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 in 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 has continued to carry out research in seismic and geomagnetic phenomena as well as radio and solar physics.


The establishment of the observatory originated from the article published in Diario de Manila by Father Jaime Nonell, a Jesuit, which described observations of the typhoon of September 1865 done by Father Francisco Colina, another Jesuit. The treatise attracted the attention of the public who asked the Superior Juan Vidal for the observations to be continued. There was initially hesitation on the part of the Jesuits due to the primitive instruments available but later agreed when the needed instrument, the Secchi Universal Meteorograph, was promised to be purchased from the Vatican.[1]

Thus began the systemic observation of the Philippine weather led by a Scholastic, Father Federico Faura. It started issuing warnings on typhoons in 1879. Earthquake observations by the observatory started the next year. The Spanish government finally recognized the observatory as the official institution for weather forecasting in the Philippines in 1884. In 1885, it started its time service; its seismology section put up in 1887 while astronomical studies began 1899.[1]

During the American period, realizing the vitality of the observatory, it was re-established by the colonial government in 1901 as the Philippine Weather Bureau. The bureau continued its works expanding its fields of works to include 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 completely destroyed. Also, it ceased to function as a specific government agency was established for the same purpose.[1] The observatory began again its operation in 1951 in Baguio mainly for studies on seismology and ionosphere. It was later transferred in 1963 to the Loyola Heights campus of the Ateneo de Manila University where it continues its studies on seismology, geomagnetism, and radio physics, among other areas of research.[1]

Organizational structure and activities[edit]

The observatory is mainly composed of two units: the administration and the research units.[2]

Administration is primarily composed of:

  1. General Administration
  2. Accounting
  3. Human Resource and
  4. Physical Facilities and Supplies.

Their Research programs include:
1) Climate Change Assistance
2) Geomatics for Environment and Development
3) Instrumentation and Technology
4) Regional Climate Systems
5) Solid Earth Dynamics
6) Urban Air Quality and
7) Special Research Projects.[2]

The observatory's recent Special Research Projects are:
1) Climate Change Adaptation – Disaster Risk Management and
2) Co-benefits of Climate Change Mitigation.[2]

Scholastics of the Observatory[edit]

The observatory was found by the Scholastics and the Manila Observatory was one of the institutions to which they could possible be sent for mission. A prerequisite for such a mission was their formation in the Society. Scholastics being assigned to the observatory came from different Provinces but some Scholastics from the Ateneo de Manila also worked part-time to the observatory. Listed below are some of the identified of the scholastics designated to the Manila Observatory. Also indicated were the years when some of them return to the observatory as well as the years of their death.[3]

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

Image Gallery[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "History". 
  2. ^ a b c "Staff". 
  3. ^ "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