12/16/14

The Good Ol’ Greenhills Shopping Center, Part 2

As the first part of this series dealt with the history of the Greenhills Shopping Center and the transformation of its classic structures, this part deals with the other structures that have defined the modern Greenhills, especially the new ones that have risen and soon to rise in this complex.

Perhaps the most prominent of these new structures is the one across Shoppesville and Theater Mall called Promenade, a massive building that is home to a number of restaurants, (some of them have an alfresco dining option) a Fully Booked bookstore branch, a performing arts venue called Teatrino and 6 cinemas.

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12/15/14

The Good Ol’ Greenhills Shopping Center, Part 1

Mention the place Greenhills and automatically, the first thing that comes to mind is the shopping center there. But make no mistake of dismissing it as just some regular shopping area. Greenhills Shopping Center is itself a landmark of sorts that urban denizens and even tourists have come to know and love over the years, long before the shopping mall chains dominated the urban landscape.

EARLY YEARS

Greenhills Shopping Center came about from a masterplan of the development of the greater Greenhills area as a residential-commercial development project by the Ortigas and Company. Renowned architect Juan Nakpil came up with the design of the structure as construction would begin by 1966. By 1970, the shopping complex was completed with the opening of its first building that was to be occupied by what would become a landmark establishment in the shopping center and Greenhills as a whole, the Unimart Supermarket. But it would the opening of another building in the complex a short time after that would put Greenhills on the map as a shopping destination, the original Virra Mall. Soon after, Shoppesville opened as well.

the old Virra Mall (photo courtesy of Tsikot.com via Tumblr)

Unimart Supermarket, Greenhills Shopping Center’s first and oldest tenant. It has not expanded beyond the confines of the complex, that is until the opening of its second branch at another Ortigas development, Capitol Commons, which is happening soon.

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11/27/14

A Museum for the Katipunan

Bonifacio Day is fast approaching, so if you are looking into commemorating in your own way the birthday of Andres Bonifacio and his contributions to Philippine history, the Urban Roamer suggests you check out the Museo ng Katipunan, so far the only museum dedicated to the life of Andres Bonifacio and the movement he founded, the Kataastaasan, Kagalanggalang na Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan, which we all know better as the Katipunan.

Opened in 2013, (in time for Bonifacio’s 150th birth anniversary) the museum is located not in Bonifacio’s birthplace in Tondo, Manila. Rather, its location is just beside the vast Pinaglabanan Shrine in San Juan, the site where Bonifacio and his men launched what was considered to be the first major battle of the Philippine Revolution on August 30, 1896.

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08/25/14

Pinaglabanan

August of 1896 was about to end. Shortly after the members of the now-discovered separatist movement the Kataastaasang, Kagalang-galang na Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan (popularly known as the KKK or Katipunan) cried out for freedom in Balintawak, (which some say was held in Pugad Lawin) the leader of the movement, Andres Bonifacio began to plot their next move against the Spanish colonial government: an attack on the Spanish gunpowder depot in San Juan del Monte called El Polvorin.

Before dawn of August 30, 1896, Bonifacio and about 800 men launched their offensive. Despite being poorly armed against the Spanish troops stationed in El Polverin, the Katipuneros managed to prevail at first as the Spaniards retreated to defend the Manila waterworks building, the El Deposito* where the Katipuneros moved to next.

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07/26/14

The Iglesia ni Cristo at F. Manalo, San Juan

The Iglesia ni Cristo, (INC) the religious group founded by Felix Manalo in July 1914, grew in numbers and influence by the 1930s. Even after World War II, in which the INC suffered greatly as well, it still managed to become a dominant force in Philippine society, thanks in part for its practice of bloc-voting that many aspiring politicians sought to have.

Perhaps the most visible example of INC’s growth after the war was the building of what would be its central temple and offices in Barrio (now Barangay) Santa Lucia in the then suburban town of San Juan outside Manila. From 1952 to 1968, this would the INC’s “home base,” so to speak. And even then, its San Juan complex was a sight to behold, never failing to draw attention from anyone who passed by the area, INC member or otherwise.

Iglesia Ni Cristo at Barangay Santa Lucia, San Juan (courtesy of chitchuandnoan.com)

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