Tranvia: Ang mga Riles sa Kamaynilaan

Tranvia: The Railways of Metro Manila

This documentary chronicles the rise and fall of Metro Manila’s first—and most extensive—rail-based mass transit system, the tranvia. From the Spanish-built horse-drawn cars to Meralco’s electric streetcars, tranvias were a constant presence in Manila for over fifty years. Along with the train system of the Manila Railroad Company, they brought both colonizer and colonized to various places within and outside of Manila faster than ever before. They made money for the foreigners who financed and owned them; they were patronized by the Filipino masses. They survived the Philippine Revolution, the Philippine-American War, global financial crises, and the rise of motorized transport. Only the utter devastation of Manila at the close of the Second World War finally brought them to an irreversible halt. But this documentary is not only a meditation on loss. It lifts the veil of nostalgia—highlighting interests below lofty notions of public service, pointing out the details lost in idealized images— through the narratives of historians and Manileños who recall hitching a ride on the tranvias.

Director     Boyette Rimban
Scriptwriters     Joel Ariate Jr. and Miguel Paolo Reyes
Narrator   Elizabeth Enriquez
Post-production Manager    Luz Rimban
Production Manager     Geia de la Peña
Master Editor     Karla Luz Rimban
Assistant Editor     Dawn Po Quimque

Interviewers     Ricardo Jose, Joel Ariate Jr., Miguel Paolo Reyes
Interviewees     Mimosa Joson, Cristina Torres, Michael Pante, Benito Legarda Jr., Amelia Lapeña-Bonifacio

Camera Man     Jeremy Agsawa
Assistant Camera Man     Jerrica Angela Manongdo, Ysa Calinawan, Rolando Que

Sound Man     Cara Cristina Red, Joanne Cesario

Production Assistants     Dawn Po Quimque, Christian Victor Masangkay

Project Research Assistant     Judith Camille Rosette

Transcribers     Jerrica Angela Manongdo, Johann Bulatao, Maria Jeriesa Osorio, Beatriz Cecilia Montenegro, Megan Matias

Cartography     Jonathan M. Villasper, Johnson Damian
Animator     Karla Ujano

Images and footages from the following collections

University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
US Library of Congress
National Archives and Records Administration
Philippine Photographs Digital Archive, Special Collections Library, University of Michigan
Smithsonian Libraries
Biblioteca Nacional de España
Biblioteca Virtual del Ministerio de Defensa
University of Southern California Digital Library
Maryknoll Mission Archives, University of Southern California
University of Leiden Digital Image Library
Denver Public Library
Cornell University Library
Museum Volkenkunde
University of Washington Digital Collections
Prelinger Archives
National Archives of the Philippines
Filipinas Heritage Library
Lopez Museum and Library
Leonardo Liongson Collection
Ricardo T. Jose Collection
Lou Gopal/Manila Nostalgia 12
Otto Herschan/Hulton Archive
John Tewell Collection
George Lane Collection
Eduardo de Leon
Wikimedia Commons
Pinoy Kollektor
Retrato: Filipinas Photo Collection

For the full list of credits and sources, please send an email to


Dr. Leonardo Liongson
Light Rail Transit Authority
Light Rail Manila Corporation
Department of Transportation – Metro Rail Transit 3
Philippine National Railways
National Archives of the Philippines
Filipinas Heritage Library