05/27/14

Checked Out: the Sunday Intramuros Pasyal

Traditionally, Sunday is day to unwind. For families, Sunday is also family day when families do some bonding together somewhere, especially after attending a Sunday religious service. These days, the venue of choice for these moments would be a modern, air-conditioned shopping mall which offers many amenities and sights to see. While I have nothing against shopping malls, it;s just that they have become so much ingrained in our culture and lifestyle that we tend to forget to look beyond the mall, so to speak. There are many things to discover outside the confines of the mall that may surprise and perhaps enamor you if one takes the time to do so.

That being said, allow the Urban Roamer introduce you to a one-of-a-kind Sunday experience right in Manila’s Walled City one should not fail to miss: the Sunday Intramuros Pasyal.

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05/15/14

the Metro Manila City/Town Name Guide

There are questions that are not asked often but never fail to make heads scratch whenever they are asked. One of them being “how did this place get its name?”

Today, we will attempt to answer this question with regards to the origins behind the names of the cities and town (yes, as in one town) that comprise Metropolitan Manila. Some of the information that will be shared here may be of common knowledge to some, but it is still worth knowing. Who knows, you may be asked about in in a game show or something. 😉

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04/25/14

A US President In Manila

As the Philippines’ capital and seat of government, Manila has seen various heads of state and government who have come here for state or working visits in the country. However, for many Filipinos, there is no greater impact of such visits than that of the President of the United States. Then again, that should come as no surprise given the United States’ position today as  a global superpower and more importantly, the historical ties that existed ever since the Philippines first became an American colony in 1898.

Thus, the high level of anticipation being seen at this time for the upcoming state visit of US President Barack Obama on April 28. It will be a given that the visit will be about strengthening US-PH ties, (something that is being stressed out as of late due to those issues we are having with China over disputed areas in the country) but it will be interesting to find out what else will be on the table when Obama and Philippine President Benigno Aquino III meet. Will we get back the Balangiga Bells?  Will Obama announce new investments in the Philippines? Will Obama get to wear and barong and how will he look with it? On another note, will Obama get to try balut or other Filipino delicacies?

As we await and see what history will be made, if any, from the upcoming Obama state visit, let us look back at the US presidents who came before him who visited Manila in the past through this new edition of the Urban Roamer’s Guide. We will deal here strictly with those who visited the country in their official capacity as President of the United States. Thus, we will not be counting William Howard Taft, (who was here from 1900-1904 as US civil governor before he became president) Ronald Reagan, (governor of California state when he visited here in 1969) George Bush, (who came here in 1981 as US Vice President) and Jimmy Carter. (no longer president when he came here in 1999)

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04/21/14

Goodbye For Good, Pandacan Oil Depots?

While so much was going for the past few weeks or so, the Urban Roamer feels so ashamed to miss this news item that came out on April 3.  My apologies for the oversight.

Mayor Estrada with the letter to one of the oil companies asking them to move their oil depots out of Pandacan by 2016 (photo courtesy of GMA News)

That piece of news concerned about a new development in the continuing saga of the Pandacan Oil Depots as former president turned Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada issued an ultimatum to the 3 oil companies (namely Shell, Chevron, and Petron) who have operations in the district that they only have until January 31, 2016 to move out their operations there or else the city government will do the shutting down for them.

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12/30/13

Manila’s “Arsenic” Mayor

Last December 26 was actually the 101st birth anniversary of one of the most colorful figures in postwar years of the City of Manila, and the Philippines as a whole. His name is Arsenio H. Lacson.

Born in Talisay in the province of Negros Occidental, he was once actually a boxer, lawyer, World War II guerilla, dabbled as a journalist and broadcaster, elected as congressman of Manila’s 2nd district, then eventually becoming mayor of the City of Manila from 1951 to 1962. He was actually the first elected mayor of the city, as before that, Manila mayors were actually appointed by the President of the Philippines. Continue reading