Another prized find among the clutter of old photos was a picture taken inside the Quonset house in the Plaza Militar Compound.

Most of you probably have never heard of Plaza Militar. It does not exist anymore. Plaza Militar used to occupy an entire block of valuable real estate in the heart of Ermita, Manila. This block is bounded at the north by Pedro Gil St., at the south by J Quintos Sr., at the east by A Mabini, and at the west by M H Del Pilar St.. The block is presently the site of the Hyatt Hotel, and the Land Bank Plaza.

In the 1950's, the Plaza Militar Compound was a housing facility for Navy Officers and their families. All homes within the compound were Quonset houses, similarly constructed.. The Quonset house we occupied was situated at the southeast corner of the block [corner of A Mabini and J Quintos Sr.]. The compound was fenced with concrete and cyclone wire. It was accessible through a guarded main entrance at M H Del Pilar near the northwest corner.

We lived here for two years before moving back to the Cavite Naval Base. I received my 2nd and 3rd grade education at the nearby Malate Catholic School.

Along M H Del Pilar just across Pedro Gil was the Gaiety Theater, where we watched movies at that time. One particular very touching film I saw which I have never forgotten through the years was "All Mine To Give." Watch it if you can still find a copy. Once in a while, there were movies shown in open air inside the compound for residents.

It was also in this facility where I first learned to ride a bike, with busted tires, in flooded streets during a downpour.