a classic dining ambience experience in the city

Can you imagine yourself having dinner in a centuries-old house which has preserved and dining in the midst of its furniture and other household items still intact in their old state? We get to read and hear places like these in travel shows and books that deal with places outside the country. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have a dining place like this here in our country, in a city such as Manila to be precise, where much of its old heritage have either disappeared or left to neglect.

It’s one of those (somewhat) best kept secrets in Manila’s San Miguel district, the place where some of the old rich of the city used to live. It used to be a house of that belonged to a gynecologist named Dr. Alejandro Legarda, his wife Ramona, and their four children, built in 1937 and is one of the few houses that stand today which employed the Art Deco style. Continue reading


the “other” mansions of the President

We all know that Malacañang is the house associated with the President of the Philippines, but who would have known that the President, or to be more specific, the Office of the President, maintains a number of other houses (some of them function today as guesthouses) around the area of the district of San Miguel in Manila?

The probably most renowned and has figured in the news recently is the Laperal Mansion or the Arlegui Guest House. Located along Arlegui St. just a few walks away from the Malacañang grounds itself, the closest among the houses to the Palace.


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Malacañang from outside the gates

For a place as powerful and rich in history as Malacañang, it is somehow frustrating how much limited access an ordinary citizen has in visiting this place. While the restrictions are understandable given the importance of securing the country’s seat of power, it would have been nice if perhaps there can be some occasions when at least some more leeway can be given for citizens to get to see a bit more of Malacañang and the treasures the Palace holds. Continue reading


Roamer at the Palace: A day at the Malacañang Museum (Part 2)

The second level of Kalayaan Hall by itself has a colorful history; it is just proper that this particular area holds a lot of memorabilia related to Malacañang’s history.


Probably the most important area in this level, and perhaps of the whole Kalayaan Hall as well, is the Quezon Room, which used to be the Executive Office of the President of the Philippines. First used by Manuel Quezon, (after whom the room was made) it was was where the President would hold formal and official business. (today, these functions being held at the Palace building itself) Continue reading


Roamer at the Palace: A day at the Malacañang Museum (Part 1)

It is a historic day for the Philippines as a new president in the person of Benigno Aquino III assumes the mantle of the country’s leadership. In the spirit of this momentous occasion, the Urban Roamer last week joined the “Power, Palace, and a Shot of Beer” tour of Mr. Ivan Man Dy which took me and some other guests mostly around Malacañang* Museum.

*note: according to Mr. Man Dy, Malacañang refers to the whole Palace grounds: the Palace building itself, Kalayaan, Mabini Halls, New Executive Building, and the park at the opposite end of the Pasig River while Malacañan (the spelling we see on TV during press conferences) refers strictly to the Palace building where the President does his day-to-day duties. Continue reading