10/20/14

The Saga of the (Victory) Lacson Underpass

It’s interesting to note that Metro Manila has more pedestrian overpasses (or footbridges as they are popularly called these days) than pedestrian underpasses. Maybe it’s partly because of concerns of flooding as parts of the metropolis are flood-prone areas, which also is a factor as to why there is yet to be a true subway system in the metropolis. (no, the partly underground Lines 2 and 3 do not count)

This entry today talks about one of these few pedestrian underground networks in the country, the Quiapo underpass network known today as the Lacson Underpass, the first such network to be built in the City of Manila and in the metropolis and the country as a whole.

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07/9/14

Reviving Quiapo’s Heritage: The Story of the Padilla House

It has often been stressed here and in other sites that Manila’s Quiapo district is like a diamond in the mud. There are so many beauty to be discovered in the midst of the urban decay which sadly permeates this part of the city. Nevertheless, there are some reasons to be hopeful for Quiapo, with the presence of preserved landmarks like the Bahay Nakpil-Bautista, the ongoing efforts to restore Kasa Boix, and a revived heritage structure which the Urban Roamer will be writing about today, the Padilla House.

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03/26/14

Kasa Boix: Restoration in Progress

Throughout the more than 4-year history of the Urban Roamer, we have been all to familiar with the sad fate that befell much of the city’s heritage due to rapid and unchecked urbanization in recent years. For us who have come to appreciate the ciyt’s glorious past, it is heartbreaking to learn much of this heritage have either disappeared or in danger of being lost forever; unfortunately it is a trend that will most likely continue as long as there are people who are unaware or do not care about the importance of these heritage structures.

Fortunately, there are still bright spots to this gloomy situation, like the story the Urban Roamer is proud to feature today: the Kasa Boix in Quiapo, Manila.

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11/30/13

Quiapo’s home of heroes: the Bahay Nakpil-Bautista

On the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio, one of the country’s foremost heroes, the founder of the Kataastaasang, Kagalang-galang na Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan or Katipunan, the secret organization that lit the fire that was the Philippine Revolution in 1896, the Urban Roamer visits a heritage house that has a connection to this renowned figure.

For many people, Quiapo is the epitome of Manila’s urban madness: the “chaos” of people and vehicles on its streets and the commerce that goes by that place each day. That particular madness has brought both good and ill to this bustling district that has long had a rich, colorful heritage. Sadly, rapid urbanization has negatively affected Quiapo’s heritage that many heritage structures in this district have either disappeared completely or fallen into utter neglect.

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In the midst of all this, one particular house has managed to weather the storms brought by urbanization and become one of the few bright spots in this congested district as a symbol of hope for the city’s renewal. But this is not just some old house but it has a rich history embedded in its roots thanks to the people who have lived here in this house we now know as the Bahay Nakpil-Bautista.

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08/11/13

Quiapo and its Golden Mosque

On the occasion of the recent Muslim holiday of Eid’l Fit’r, I decided to take a break from my “Capital Dream” series to write this longstanding article

Apart from the Basilica of the Black Nazarene, Quiapo is also well-known for another religious structure that has become an area and city landmark as a whole. Of course, I am talking here of none other than the Masjid Al-Dahab or the Golden Mosque, purportedly the largest mosque located in the metropolis.

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The mosque was originally built in 1976 as a project of then First Lady Imelda Marcos in time for a planned visit by the leader of Libya back then, Muammar Gadhafi. (or whatever his surname is spelled) Unfortunately, the Gadhafi visit did not push through for some reason. Nevertheless, the mosque remained as the symbol of the city’s thriving Muslim community, many of whom belonging to various ethno-linguistic groups like the Maranaos, Tausugs, and Maguindanaons. Continue reading