10/31/17

Santuario del Santo Cristo: San Juan’s Original Church

The city of San Juan has a rich history in itself, dating back to the days of the Spanish colonial period when it was known before as San Juan del Monte or the town of St. John (the Baptist) of the mountain, owing to San Juan’s hilly elevation. Its storied past is something we will be getting to in the future from time to time but for starters, the Urban Roamer shall take you to the place where the city was born.

Contrary to the belief of some, the church of San Juan we are referring to here is not the one located near Pinaglabanan, the one officially named St. John the Baptist Church. Can’t blame them though since it is after the city’s Catholic patron saint which can cause confusion. Instead, the one we are referring to here is the one alongside F. Blumentritt Street at the old town center. Known before as the San Juan del Monte Church, it is now officially known as the Santuario del Santo Cristo.

Continue reading

05/15/17

Club Filipino: Manila’s Storied Social Club

The presence of social clubs in a city tend to be overlooked but they nevertheless play an important role in the city’s social development. In the case of Metro Manila, social clubs such as the rotary Club and the Elks Club have made their mark in the social landscape of the metropolis.

Then there is the Club Filipino, one of the oldest clubs in existence in the country. It is also perhaps one of the most popular social clubs in the country, particularly due to the role it has played in the country’s history.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading