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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

The 1970s was a decade of significant transformation and tumult for the Philippines, fundamentally altering the nation’s political, social, and economic landscape. Dominated by the presidency of Ferdinand Marcos, the era was characterized by the imposition of Martial Law, which would have long-lasting implications for Filipino society and governance.

Martial Law

The early 1970s in the Philippines were marked by increasing unrest and political instability. President Ferdinand Marcos, who was first elected in 1965 and then re-elected in 1969, faced growing opposition due to corruption, economic stagnation, and issues of inequality. The period also saw the rise of civil disobedience and militant activism, with various groups demanding reforms and challenging the status quo.

On September 21, 1972, President Marcos declared Martial Law through Proclamation 1081, citing threats of communist insurgency and social disorder as justification. Officially, Martial Law was intended to suppress civil strife and the threat of communist takeover. However, it effectively allowed Marcos to consolidate power, extend his rule beyond the constitutional two-term limit, and suppress dissent.

Under Martial Law, the constitution was suspended, Congress was dissolved, and the writ of habeas corpus was suspended. Marcos governed by decree, leading to significant curtailment of freedoms. The press was censored, opposition leaders and critics were arrested, and human rights abuses, including torture, disappearances, and extrajudicial killings, became widespread.

Economic Impact and Development

The 1970s saw efforts by the Marcos administration to modernize and develop the Philippine economy through infrastructure projects and foreign loans. Initially, these efforts led to economic growth, with the construction of roads, hospitals, and schools, and the promotion of rice self-sufficiency under the Masagana 99 program. However, the period was also marked by economic mismanagement, crony capitalism, and rampant corruption, leading to a significant increase in foreign debt and laying the groundwork for future economic crises.

Societal Resistance and the Seeds of Revolution

Despite the oppressive regime, resistance flourished within the Philippines. Underground newspapers, student movements, and various opposition groups continued to advocate for democracy and human rights. The assassination of opposition leader Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. in 1983, although technically occurring after the 1970s, was a direct consequence of the political climate of the decade and galvanized the opposition, setting the stage for the eventual People Power Revolution in 1986.

#1 Iloilo City on Panay Island, Philippines, featuring Iznart Street, 1972.

Iloilo City on Panay Island, Philippines, featuring Iznart Street, 1972.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#2 A view towards Intramuros from Teodoro Valencia Circle in Manila, Philippines, during the 1970s.

A view towards Intramuros from Teodoro Valencia Circle in Manila, Philippines, during the 1970s.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#3 Manila, Philippines, city view captured in the 1970s.

Manila, Philippines, city view captured in the 1970s.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#4 Another city view of Manila, Philippines, from the 1970s.

Another city view of Manila, Philippines, from the 1970s.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#5 Women from Manila working in a mill in Rochdale, Lancashire, showcasing national dancing on 20th July 1972.

Women from Manila working in a mill in Rochdale, Lancashire, showcasing national dancing on 20th July 1972.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#7 Davao City, Mindanao, Philippines, cityscape viewed from the university, 1972.

Davao City, Mindanao, Philippines, cityscape viewed from the university, 1972.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#8 Quiapo Boulevard in Manila, Luzon, Philippines, 1972.

Quiapo Boulevard in Manila, Luzon, Philippines, 1972.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#9 The main gate of a base in 1979.

The main gate of a base in 1979.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#10 A bench in Manila, Luzon, Philippines, with the slogan “Marcos Hitler II” against President Ferdinand Marcos, 1972.

A bench in Manila, Luzon, Philippines, with the slogan "Marcos Hitler II" against President Ferdinand Marcos, 1972.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#11 Street scenes in Jolo, Philippines, with people in front of a grocery shop, 1972.

Street scenes in Jolo, Philippines, with people in front of a grocery shop, 1972.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#12 The Ambassador’s Residence in Manila, 1975.

The Ambassador's Residence in Manila, 1975.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#14 A native merchant in the Philippines with his wagon of merchandise in 1979.

A native merchant in the Philippines with his wagon of merchandise in 1979.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#15 Manila’s city hall on Luzon, Philippines, with jeepneys on Taft Boulevard in the foreground, 1972.

Manila's city hall on Luzon, Philippines, with jeepneys on Taft Boulevard in the foreground, 1972.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#17 A view of Catobato town from the Imperial Hotel in Mindanao, Philippines, 1972.

A view of Catobato town from the Imperial Hotel in Mindanao, Philippines, 1972.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#18 Session Road in Baguio City, Luzon, Philippines, 1972.

Session Road in Baguio City, Luzon, Philippines, 1972.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#19 The Manila Hotel, built in 1912, photographed around 1975.

The Manila Hotel, built in 1912, photographed around 1975.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#20 A statue observes 10,000 people protesting governmental activities in Manila, with denouncements of President Ferdinand Marcos.

A statue observes 10,000 people protesting governmental activities in Manila, with denouncements of President Ferdinand Marcos.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#21 The Congress of the Philippines building in Manila, July 1970.

The Congress of the Philippines building in Manila, July 1970.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#22 Riot police maintain order during Pope Paul VI’s visit amidst protests and security concerns, with Cardinal Santos being a controversial figure.

Riot police maintain order during Pope Paul VI's visit amidst protests and security concerns, with Cardinal Santos being a controversial figure.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#23 In Olongapo, Philippines, 1972, a Filipino girl asks U.S. Navy sailors for money near a money exchange business, highlighting the city’s popularity among sailors from the U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay.

