Some quick love in the city: Pasig’s “motel row”

True to the “mission” of The Urban Roamer’s Journal, this blog strives to document whatever sight the metropolis has to offer. That means documenting even those places that can be considered “offensive” to one’s moral and religious feelings and risk being jailed. Then again, my “offensive” post from two years back about the “motel row” in Santa Mesa earned the distinction to be the second most read entry in the blog. Due to the popularity and the clamor, the Urban Roamer is “pressed” to write this year’s edition for my “Some quick love in the city.”

It’s the Valentine season once more, and for this occasion, this roamer finds himself at another popular “motel row” in the metropolis, located at the hilly terrains of Pasig City.

Pasig motel row

the “Pasig motel row” neighborhood

To be precise, this area straddles along the barangays of Oranbo and Bagong Ilog, Pasig’s commercially-thriving barangays. Yet despite the growing bustling activity, it is still largely a quiet neighborhood that serves as refuge from the frenzy of the urban jungle, particularly the busy commercial-business district of Ortigas Center located right next door.


With the environment and the topography taken into consideration, I suppose there should be no doubt why this part of Pasig seems to be a favored place for businesses like hotels/motels to set up their establishments here. It could be argued that the Pasig motels have a bit more “prestige” compared to its Santa Mesa counterparts, thanks to the presence of not one, but two motels belonging to a popular and quite prestigious motel chain.

Other than that, the businesses here follow the same formula as its competitors in the Santa Mesa area: promoting through bold letters in their advertisements while offering a certain level of privacy to its guests, whatever their guests have in mind to stay for a while in their establishments.





It’s also good to know that despite the not-so-positive perception on motel establishments, the establishments here strive to put a positive spin to their image by offering something different for its customers. Whether it is through offering themed rooms which can be used for parties and other social events or through its menu, the motel we know is striving to go beyond perceptions and hopefully become more known than just a place for short stay regardless of the intents involved.

© The Urban Roamer


Some quick love in the city: Santa Mesa’s “motel row”

Disclaimer: the following contents of this entry may contain some “inappropriate” ideas or language, in which the urban roamer apologizes for but deems them necessary for the entry. Be guided accordingly. Thank you!

If you’re a first-time visitor to this part of Manila, to this part of Santa Mesa in particular, you might be surprised to see a row of establishments offering budget accommodations, considering this particular area is not really much of a tourist destination but more of a commercial/residential/education zone of sorts. The area that is come to be known as the “motel row” of Santa Mesa, which, for good or ill, what makes this district stand out from the rest of the city apart from the PUP Campus which incidentally is located nearby.

Santa Mesa’s motel row: along V. Mapa, Old Sta. Mesa, Valenzuela and Reposo Sts.

So why the curious presence of these establishments? You will find out a bit later. First things first though, I have to note there is some sort of a misnomer to the term “motel row” given to this area.


Town and Country: one of the more “established” names in the motel row

You see if we go with the actual definition of a motel being a “hotel for motorists” (thus the word “motel”) then some of the establishments here do not fit the motel category but more of the “budget hotel” type, with some parking space instead of garages for vehicles to park.


this particular establishment in motel row does not offer a garage like a regular motel

But here in the country, or in the metropolis to be exact, the definition of a “motel” means something else in connotation. Here, the “motel” has become synonymous to a place where couples (doesn’t matter if they’re in a relationship or just some fling) spend a little for privacy and intimacy, you know those things your morally-conscious mother or your church will not approve of.


Truth be told, almost all of these establishments on the Santa Mesa motel row are in the business of primarily catering to, or taking advantage of the need of these people to satiate these desires. Some of them have been there for a long while since the 1980’s. And with all the promotions they’ve set up along the way, and in big bold letters too, it seems these businesses are doing pretty good.


Pinoy Pamilya Club Hotel: the only establishment in the area that does not offer “short time” rates. formerly an Anito Motel

Of course moralists can only be frustrated at all this. Not to mention other people who are genuinely concerned about their proximity to PUP and other schools nearby. In fact they have tried to put a stop to these “short-time stay” offers of these establishments, only to be stopped by the Supreme Court because it is “unconstitutional.”


As ambiguous and debatable as to how the motel in the Philippine setting has affected our culture in any way, there’s no doubt that the “motel culture” here as it’s called has become part of our unique overall Filipino culture. While not as much evident as other aspects of Filipino society,  it will be a long shot to get rid of this culture. As for Santa Mesa’s “motel row,” there’s little doubt they will be still be there for a foreseeable future, fulfilling those “special needs” of “intimacy” and “privacy” for some people in the midst of a chaotically colorful city and enriching our city’s unique culture, for good or bad.


a motel named Ligaya or “happiness” in Filipino. you might have some ideas as to what kind of happiness is being experienced here often

© The Urban Roamer