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.

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10/26/17

Revival Pains: The Case of the Paco Market and Estero de Paco Rehabilitation

In 2010, the government and partner agencies and organizations launched a massive drive to rehabilitate Estero de Paco as part of the greater and still-continuing campaign to rehabilitate Pasig River and its tributaries. As part of this drive, Paco Market, one of Paco’s iconic structures which is located alongside the Estero de Paco, was “redeveloped” as well as a showcase of the new Estero de Paco and, in a way, a new Paco as well.

More or less a decade has passed since the Estero de Paco project was initiated and by and large, it seems most of the major rehabilitation work has been completed. It’s an opportunity to look back at the past and see as well how much progress (or otherwise) this part of the city has experienced as the result of the rehabilitation. 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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10/4/17

Santo Domingo Church in Intramuros

October every year is a special occasion for one of the metropolis’ most prominent Catholic churches. In particular, this church celebrates two important occasions: the feast day of its Marian patron and the anniversary of its establishment in its current location. And what is this church is the Urban Roamer referring to? Why, it is none other than the Santo Domingo Church in Quezon City, considered to be the one of the largest Catholic churches in Metro Manila.

For us to better appreciate the significance of this landmark, it is important for us to learn its history. For that, we have to first visit the Walled City that is Intramuros in Manila, right where Santo Domingo began. Continue reading

09/29/17

Beyond Fish and Floods: Exploring the Navotas City Proper

Navotas, the north-westernmost city of Metro Manila. And for many of us, two F’s come into mind when we hear Navotas being mentioned: fish and floods.

The Urban Roamer has long been curious about Navotas and what it has to offer other than those two. Ever since having gone on that Malabon trip that included a stop at the city, it has always been a plan of this roamer to explore this part of the metropolis.

And finally, after years of plans that did not push through, it finally happened.

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