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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The Art Museum at the GSIS Financial Center

October happens to be “Museum and Galleries Month.” In commemoration of this occasion, the Urban Roamer decided to pay a visit to one of the city’s more overlooked museums. And that says something considering the situation here currently that museums here aren’t placed high in the must-visit list among locals.


Today, we visit the GSIS Financial Center in the reclaimed area that is part of the CCP Complex in Pasay City, headquarters of the Government Service Insurance System, (GSIS) the social insurance institution catering to government employees. The building is actually a Marcos-era structure that was completed in 1985, but it was not fully utilized until 9 years later, when the GSIS finally moved in to the building to be its new headquarters.


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Blues in the city: The Roadhouse Manila Bay

The Urban Roamer must make a confession. I love blues music, the most un-mainstream as one can be as far as musical tastes are concerned. As it is, it is frustrating that this music does not have even a little exposure in the city’s pop-infested radio stations or in the downsized record bars. Yet, it is also remarkable and surprising to see the blues scene in the city enjoying a solid and steady presence thanks to the musicians who have the passion for this music as well as the bars that have been supportive enough to hold blues nights for these musicians to belt out their blues.


Then came in 2011 the opening of a bar and restaurant right across the SM Mall of Asia called The Roadhouse Manila Bay. Finally, the blues in the city has a home it can call its own. With its tagline “blues, bikes, rock, and booze,” this restaurant-bar proudly stands out as THE place where one can listen to the blues not just on one night a week but 7 nights a week, with some good old rock and roll music on the side to liven up the nights. Continue reading


Leveriza and the story of Pasay’s “development”

It was one sunny weekend sometime ago that I found myself in Pasay. I was about to go to the Mall of Asia but I figured out to do a quick little stroll around the inner Pasay area, particularly around the area of Leveriza Street.

Map picture


Leveriza is said to be named after one of the princesses who lived in the 16th century, around the time the Spaniards came to Manila, who of a kingdom that encompasses roughly much of today’s Pasay.



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a Palace made of Coconuts…mostly

Palaces come in different shapes and sizes so to speak. Then there’s the Coconut Palace. And yes, it does it exist in case you haven’t heard of one yet.



The palace first sprang to life as a pet project of then First Lady Imelda Marcos who wanted to showcase homegrown Filipino architecture at its finest. To do the job, she commissioned an architect named Francisco Mañosa to make her dream into a reality. Work began in 1978 and would be finished just in time for the visit to Manila of the then leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope John Paul II. Originally, the Coconut Palace was offered to be the guesthouse for the aforementioned pope, an offer which he would refuse. Eventually it did become a guesthouse for some visiting dignitaries like the Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi, or Hollywood celebrity friends of Imelda like George Hamilton and Brooke Shields. Continue reading