09/19/16

The Henry and The Conrad: Exploring Two Pasay Hotels

Pasay City today is one place in the metropolis which has a conflicted identity brought about by the many changes that came upon this part of the metropolis over the last 70 years or so. There is the Old Pasay, at least remains of the old genteel neighborhood where some of the Manila’s elite families lived, especially before the war and in the early postwar years. Then there is the Modern Pasay of today, suffering in urban squalor, decay, and congestion brought about by the emergence of the urban poor populace who lived in the city as the elites moved out to escape the creeping urbanization. And of course, there is the New Pasay, the hoped future of the city at least, concentrated in the reclaimed area of the city, where there is more room to plan the growth of this part of the city.

Such contrasts in identities can be exemplified in today’s entry as we roam and look into two hotels found in the city that reflect Pasay’s contrast in character. Incidentally, these two hotels in questions are named after first names of men, which makes this study of contrasts a bit more interesting: the Henry Hotel and the Conrad Hotel. Continue reading

09/14/15

The Story of Ayala Triangle: Rebirth and Redevelopment

With Ayala scrapping its plans for Ayala Triangle at the wake of the Asian Financial Crisis of 1997, development has stalled in the property for a long while. For a long while, the Ayala Triangle remained a dormant property, save for the activity going on in the existing structures as well as at the park.

At the same time, the park grew as a popular open space, especially among those who work in the Makati CBD area being one of the few open spaces available in the midst of the rapid development and the towering steel and concrete structures that have sprouted in the area, even though not much has been done in the park throughout those years.

More than a decade later since the crisis, Ayala was ready to look again into the redevelopment of Ayala Triangle once again through its property development firm Ayala Land. And it was appropriate enough that the redevelopment efforts would begin with the park. Continue reading

09/3/14

Saving The Old, Building The New Mandarin Oriental Hotel Manila

As was talked about in this piece some time ago, the beloved Mandarin Oriental Manila will be closing down its operations this year. The hotel’s closing was being done in phases for quite some time, but on September 9, after 38 years in operation, the hotel will finally shut down its operations for good, at least in its current location.

Come 2020, a new Mandarin Oriental hotel is expected to open its doors again, and it will be located right across its current location at Roxas Triangle, right at the northern tip of Ayala Triangle. Continue reading

06/5/14

A Farewell To Mandarin Oriental

Truth be told, this has been originally an entry long overdue of a write-up on this site since last year. For some reason, I never got around it for that long. While I have now gotten around doing this entry, I feel bad that I am writing about this storied hotel in the most unfortunate of circumstances as the news broke out recently that Mandarin Oriental is closing down its operations later this year.

This puts an end to the hotel’s 38 years or so of operation in the city that began with the opening of its iconic hotel building in 1976, housed in a uniquely-designed concrete edifice courtesy of no less than the National Artist for Architecture Leandro Locsin, right at the corner of Paseo de Roxas and Makati Avenue.

Continue reading