• City of Manila

    Santa Mesa’s “university town”: the PUP Mabini Campus (Part 1)

    October 17 marks the anniversary of the country’s most highly populated university, the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) which was first established in 1904 by the American colonial government as the Manila Business School. While the university is a network itself of campuses located around Metro Manila and elsewhere in the country, PUP will always be associated more with its main campus located in Santa Mesa, Manila. (somewhat in the same manner as Diliman is to the University of the Philippines) Santa Mesa’s association with the university began in the 1960’s when , in particular the area along the north bank of the Pasig River near the intersection of…

  • City of Manila

    Coming Soon: The Illumina Residences

    In this part of the city where I live, there has not been much high-rise developments here. After all, Santa Mesa’s environment is considered more of the “suburban” type, an environment which usually is spared from infiltration of high-rise structures. But as land becomes more scarce in this dense metropolis, developers are looking at every vacant piece of property available as a possible real estate development opportunity. Whether they turn out to be a hit or a dud is another story altogether.

  • City of Manila

    remembering Water Fun Sta. Mesa

    It was a hot and humid day in late October when the Urban Roamer decided to take a walk, passing along the GSIS Metrohomes. Completed and started to be occupied by the early 1990’s, the GSIS Metrohomes were first conceived as low-cost housing solution. The buildings speak for themselves on that aspect, though they may have seen better days. One could not help notice the faded paint and be distracted by the  sight of clothes being hanged outside the windows. (is there anyone who does some checking for the buildings’ maintenance in the first place?) If there was one thing that made up for the project’s shortcomings, back then it…

  • City of Manila

    Bacood untied

    Situated along the banks of the rivers Pasig and San Juan, quite removed from the busy and traffic-laden streets of Manila’s Santa Mesa district is a community (more like a subdistrict or a sitio of sorts) known as Bacood. Bacood’s name comes from the Tagalog word “bakood” which would mean either an elevated area or a cane plantation. It has been said that the area back then served as a plantation for various crops. But in the early days, Bacood was known as Cordeleria, a Spanish term for a shop that sells ropes. This was because the place back then was the center of rope-making and selling activity in Manila…