Accession card


The photograph seen here is of the Insular Ice and Cold Storage Plant during its final stages of completion located in Ermita, Manila, Philippines. Inspired by one of Mesha Murali and Surajit Sarkar's accession cards for the Centre for Community Knowledge (CCK)'s Delhi Memory Archive (see related links for the original accession card), I felt inspired to look towards some old photgraphs of Manila from the American colonial period to find some of, what they refered to as "the relational and intangible aspects of the everyday urban experience". This is one such photograph. 

Built in 1902, the plant was considered the first permanent structure constructed by the United States following their acquisition of the Philippines and at the same time was the first ice production plant in the country. Prior to Insular Ice’s creation, ice production & acquisition had been shipped from the United States to the archipelago. Initially owned by the United States government, ownership would later be transferred to the San Miguel company.

Some partially attribute the appropriation of kakigōri desserts from Japanese migrants into the Filipino haluhalo dish to the Insular Ice plant, as the location of the marketplace the dessert was sold in, Quinta Marketplace in the district of Quiapo, was near the storage plant.

Today the plant no longer exists as it was demolished to make way for the Metro Manila Light Rail Transit (LRT) line in the 1980s, and in its place is the Liwasang Bonifacio station of the Pasig River Ferry service.






Insular Ice and Cold Storage Plant

Credits / copyrights

Title: Insular Ice and Cold Storage Plant in the final stage of completion, Manila, Philippines, 1901-1910
Author: Unknown (Made available by John Tewell in collaboration with the University of Michigan)


“A Halo-Halo Menu” by Christine Crisol, located in Fernando N. Zialcita’s book Quiapo: Heart of Manila (2006)


Leiden University


An “Insular” Introspective On Memory & Cross-Cultural Exchanges


  • Image

Image contains

Linguistic translation

Haluhalo or Halo-Halo means "Mix-Mix," in reference to the dessert having a variety of toppings and shaved ice that were often mixed up when eating.

Site of knowledge & meaning


Feeling & motive