The history of Cornpania General de Tabacos de Filipinas, more popularly known as Tabacalera, is linked to a significant stage in Philippine history - the abolition of the tobacco monopoly. Instituted by Governor Basco y Vargas, the monopoly was an instantaneous success in generating income for the government but it also spawned abuses and anomalies.
|1908 Compania General De Tabacos De Filipinas Postcard|
The tobacco factories of the Spanish government were then set up for bidding. Against British and French firms which competed, Tabacalera won the bid. Incorporated in Barcelona, Spain on November 16, 1881, it had for its prestigious incorporators the first Marquis of Comillas, His Excellency Don Antonio Lopez y Lopez and the Banco Hispano Colonial, the Sociedad General de Credito Inmobilario Espanol and the Banco de Paris y de los Paises Bajos.
|1898 Private Mailing Postcard featuring the Iron Skeleton Building , |
New Office of Compania General De Tabacos De Filipinas, Manila - San Marcelino
Thus, Tabacalera not only rented the five Spanish Government factories but also set up its own factory in 1895 in one big block - Marques de Comillas (now Norberto Romualdez Street), between Isaac Peral (now United Nations Avenue) and estero de Balete. Once one of the world's largest tobacco factories, Tabacalera housed thousands of employees who rolled "La Flor de la lsabela" cigars and cigarettes - smoked throughout the world for its fine, mild blend.
It was through a systematized process of growing, manufacturing and exporting of the finest tobacco leaves from Cagayan and Isabela that the company soon became a byword. Its continued development brought about its consolidation during the first few years of the First World War when sugar, copra and hemp were included in its umbrella of products for purchase and export.
|Beautiful LA FLOR DE LA ISABELA Hebra Superior Cigarette label, |
brand for the product of CGTF
To facilitate transport of its products, the company formed its own fleet of steamships which was used till just before the outbreak of the Second World War. After the war, the company's factories and other business concerns had to be rehabilitated and reanimated. And even as Spanish products and goods exported to the Philippines were channeled through this company, it also created contacts for other Philippine goods (hemp and sugar) in the European market.
At the third floor of the pre-war Tabacalera building, there was a room the bachelor expatriates dubbed the "Republica", which President Manuel Quezon frequented and where he enjoyed some hearty moments. And by way of citing more interesting tidbits, Land Reform was practiced by President Quezon when about 300 to 500 hectares of land in Arayat, Pampanga was divided among the people, Other Philippine presidents followed and each time, Tabacalera gave and sold pieces of land at extremely low prices.
|A cigarette wrapper showing ESCOLTA. |
Isaac Peral 851, Manila was the factory address of Compania General De Tabacos De Filipinas
It will be remembered too that this premier tobacco company once gifted the country, through President Quezon, with an ornate Spanish chest (delicately filigreed with steel, gold and marble by master craftsmen) to be the repository of the Philippine Constitution. Another valuable piece of Filipiniana added to the country's collection donated by Tabacalera to the Philippine Government through President Ramon Magsaysay are the rare six volumes of Fr. Manuel Blanco's Flora de Filipinas.
|1882 Compania General De Tabacos De Filipinas |
Cedula De Fundador Certificate
Tabacalera celebrated its 130th centennial last 2011. As to its other commercial activities, it continues to do business with Indonesia, Japan, Latin America, North America and Europe, ranging from tobacco to sugar to consumer goods from Spain and other parts of the world. The country benefits tremendously from these contacts since indirectly the Philippines is brought to focus. And all because of that tobacco leaf.
Source: Landmarks of Manila by Visitacion De La Torre
|LA FLOR DE LA ISABELA Cigarette label, brand for the product of CGTF|
|ANG TALA Compania General De Tabacos De Filipinas / EL LUCERO La Flor De La Isabela|
|LA FILIPINA LA FLOR DE LA ISABELA Cigarette label|
|HEBRA FUERTE Compania General De Tabacos De Filipinas, Fabrica La Flor De La Isabela |
|ORIENTALES Compania General De Tabacos De Filipinas, Fabrica La Flor De La Isabela |
|ULILA Compania General De Tabacos De Filipinas|
|PAGKAKAISA Hebra Superior Cigar Label|
|PAGKAKAISA Hebra Superior Cigarette Label |
Cigarilyo ng Sarap, Bango at Lasa
|ARAYAT MATAMIS TABACALERA Cigarette Label|
|ESCUDO La Flor De La Isabela Cigarette Label|
La Flor De La Isabela Cigar label, brand for the product of CGTF
|TABACALERA Boquilla De Corcho|
|CHUMS CIGARETTE , La Flor De La Isabela Manila|
|ROSITAS Compania General De Tabacos De Filipinas|
Hebra De Las Mejores Vegas De La Isabela
|Art Deco cigar envelope of La Flor De La Isabela, Manille|
|Compania General De Tabacos De Filipinas cigar envelope in Italy|
| Spanish Cigarette Cards SERIES A, of Compania General De Tabacos De Filipinas |
featuring Movie Stars in late 1910
| Spanish Cigarette Cards SERIES D, of Compania General De Tabacos De Filipinas |
featuring Movie Stars in late 1910
| Spanish Cigarette Cards SERIES C, of Compania General De Tabacos De Filipinas |
featuring scenic landscapes and landmark in Spain
|TABACALERA advertisement in the 1950s|
Today, the company has reverted back to its old name, TABACALERA. Their tradition is more than a name. Each cigar they make is work of art, and a product of impeccable quality. Their cigar undergo strict quality control measure to ensure consistency in appearance, fermentation, draw, smell, and taste. Their goal remains to deliver the best smoking experience you will ever have.
For more information about TABACALERA visit : www.tacalerainc.com