09/19/16

The Henry and The Conrad: Exploring Two Pasay Hotels

Pasay City today is one place in the metropolis which has a conflicted identity brought about by the many changes that came upon this part of the metropolis over the last 70 years or so. There is the Old Pasay, at least remains of the old genteel neighborhood where some of the Manila’s elite families lived, especially before the war and in the early postwar years. Then there is the Modern Pasay of today, suffering in urban squalor, decay, and congestion brought about by the emergence of the urban poor populace who lived in the city as the elites moved out to escape the creeping urbanization. And of course, there is the New Pasay, the hoped future of the city at least, concentrated in the reclaimed area of the city, where there is more room to plan the growth of this part of the city.

Such contrasts in identities can be exemplified in today’s entry as we roam and look into two hotels found in the city that reflect Pasay’s contrast in character. Incidentally, these two hotels in questions are named after first names of men, which makes this study of contrasts a bit more interesting: the Henry Hotel and the Conrad Hotel. Continue reading

09/5/16

From Opening Flair To Uncertain Future: The Saga of Folk Arts Theater

 

It is interesting to write about the Folk Arts Theater at this time in the midst of the preparations for the country’s 3rd stint to host the Miss Universe pageant that will happen on January 2017. That is because the Folk Arts Theater itself came into being because of the Miss Universe pageant, when the Philippines hosted it for the first time in 1974. Reportedly, then First Lady Imelda Marcos pushed hard for the country to host the pageant, especially after the country’s Miss Universe candidate, Margarita Moran, won the title in 1973, becoming the second Filipina Miss Universe after Gloria Diaz.

With the hosting secured, Mrs. Marcos had the idea of holding the pageant not at an existing venue like the Araneta Coliseum, but at a new one. For this project, she turned to Architect Leandro Locsin, who by then was already the most sought-after architect and country and also in the First Lady’s good graces for his work on the Cultural Center of the Philippines Theater. However, there was a problem: Locsin only had a short time to complete that dream venue with the pageant just a few months away. Nevertheless, Locsin was one who rises to any challenge and this was no exception. Continue reading

04/4/16

April 2016 Is Not Starting Out Well

The Urban Roamer is one of those who cringe at those “<insert name of month>, please be good to me” type of posts. But it is one of those times that we really, really hope it would be so for the rest of the month at least. Because, quite sadly, the start of April 2016 has been quite bad, and “bad” here may be an understatement. In any case, the beginning of April has been depressing, to say the least.

Due to the nature of this site and its coverage, the Urban Roamer will not discuss here what happened in Kidapawan, North Cotabato last April 1. Do check out other sources online who can provide a better view of this issue. But while I won’t be addressing it here, there’s no doubt the Kidapawan incident is one of the things that has happened this month so far that makes April 2016 very memorable in the most unfortunate manner. My heart goes out to the victims of this unfortunate event.

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10/2/15

Philippine Air Force Aerospace Museum: A Home to Philippine Aviation History

Let’s face it. One can’t help talking about the Philippine Air Force (PAF) without citing the current state of things there, notably the limited number of aircraft and equipment that has made it not readily equipped in the event of a possible catastrophe or threat to national security. Still, we have to salute the men and women of the PAF for their dedication in spite of these odds. And the PAF has a notable history to show it.

That history is enshrined at the Philippine Air Force Aerospace Museum at the PAF Headquarters at Villamor Air Base. Formerly named Nichols Field, (named after Captain Henry E. Nichols, a US Navy commander who served during the Philippine-American War) it was renamed after Jesus Villamor, one of the most prominent pilots in Philippine aviation history who served during World War II fighting the Japanese forces.

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07/10/15

Grand Spectacles at the Marriott Grand Ballroom

Recently, a new events venue was officially unveiled at the Resorts World Manila complex, the Marriott Grand Ballroom of Marriott Hotel Manila. And looking at the figures, it does live up to its “grand” name; in fact, it already holds the record of being the largest ballroom in the Philippines.

The 3-level structure was designed by international hospitality firm Gettys Group with its interiors designed by notable Filipino interior designer Kenneth Cobonpue. With over 8000 square meters of function space, which includes the 3000 square meter main ballroom, it was designed to be not just a hotel events venue but a notable addition to the Philippine MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions) scene as the country is being promoted as an ideal venue for international conventions and exhibitions.

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