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


The Saga of Malate Church

Malate district in Manila has gone through so much in the last 100 years or so. From being once part of the city’s so-called “Millionaire’s Row” in the prewar years to the district’s destruction as well as much of the city during World War II into becoming a beloved evening hangout that’s had its share of ups and downs.

Regardless of those transformations and the changing fate of this fabled district, there is one constant that has managed to weather them, becoming a beloved Malate landmark in its own right. Today, the Urban Roamer checks out this storied structure that is the Our Lady of Remedies Church, also known as the Malate Catholic Church.

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The Vatican’s Manila Outpost

In the current flurry of activity in the papal visit of Pope Francis, one spot that has been getting much of the attention in the media and in the public at this time is the place where he is staying, the Apostolic Nunciature to the Philippines in Manila.

(courtesy of Balita.ph)

In fact, the Nunciature also played home to the previous papal visits of Paul VI and John Paul II, following a standard procedure that visiting pontiffs would usually stay at the apostolic nunciature of the country they visit if there is such.

Unfortunately, there is not much documentation, text or photos, of the Apostolic Nunciature here as the structure is obscured by high walls and and trees block the view of what it looks like. It has been standing in quiet existence most of the time, in the midst of the flurry of urban activity that surrounds it, not to mention being located in the City of Manila itself. Continue reading


Manila’s Hidden Fortress

Whenever the subject of Manila’s fortifications is discussed, automatically Fort Santiago is the one that first comes to mind. After all, it is the most well-known city fortification that has not only managed to survive the centuries, but also rose to become a popular tourist destination.

But hidden south of the city lies another historic fortification, smaller and understandably overlooked these days considering its current location. This is the Fort San Antonio Abad, Manila’s hidden fort that lies between the imposing Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas buildings and the Metropolitan Museum of Manila.

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Meet The Other Met

When one says something about the Met in Manila, it actually would mean either of the two locations in the city. The Urban Roamer has already introduced you to one of them, the Metropolitan Theater. Today, we shall get ourselves acquainted with the other Met, the Metropolitan Museum of Manila.

Despite the name, the Met Museum here is not actually associated with the more famous Met Museum found in New York. And to be honest, the Met Museum of Manila is not as prominent as other museums in the city. Nevertheless, it has its own charms which makes it an interesting museum to check out. Continue reading