One hundred twenty three years — more than a century of delivering news, shaping minds, and fully informing the nation.
It is not an easy feat for any media institution to survive the challenges of our times, which included two World Wars, changes in political administrations, tumultuous elections, record-breaking natural disasters, a global health pandemic, etc. Amid these pivotal events, the Manila Bulletin stood not only as a curious observer, but as a veritable witness and opinion shaper to Filipinos who deserve fast, accurate, and reliable news and information. With the changing times and modernizing landscape, dominated with the flow of technological advancements, the newspaper embraced “transformation” and planned for the future, alongside the introduction of the desktop computer, arrival of high-tech printing machines, connection to the internet, ascent of social media, to the emergence of A.I.
The resilience of the Manila Bulletin can be traced back to its strong foundation and storied history. The first issue came out on Feb. 2, 1900. Originally a shipping journal, its purpose was to give “the public accurate and reliable shipping and commercial information.” It was set up by Carson C. Taylor, a teacher from Illinois, who had served in the US Army during the Spanish-American War. Taylor and H. G. Farris, editor, constituted the entire staff of the paper.
“It was a four-page newspaper with pages sized 10" by 12". It was distributed free… (and) was printed by El Progreso at 10 Carriedo, Manila up to 1901 when it set up its own plant,” according to historical records. “In 1912, it came out in a six-column tabloid format. Six years later, it switched to the standard size with eight columns.”
“In the next century — except for the four years that it was closed by the Japanese during the occupation — the Manila Bulletin came out every day.” A minor interruption happened during the declaration of Martial Law in 1972. Even with constraints during that time, the paper was able to thrive and stay true to the tenets of journalism.
Indeed, no challenge or tribulation was too gargantuan for the management, editors, reporters, and the staff in different departments for the Manila Bulletin to halt its printing and forget its commitment to the people.
After the People Power Revolution, the paper flourished, retaining its preeminent position as the "exponent of Philippine progress" and "the Philippines' leading national newspaper." This was the time, around 1989, when Bulletin Today was renamed the Manila Bulletin.
Under the guidance of philanthropist-businessman Dr. Emilio T. Yap, the Manila Bulletin became a public corporation traded on the Philippine Stock Exchange. It began a series of changes, including acquisition of the country's biggest printing equipment — a five-story press that occupies its own building beside the Manila Bulletin's main office in Intramuros.
After Dr. Yap’s passing in 2014, his son Basilio C. Yap took over as Chairman of the Board, with Dr. Emil C. Yap III as President and Vice Chairman of the Board. They have initiated transformation in the company that allowed the Manila Bulletin to stay relevant in the digital era, gathering a new generation of readers and followers.
Amid all changes, the Manila Bulletin continues to ride on the waves of history, carefully navigating the ocean of information with its brand of responsible, accurate, and fully researched reportage. There’s no doubt that 123 years young is just the beginning of more exciting things as for the Manila Bulletin, the best is yet to come!