11/28/17

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

10/11/17

Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City

After World War II, the Santo Domingo Church laid in ruins, as with many of the structures in Intramuros. With the difficulties of reconstruction, not only physically but also emotionally, the caretakers of the now destroyed structures were faced with a dilemma: should they rebuild in the Walled City or start anew elsewhere? Some, like the Archdiocese of Manila, opted to rebuild the Manila Cathedral from the ground up. The Dominicans, however, may have thought the pain of the loss they felt not only with Santo Domingo but also with the old University of Santo Tomas (UST) campus nearby was too much. Thus, they decided to leave the old Santo Domingo be and rebuild what would be the sixth iteration of the church in a new location up north.

That new location would be in Quezon City, the newly-established city and, in 1949, newly-proclaimed capital of the country. In particular, the Dominicans managed to snag a property in the midst of what was then a low-key commercial area right between the City of Manila and what should have been the National Government Center that is the Elliptical Circle and the quadrangles today. They were eager to get back on their feet and start anew and they envisioned Santo Domingo 6.0 as a reflection of postwar recovery while carrying the sense of grandeur that its predecessors had.

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04/2/17

Cubao’s Modern Bus Terminal

It is a sad fact, but Metro Manila direly needs not just a unified bus terminal that will house the different bus companies under one roof. It needs a modern terminal that takes into account the technologies present in today’s world. And if you’re a bit cynical, you’ll probably think this is something that’s a pipe dream as far as standards here go.

Fortunately, such a dream can be realized. Most importantly, there is already a living, real example of this in the metropolis. You just have to check out the new bus terminal at Cubao’s Araneta Center.

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02/26/17

A Madz Way of Learning Music: Checking Out the Madz Music Studio

Consider this Urban Roamer a fan of the Philippine Madrigal Singers. Ever since having heard them perform on video, then eventually in person at Pasinaya years back made that appreciation grow over the years. And if you are not convinced that the Madz (as the Philippine Madrigal Singers are affectionately called) are one of the best and most prolific choral groups in the Philippines (if not the world), then do check one of their many performances uploaded in YouTube and see for yourself, like this one:

Thus, to be part of this illustrious crop of singers that has been an institution in Philippine music since its founding at the University of the Philippines in 1963 is an achievement in itself that not a few young singers want to be part of. While not everyone can be part of Madz, now anyone who wishes to hone their talent to be on the same caliber at least as them now have a chance to do so with the opening of their new music school.

That’s right, the Philippine Madrigal Singers now have their own music school/studio in Eastwood City. Continue reading

09/12/16

Bright Lights Dimming: The Nearing Demise(?) of Broadway Centrum

Given the state of how the Philippine television industry works, we do not really have much venues that broadcast TV programs which are located outside the studio complex of the broadcaster. Then again, such venues like New York City’s Ed Sullivan Theater where US late night program The Late Show (of both David Letterman and Stephen Colbert) are a rarity themselves. There is, however, one notable example broadcast venue located beyond the studio complex, of GMA Network in this case. Today, this urban roaming takes us to that Quezon City landmark known as Broadway Centrum.

Knowing its geography and history gives one the impression that its name connotes more than a single meaning. The first is its location at the corner of Aurora Boulevard and Doña Juana Rodriguez Avenue, also known as Broadway Avenue in Quezon City’s New Manila district. Then there is also the “showtime” and high energy live performances that the name “Broadway” evokes. While the QC Broadway was nowhere as fabulous as NYC’s Broadway, Broadway Centrum at least gave us some semblance of that vibe through the programs that were broadcasted in this venue over the years. Continue reading