05/28/17

Fort Santiago in Flux – Part 1

What else can be said about Fort Santiago? It is one of the most famous historic tourist destinations in Manila, perhaps in the Philippines as well. It’s one of the first places tourists are taken in the city. And if one is asked about Manila, this is one of the first places that comes to mind.

That should not come to surprise as Fort Santiago is considered to be the place where the city that we have come to know as Manila evolved from. After all, the fort was where the throne of the pre-Hispanic Kingdom of Maynilad was located, itself a fortified area (albeit made of bamboo and wood fortification). And when the Spaniards came and eventually conquered the old Kingdom of Maynilad, they would establish the new capital city of the newly-established Spanish colony of Filipinas in the premises of the old wooden fort. Eventually, the wood was replaced with thick adobe stone walls as a means to defend the new city. Continue reading

05/15/17

Club Filipino: Manila’s Storied Social Club

The presence of social clubs in a city tend to be overlooked but they nevertheless play an important role in the city’s social development. In the case of Metro Manila, social clubs such as the rotary Club and the Elks Club have made their mark in the social landscape of the metropolis.

Then there is the Club Filipino, one of the oldest clubs in existence in the country. It is also perhaps one of the most popular social clubs in the country, particularly due to the role it has played in the country’s history.

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05/7/17

RCBC Plaza and the Alfonso Yuchengco Legacy

It was less than a month ago, to be exact on April 15 which was Black Saturday, when news of Alfonso Yuchengco’s death thrust the country’s business community in greater mourning since the passing of Mercury Drug’s founder Mariano Que the previous day.

Alfonso Yuchengco (photo courtesy of Alchetron)

Unlike many of the country’s taipans, Alfonso Yuchengco, known to many as AY, was born to an already prosperous family, thanks to the efforts of his father Enrique Yuchengco, a Fujian-born immigrant who managed to establish some thriving businesses, notably the China Insurance and Surety Company which became the leading non-life insurance company in the country. But to his credit, AY managed to grow the insurance business, evolving into what is now Malayan Insurance and expanding into other businesses such as life insurance with Grepalife (which eventually entered into a partnership with Sun Life to become Sun Life Grepa Financial), banking through Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), and education through his purchase of Mapua Institute of Technology.

In addition to being a businessman, AY also served as a diplomat, having served as ambassador to Japan, Korea, China, and even the United Nations. Not to mention having served as special envoy for a number of diplomatic missions.

Alfonso Yuchengco’s legacy, both positive and negative, is very much visible with the presence of his businesses in different parts of the country. But perhaps what stands out the most as far as his legacy is concerned is the iconic building at the corner of Ayala Avenue and Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue: the RCBC Plaza. Continue reading

04/28/17

Roundup Tidbits: Torre de Manila Postmortem, Remembering Mariano Que, and Line 1’s New Look

So many things have been going on around the metropolis this past few weeks. At the same time, we have not seen a Roamer’s Roundup so far this year so why not have this entry be the first Roamer’s Roundup for 2017, no? Continue reading

04/15/17

Roaming San Agustin (Part 3: A Museum’s Treasures)

As much as there is a lot to see in the San Agustin Church itself, if one wants to immerse in the rich history of the church and that of the Augustinian Order in the Philippines, it is highly recommended to visit the San Agustin Museum.

With so many artifacts in the museum’s collection that can be seen here, it is, for now at least, the most massive museum experience one can find within Intramuros. It provides a glimpse of how the religious life was like in Intramuros especially during the Spanish colonial period, back when Intramuros was known as the “little Vatican” of the east. (this was tackled here in a previous entry)

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