Manila Observatory

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The Manila Observatory (originally the Observatorio Meteorológico del Ateneo Municipal de Manila, and later the Observatorio Meteorológico de Manila) is a non-profit research institute housed on the campus of the Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City, Philippines. Founded in 1865 by the Jesuits, it has served many purposes over the years including weather forecasting and earthquake research. Today it continues to carry out research in seismic and geomagnetic phenomena as well as radio and solar physics.

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What led to the establishment of the observatory was an article published in Diario de Manila by Jesuit Fr. Jaime Nonell which described Jesuit Fr. Francisco Colina's observations of the typhoon of September 1865. The article led the public to ask Jesuit Superior Juan Vidal for the observations to be continued. After initial hesitation on the part of the Jesuits because of the primitive instruments available, the Superior yielded upon the promise of a Secchi Universal Meteorograph purchased from the Vatican.[1]

Main building & logo

Thus began the systemic observation of the Philippine weather led by a Scholastic, Fr. Federico Faura.[2] It started issuing warnings on typhoons in 1879, and the next year earthquake observations. In 1884 the Spanish government recognized the observatory as the official institution for weather forecasting in the Philippines. It started its time service in 1885, seismology in 1887, and astronomy in 1899.[1]

The American, colonial government established it in 1901 as the Philippine Weather Bureau, which expanded into meteorology, astronomy, and geomagnetism.[1] The work of the bureau was interrupted by the Second World War. During the Battle of Manila, all of the instruments and important documents of the bureau were destroyed and it ceased to function. A specific government agency was established in its place.[1] The observatory resumed operation in 1951 in Baguio, mainly for studies on seismology and the ionosphere. In 1963 it was transferred to the Loyola Heights campus of the Ateneo de Manila University where it continues its studies into seismology, geomagnetism, and radio physics, among other areas of research.[1]

Organizational structure & activities[edit]

Iono-Geomagnetic study

The observatory is mainly composed of two units, administration and research.[3] Administration is primarily composed of General Administration, Accounting, Human Resource, and Physical Facilities and Supplies. Research programs include: Climate Change Assistance, Geomatics for Environment and Development, Instrumentation and Technology, Regional Climate Systems, Solid Earth Dynamics, Urban Air Quality, and Special Research Projects.[3] The observatory's recent Special Research Projects are: Climate Change Adaptation – Disaster Risk Management and Co-benefits of Climate Change Mitigation.[3]

Scholastics of the Observatory[edit]

The observatory was founded by Jesuit scholastics who worked there during their years of study, or more permanently. They came from all over the world. A partial list is given below.[4]

Scholastic Start End Field Return End Death
Colina, Francisco 1865 1867 meteorology 1893
Nonell, Jaime 1865 1870 meteorology 1922
Ricart, Juan 1868 1870 astronomy 1915
Faura, Federico 1866 1871 meteorology 1878 1897 1897
Doyle, Juan 1885 1891 geomagnetism 1896 1901 1918
Cirera, Ricardo 1888 1894 geomagnetism 1932
Saderra-Maso, Miguel 1890 1896 seismology 1901 1932 1939
Tsuchihachi, Yachita 1894 1895 geomagnetism 1965
Coronas, Jose 1894 1900 meteorology 1907 1931 1938
Sola, Marcial 1897 1903 seismology 1960
Stanton, William A. 1901 1904 entomology 1910
Brown, Robert 1902 1906 entomology 1912 1915 1947
McGeary, James 1904 1906 astronomy 1945
Doucette, Bernard 1925 1927 meteorology 1933 1974 1974
Welch, Leo 1930 1932 astronomy 1990
Heyden, Frank 1931 1934 astronomy 1971 1991 1991
Guzman, Pablo 1942 1943 seismology


  1. ^ a b c d e "History". 
  2. ^ Faura
  3. ^ a b c "Staff". 
  4. ^ "Scholastics of the Pre-1945 Manila Observatory". 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 14°38′12″N 121°04′36″E / 14.63667°N 121.07667°E / 14.63667; 121.07667