04/20/16

Baclaran Faith: The Baclaran Redemptorist Church

If you have been in the metropolis for quite a while, one of the most common phrases you will hear is that other word to call Wednesday: Baclaran Day. The day when devout Catholics go to this busy part of Parañaque for their weekly devotions to the Marian icon of the Our Mother of Perpetual Help.

At the center of this devotion is the towering contemporary Romanesque church dedicated to the Mother of Perpetual Help, which by itself has become a well-known and beloved landmark in this part of the metropolis.

Being a Wednesday at the time of this entry’s release, it’s about time that the Urban Roamer checks out this particular place as we learn as well the stories related to it.

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03/16/16

Parañaque Cathedral: The Catholic Bastion of South Metro Manila

Whenever one talks about the Catholic heritage of Metropolitan Manila, the focus is always on the Catholic Churches of the City of Manila. That should not come as a surprise as the city itself has been the center of activity for centuries while those outside Manila were then just considered as rural outbacks. In that context, while it is nice to see these towns progress to the cities they are now, it is unfortunate that in the process, some of that old town flavor got lost in the midst of urbanization and, sadly mostly unchecked, planning.

Nevertheless, some vestiges of heritage remain throughout the metropolis beyond the City of Manila itself, especially when it comes to churches. Some are well-known already like the St. Joseph Church in Las Piñas which is home to the famous Bamboo Organ. Then there is this church which we will talk about today, the St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Barangay La Huerta in Parañaque.

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02/2/15

From Macau to Manila: A City of Dreams Realized

Entertainment City in Parañaque still has a long way to go, but so far things are moving forward as far as developments in the area are concerned. Solaire Resort and Casino has been doing well so far as a new player in the area emerges to stir up the landscape there, so to speak. The fact that this new player even made an effort to put up an ad featuring Academy Award winners in the persons of director Martin Scorcese and actors Robert de Niro and Leonardo Di Caprio is indication enough of how serious it is.

With that ad that went viral in the first few weeks of 2015, City of Dreams Manila has managed to create quite an impression as it gears up for its grand opening today. Unfortunately, the Urban Roamer will be missing out this event. However, I did manage to check it out a few days past during its soft opening.

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01/29/15

Solaire Expands

It’s been a while since the Urban Roamer visited Solaire Resort and Casino. But it’s good to know that Enrique Razon’s gaming venture in Entertainment City has been at work ever since to make itself better. After all, being the first to open in the area, it has somehow set a precedent as to how Entertainment City is going to be, not to mention it has to keep itself ahead, especially with the arrival of a new player there. (which we will get to in a future entry here)

Thus last November, Solaire opened a new addition to its entertainment complex, the Sky Tower, which seeks to give an additional vibe and character to the complex and top up on the current Solaire experience by making it better. How better? Let’s take a look. Continue reading

03/9/14

A Guide to BF Homes Parañaque

With so many residential enclaves found in this metropolis to serve as home to its growing population, (housing issues aside, but that’s another story) a few can perhaps rival the colorful history and vibrant atmosphere of this residential community in the southern part of the  metropolis. Today, the Urban Roamer will be exploring BF Homes Parañaque. which was also known largest residential community, even in Asia.

BF Homes Paranaque

Beginnings of BF Homes

Telling the story BF Homes Parañaque would not be complete without mentioning the pioneering efforts of the man who envisioned it, Tomas Aguirre. Coming from a family whose business was, and still is, mainly in the pawnshop business, he wanted to venture beyond the pawnshop business, Thus, he established Banco Filipino Savings and Mortgage Bank* in 1964. With its innovations introduced in the Philippine banking industry, the bank soon became one of the top savings banks in the country, and its success gave Aguirre the needed capital to venture in a new business: land development.

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an Aguirre pawnshop in BF Homes, possibly owned by an Aguirre kin

Aguirre set his sights to develop on what was then a sprawling 768-hectare agricultural land in straddling mainly Parañaque and neighboring towns of Las Piñas and Muntinlupa. With Banco Filipino’s stellar reputation then, he decided to append the bank’s initials in the realty development he established: BF Homes Incorporated. What was to become BF Homes was opened up for sale in 1968; from then until the 1970s sales skyrocketed  as more and more families settled in, transforming a vast farmland into a bustling residential community of mostly middle-class households.

Along with the bustling property sales and the growing population in the area as a result, the BF Homes area, and southern Greater Manila as a whole, experienced a significant boost in commercial activity.

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