In Olongapo, Philippines, 1972, a Filipino girl asks U.S. Navy sailors for money near a money exchange business, highlighting the city's popularity among sailors from the U.S. Naval Base Subic Bay.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#24 U.S. Navy shore patrol officers in Olongapo, Philippines, 1972, reflecting the city’s significance to U.S. Navy personnel stationed at Subic Bay.

U.S. Navy shore patrol officers in Olongapo, Philippines, 1972, reflecting the city's significance to U.S. Navy personnel stationed at Subic Bay.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#25 Olongapo, Philippines, in 1972, was a favored spot for U.S. Navy sailors from Subic Bay, which later became the Subic Bay Freeport Zone after the base’s closure in 1992.

Olongapo, Philippines, in 1972, was a favored spot for U.S. Navy sailors from Subic Bay, which later became the Subic Bay Freeport Zone after the base's closure in 1992.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#26 University students protest against President Ferdinand Marcos, demanding the restoration of habeas corpus, suspended by the government.

University students protest against President Ferdinand Marcos, demanding the restoration of habeas corpus, suspended by the government.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#27 Crowded polling location in Manila during the Philippines’ bloodiest election campaign in its 25-year history, with a potential death toll reaching 200.

Crowded polling location in Manila during the Philippines' bloodiest election campaign in its 25-year history, with a potential death toll reaching 200.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#28 Spectators at Saint Louis University, Baguio City, Philippines, attend an anti-Vietnam War FTA Show in December 1971.

Spectators at Saint Louis University, Baguio City, Philippines, attend an anti-Vietnam War FTA Show in December 1971.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#29 An American POW waves from a hospital bus at Clark Air Base, Luzon, Philippines, after being released from a North Vietnamese camp, January 1973.

An American POW waves from a hospital bus at Clark Air Base, Luzon, Philippines, after being released from a North Vietnamese camp, January 1973.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#30 Guests on the beach of a private island owned by Philippine Airlines President Benigno Toda Jr., Philippines, February 1973.

Guests on the beach of a private island owned by Philippine Airlines President Benigno Toda Jr., Philippines, February 1973.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#31 Aerial view of Benigno Toda Jr.’s private islands in the Philippines, February 1973.

Aerial view of Benigno Toda Jr.'s private islands in the Philippines, February 1973.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#32

48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#33

48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#34 American POWs return from Vietnam, walking from a Lockheed C-141 Starlifter to ambulances at Clark Air Base, Philippines, February 1973.

American POWs return from Vietnam, walking from a Lockheed C-141 Starlifter to ambulances at Clark Air Base, Philippines, February 1973.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#35 A water buffalo transports cane to the Ma Ao Sugar Central on Negros Island, Philippines, November 1974.

A water buffalo transports cane to the Ma Ao Sugar Central on Negros Island, Philippines, November 1974.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#36 A crowded jeepney picks up passengers in Manila, Philippines, 1974.

A crowded jeepney picks up passengers in Manila, Philippines, 1974.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#37 The Cultural Center of the Philippines in Manila, November 1976.

The Cultural Center of the Philippines in Manila, November 1976.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#38 Jonathan Goldsmith and Paul Winfield among extras in the ABC TV movie ‘Green Eyes,’ Philippines, 1977.

Jonathan Goldsmith and Paul Winfield among extras in the ABC TV movie 'Green Eyes,' Philippines, 1977.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#39 Ferdinand Marcos votes in his hometown of Batac during a referendum, December 1977, Philippines.

Ferdinand Marcos votes in his hometown of Batac during a referendum, December 1977, Philippines.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#40 The ‘Apocalypse Now’ film set in the Philippines, 1978, featuring carabaos, oil drums, sandbags, and a military helicopter with the Playboy logo.

The 'Apocalypse Now' film set in the Philippines, 1978, featuring carabaos, oil drums, sandbags, and a military helicopter with the Playboy logo.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#41 A Pepsi truck on Cebu Island, Philippines, 1978.

A Pepsi truck on Cebu Island, Philippines, 1978.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#42 A stilt house village in the Philippines, April 1978.

A stilt house village in the Philippines, April 1978.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#43 Vietnamese refugees on the ship Tung An in Manila Bay, January 8th, 1979.

Vietnamese refugees on the ship Tung An in Manila Bay, January 8th, 1979.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#44 The US Naval Ship Repair Facility in Subic Bay, Philippines, January 20th, 1979.

The US Naval Ship Repair Facility in Subic Bay, Philippines, January 20th, 1979.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#45 Women’s militia training in Manila, Philippines, 1977.

Women's militia training in Manila, Philippines, 1977.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#46 Easter celebrations attract crowds in Manila, Philippines, in 1978.

Easter celebrations attract crowds in Manila, Philippines, in 1978.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#47 A village in the Philippines archipelago photographed in April 1978.

A village in the Philippines archipelago photographed in April 1978.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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#48 Jeepneys, originally American jeeps modified for public transport, in Manila’s streets, December 1977.

Jeepneys, originally American jeeps modified for public transport, in Manila's streets, December 1977.

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48 Fascinating Vintage Photos of Philippines from the 1970s

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Written by Kevin Clark

Kevin Clark is a historian and writer who is passionate about sharing the stories and significance behind historical photos. He loves to explore hidden histories and cultural contexts behind the images, providing a unique insight into the past.

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