Christmas in the City 2017: The Christmas Light Tunnel at Ortigas East

Christmas is in the air in the metropolis once again! And for many of us, it’s one of the most joyous occasions we look forward to each year.

It helps that establishments across the metropolis make an effort to “dress up” for the season, Never mind it reeks of commercialism, these spectacles so colorful and cheerful that you can’t help but smile at what you see, from the Christmas musical lights at Ayala Triangle to Meralco’s Liwanag Park, many of which have become annual Yuletide landmarks that has shaped the metropolis in recent years.

This year marks the beginning of a new Yuletide tradition, courtesy of the property developers Ortigas and Company. While not having a more prolific portfolio as Ayala Land and SM, Ortigas and Company is the one behind the development of prominent areas such as Greenhills, Ortigas Center, Valle Verde, and Capitol Commons.

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Sleek, Snazzy Skyscraper*: The SSS Building at East Avenue

*Apologies to Paulo Alcazaren for blatantly taking inspiration from one of his articles for the title of this entry

2017 actually marks the 60th anniversary of the Social Security System or SSS, the country’s social insurance program catering to Filipinos in the private, professional, and informal sectors. To be specific, it celebrated its 60th year last September 1, the date the Social Security Act (first enacted in 1954) was implemented, establishing the SSS as a result.

Originally, the SSS offices were located in the old GSIS Building along what is now A. Villegas and Natividad Lopez streets then called Arroceros and Concepcion streets, respectively. Which should not be a surprise since the SSS is an offshoot of the Government Service Insurance System which is focused on the government sector. But as the responsibilities and the needs of SSS grew in just a short period of time, there was a need for SSS to have a bigger home. Continue reading


Time For A New EDSA Mass Transit Line

I’ll start by getting this sentiment out of the way: the current Mass Transit Line 3 in EDSA sucks.

And it’s not just because of the technical problems it all too often suffers from. From an aesthetic, design, and capability standpoint, the current Line 3 just sucks so bad. Consider the following issues of the system right now. Continue reading


ASEAN and the Parian

This year, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Coinciding with this momentous occasion, the 31st ASEAN Summit is being held here in Manila this week until November 15, prompting protests, heavy traffic, and a former beauty queen committing serious traffic violation. But in the spirit of this historic occasion, let’s focus instead to what this site does best: urban roaming of course.

In relation to the ASEAN theme going on in the metropolis, today the Urban Roamer takes you right between the walls of Intramuros where one of the Walled City’s defenses once stood. Where now stands an open park that, among others, is dedicated to the regional organization.

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Manila Memorial Park: The Vast Burial Ground in the South

With All Saints-All Souls Day already passed, it was a perfect occasion for the Urban Roamer to visit a cemetery anew. This time, we are headed south to visit what is probably the most prominent and the largest burial area in the southern metropolis: the Manila Memorial Park.

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