07/20/15

Ideas Immortalized: Telling the Story of the University of the Philippines

The University of the Philippines is one institution that needs no introduction. Just mention UP and people express their awe to show how much they look up to this university, the country’s premier university where many of the country’s brightest minds sprang from.

UP’s status and prestige today makes one overlook how far it has come ever since it was established more than a century ago. Then again, not many know the story of the university’s early years, the struggles and the triumphs it encountered during that pioneering period in UP’s history. That was, until the Museum of a History of Ideas opened in UP’s Manila campus last October 22, 2014.

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06/30/15

Viva Manila: Luneta Hotel Reborn

This is the 4th part of a series covering Carlos Celdran’s Viva Manila tour. Click here for Part 1Part 2, and Part 3

One of the stops of the Carlos Celdran Viva Manila tour was a visit to a historic hotel near Rizal Park that is not the Manila Hotel. I am of course talking about the Luneta Hotel which first opened in 1918.

Designed in the French renaissance style by Spanish architect Salvador Farre, the hotel with its charm and elegance, rivaled the Manila Hotel as a popular place of stay among guests, especially notable ones like dignitaries, elite, and marine merchant personnel. Dwight D. Eisenhower, during his stint in the country as aide to Gen. Douglas MacArthur, also stayed in this hotel and had good memories of it.  It also served as the hotel for the delegates of an international meet that was the XXXIII International Eucharistic Congress in 1937.

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06/28/15

Viva Manila: Manila’s Art Deco Hotel

This is the 3rd part of a series covering Carlos Celdran’s Viva Manila tour. Click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2.

There are, sad to say, only a few hotels from the prewar years that have managed to survive and serve as living monuments to a bygone glorious era that we had. One of them was part of the itinerary of the recent Carlos Celdran Viva Manila tour.

Meet the Miramar Hotel, a hotel built in the Art Deco style of architecture built in the 1930s. As one can see, the hotel has done a good job preserving many of its original elements to be appreciated by generations of guests and travelers alike.

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06/26/15

Viva Manila!: A Bakeshop with a Dolphy Connection (And Some Sidelights Along the Way)

This entry is part of the Viva Manila series inspired by the tour of Carlos Celdran. If you haven’t caught up with Part 1, click here

Our Viva Manila walking tour adventure continues as we proceeded to our next stop, Hizon’s Cakes and Pastries along J. Bocobo Street in Ermita, one of the few remaining old dining places in Ermita.

From its humble beginnings in 1946 as a bakeshop located along Raon (now Gonzalo Puyat) Street in Quiapo, Hizon’s grew as a beloved brand in its reputation thanks to its pastries, particularly their big and fluffy ensaymada which became synonymous with the bakeshop itself. One of its growing number of loyal customers happens to be a budding theater and film actor Rodolfo V. Quizon, who we better know as Dolphy. Continue reading

06/23/15

Viva Manila!: Exploring Malate and Ermita with Carlos Celdran (Part 1)

On the occasion of the 444th anniversary of the founding of the City of Manila this June 24, renowned tour guide, activist, and heritage advocate Carlos Celdran launched a free walking tour for all Sundays of the month dubbed “Viva Manila.”

This special walking tour aims to get visitors reacquainted with the old city itself and appreciate its charm that is being overlooked these days, in particular with the districts of Malate and Ermita which used to be the haven of the rich and a bustling part of the city, especially before the war. The Urban Roamer was fortunate to join in one of those tours as we walked our way through the city and discover some sights along the way that we never got to know well before. Continue reading