• Special Feature

    An SM Mall Story (As Told By 3 Malls) – Part 1

    The Christmas season is in full swing as people are trooping the shopping malls to buy Christmas gifts or to check out any of those Yuletide events happening in those malls. The Urban Roamer can bet any one of the 18(!) SM shopping malls in the metropolis would be one of the malls you’ll check out. Incidentally, this year marks SM’s 60th anniversary. Yes, SM has existed for that long, going way back to Henry Sy Sr.’s original shoe store business in Quiapo named ShoeMart (which was eventually shortened to SM as he began to expand his business to become a full-fledged department store). However, it can be argued that it…

  • Special Feature

    The Rise and Decline of the Big Bookstores

    From the mid-1990s until sometime in the mid-2000s, in the midst of the changing urban landscape that is sweeping across the metropolis, Manila went through what can be considered as a “golden age” as far as the bookstore industry is concerned with the rise of the so-called “big bookstores” in the metropolis. At the forefront of this golden age were two giant bookstores: Powerbooks and Fully Booked. Competition aside, these two bookstore giants that have managed to transform not only the bookstore business, but also the landscape of the metropolis as well. After years of being used to the traditional “bookstore” that retailers like National Book Store has to offer,…

  • Special Feature

    8 Essential Tips When Visiting Manila

    From time to time, the Urban Roamer has been asked about traveling in Manila. Stuff like what to do or some helpful tips. While there has been some information shared about those things from time to time, I realized I never really talked about that matter a bit in depth. With the help of some friends, I hope this article would be of help for all travelers who want to check out what this city has to offer. After all, Manila is more than just the Philippines’s bustling capital. As we have seen here in the Urban Roamer for years now, there is a cultural and historical hub that locals and tourists…