07/28/13

The Metropolis and its Capital Dreams: Part II

With the growth of Manila by the 1930s, as well as the congestion that came along with it, Manuel Quezon made it a priority upon his assumption of office as Philippine president of the self-governing Commonwealth government to establish a new capital city for a soon-to-be-independent state. There were a number of considerations that were factored in for a new capital like the available space for expansion and how the area can be not difficult to defend. (the previously Capitol area near Rizal Park was susceptible to attacks from possible naval attacks at Manila Bay)

Pres, Manuel Quezon

While there were other locations considered like Baguio (which was the country’s summer capital) and Tagaytay. It was decided that the new national capital will be built right outside Manila, eventually buying what was then a large tract of land owned by the landed Tuason family called the Diliman Estate. The foundations of the future capital city were first laid in 1938 when a portion of the estate was allotted for housing of government workers and others in the labor force known as “Barrio Obrero” (Workers Village) in what is now present-day Kamuning. In addition, additional land was purchased to form the nucleus of the defense center of the new capital. The land would become the site of Camp Murphy, which was eventually divided into what are now Camps Crame (headquarters of the Philippine Constabulary, now the Philippine National Police) and Aguinaldo. (headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines) Continue reading

05/26/13

Of eggs and nuns: the Real Monasterio de Santa Clara

The rainy season is upon us and it would be inevitable to see some pious Catholics make their way to this particular corner near the intersection of Aurora Boulevard and Katipunan Avenue (part of the C-5 road network) Considering the area’s proximity to the commercial districts of Eastwood City and Cubao, not to mention the educational-commercial “district” of Katipunan Avenue, it is surprising that the place itself is a quiet neighborhood…quiet enough for a monastery like the Real Monasterio de Sta. Clara de Manila to be there.

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But this one is not just any monastery where devout Catholics go to pray for good weather or some other intercession, It is a monastery which a long and rich history to tell. Continue reading

10/27/12

The Mercatos of the Metro

There are a number of food/weekend markets out there in the metro these days. Some may say this growing presence is bordering on oversaturation, while others do not seem to mind that. Especially if they have something different to offer for a discriminating palate.

Then there are a few that stand out thanks to longevity and loyal patronage among a growing fanbase. Out of that few, there are those that have stood up well enough to establish by itself a growing network of food markets in the metropolis. Such is the success story of Mercato Centrale. Continue reading

10/6/12

The “IT hub” in Gilmore Avenue

The New Manila of the old, as was noted before, was mostly a residential enclave among the upper and middle class families. Whatever commercial activity there was in the area in those days were minimal and did not do much to alter the landscape of the neighborhood.

But in recent years, commercial activity in the area began to spike. Partly contributing to the commercial development is the influx of a new industry: the computer retailers that set businesses left and right mostly concentrated along that patch of road called Gilmore Avenue.*

Gilmore IT hub

the Gilmore IT hub area, which encompasses this stretch of Gilmore Avenue and adjacent roads

*Interestingly, Gilmore Avenue was named after a person who had nothing to do with technology matters. It was named after an official during the American colonial period named Eugene Allen Gilmore, who served twice as acting governor general during the late 1920’s. Continue reading

09/28/12

The residences of New Manila

During the American colonial period in the Philippines, particularly during the 1920’s-1930’s, the country’s capital city Manila was experiencing unprecedented progress and commercial expansion. Along with it came the creeping problems brought about by such progress, though back then, they were as grave as they are today.

New Manila

Quezon City’s New Manila district roughly encompasses the barangays of Mariana, Valencia, Damayang Lagi, Kristong Hari, Kalusugan, and portion of Kaunlaran, the residential enclave centered in the barangays of Mariana (where most of the houses featured here are located) and Valencia

For Manila’s upper and middle class families, these changes brought out much stress that they consider moving to Manila’s outskirts or suburbs instead. This was not left unnoticed by the property developers of the time as they scrambled to develop what was then a vast wilderness found a few kilometers outside the city limits.

Continue reading