search for a suitable location on viable rental terms, the Club faced possible closure at the end of 2010.

2011 - Present

Following successful negotiations on a long term co-sharing basis with the Elks Lodge of Manila, in February 2011 the Manila Club moved to the Elks’ Club (de facto American Club in Manila) premises ,with full membership rights to use all the Elks Club facilities. The Club has it own clubroom, “The Manila Room”, for its own weekly member’s Networking event and other special monthly events.

The Manila Club’s famous Friday Curry Tiffin Buffet and Sunday Roast Carvery lunches are served every week in the Elk’s club “Heritage Room” restaurant, available to all our & Elks Club members plus member’s guests (see link under Catering for menu details).

The Club has also re-established its “Trafalgar Night” formal dinner event, held annually since October 2011. In 2012 it successfully added a black tie Saint George’s Day dinner in April, restored its Members Christmas lunch & Children’s party in mid December and the traditional British Christmas Day Carvery lunch on December 25th.

All these lunches & dinners are exclusively catered for by our long serving Manila Club catering staff.

This ideal location, right in the heart of the Makati’s Central Business District directly opposite the prestigious Greenbelt Mall complex and with easily available parking, has proved perfect for attracting new members and encouraging our long standing members to increase their patronage.