Meralco’s Bright Christmas

Christmas Day and New Year’s Day may have passed, but until the feast of the Epiphany or the Three Kings, (though they’re not actually kings but Magi or Wise Men) it still is a good excuse to still celebrate the Christmas season. And if you are looking for a place to celebrate the last days of the Christmas season, then you may consider visiting the Meralco Complex along Ortigas Avenue and check out the Liwanag Park.

For all evenings during this Christmas season until January 19, the area surrounding the Meralco headquarters has been converted into this mini theme park of sorts that is illuminated with hundreds of multicolored bright lights. After all, it’s not called Liwanag Park for nothing. Continue reading


Library Roaming: The Ortigas Foundation Library

Part of being a possible volunteer for the Wikimedia Philippines’ Philippine Heritage Mapping project is the research work that needs to be done not only to gather information on the landmark you will be writing about in Wikipedia, but also finding the sources of such information that can be used as a solid foundation of sorts for that article in the sense that those sources that will be cited are reliable and thus, verifiable.

In the course of such research that I have been doing, I found myself visiting again a haunt that I sometimes visit during my student days, the Ortigas Foundation Library.

Ortigas Bldg

the Ortigas Foundation Library is located on the 2nd floor of the Ortigas Bldg. at the corner of Ortigas and Meralco Avenues.

2014-05-24 16.17.08 Continue reading


the food bazaars at Ortigas Center

It’s been a while since I wrote about Banchetto. And a lot have happened since then.

Foremost of which was the end of the Banchetto at the former Emerald Avenue on May 7, 2011, which according to one of the organizers, was a result of “collateral damage” between the area’s barangay government (Brgy. San Antonio in this case) and Ortigas Center.

For a time, the Banchetto Fridays were held near the Forum Robinsons Mall in Pioneer St. in Mandaluyong, where Banchetto has been holding an overnight food market every Wednesday and Thursday nights. Continue reading


that brewery named after a saint and a suburb

It was September 29, 1890, which happened to be the feast of St. Michael and the rest of the Archangels, when a fellow named Enrique Barretto y Ycaza opened up a brewery in the Manila suburb named after the aforementioned saint. With a royal grant from Spain, Enrique decided to name the brewery after that suburb where he has lived and worked. So began the history of Fabrica Cerveza de San Miguel, the brewery which would become the San Miguel Corporation we would know today.


The document which bore that royal grant had the old seal of Manila insigned with a crown above it. Seeing the significance of this seal, Enrique adopted it as the logo for his brewery, which is still seen today as the current corporate logo of the company. The seal is known as the escudo, which means shield; incidentally, it was also the name for once Spain’s old currency before the peseta and eventually the euro. Continue reading


Benvenutto al Banchetto!*

*Italian for “welcome to the banquet!”

Banquets are considered a way of life in the country, most especially in occasions like feasts, parties, or other celebrations. Celebrations that last throughout the day and, at times, last overnight. Then again, overnight banquets are a rare occurence themselves.

So who would have thought of a banquet being held throughout the night in a place as “dead at night” as a heart of a bustling business district. A banquet that is even being held overnight lasting to the morning at that. And it’s a weekly event to top that off.

This is the weekly Friday night-Saturday morning at the heart of Ortigas Center, in the middle of the street formerly known as Emerald Ave., (now renamed to F. Ortigas St.) aptly called “Banchetto” or banquet in Italian.



The tradition of the “Banchetto” is a fairly new one, having been held weekly since it was introduced around February 2007. While it was first conceived (and still is primarily geared) specifically to the night-shift employees of Ortigas Center, particularly those belonging to the outsourcing industry, its reputation has come to such a renown that it has attracted quite a number of people beyond its intended market. Suddenly, people who usually associate Friday night with partying at bars found an alternative venue to have fun. And also, midnight snacking all of the sudden has become less of a sin thanks to the Banchetto.




Being a feast in itself, the variety of food available there for consumption is staggering, whether it’s Filipino, American, Chinese, Japanese, Italian food, etc. Chances are there’s food there that will satisfy your palate. The prices are not that shabby as well.






This urban roamer recommends you check out the Banchetto at Ortigas Center on a Friday night and let your gastronomical desires be fulfilled and satisfied through the night.

P.S. And apparently, the guys behind Banchetto have their own site. So for more information, photos, and anything about Banchetto, you can also check out http://banchetto.multiply.com

and also my acknowledgements to Babelfish for the Italian I otherwise would not have been able to write.

© The Urban Roamer