Manila Metropolitan Theater

Posted on November 2, 2008

Aboard the LRT before the train crosses the Pasig River, you won’t miss it: a lonesome structure with curious detailing on the busy intersection of Padre Burgos Street and Quezon Boulevard, once the “Grand Dame” of theater during the heydays of Manila before the Second World War. Meet the “Met”, the Manila Metropolitan Theater.  Designed in 1931 by architect Juan Arellano (1888-1960), this abandoned building is a prime example of Filipinized Art Deco, the geometric and decorative architectural style thatRead More

Arroceros Forest Park

Posted on November 1, 2008

Beneath the soothing shade of century-old rubber trees, you can feel the damp air rise from the tree-stump fungi and rich humus where black ants, millipedes and snails went about their business on their own pace. Sparrows and bulbuls flitter past pink frangipani and bright palm fronds. For a few seconds you felt far away from the city, until you hear LRT cars rumble overhead and see tugboats shuttle through the river, transporting you back to where you actually are:Read More

Carcar: Heritage City of Cebu

Posted on October 21, 2008

A drive down the southeastern coast of Cebu offers relaxing views of mangrove beaches, arching roadside acacias and, most remarkably, beautiful colonial architecture… Carcar City–the newest city in Cebu–is one of its oldest towns. This gateway to the south derived its name from tree-climbing ferns called “kabkab” that once marked the crossroad to other towns. Known for its booming shoemaking industry (home to the uncredited largest shoe in the world) and mouth-watering delicacies like lechon baboy (roasted pig), chicharon (porkRead More

Fort San Pedro

Posted on October 21, 2008

I remember, during my elementary school years, a popular field trip destination was Fort San Pedro, the oldest, smallest and one of the best preserved Spanish fortresses in the Philippines. Located in Plaza Independencia within Cebu City’s pier area, this triangular military outpost was originally built in 1565– the beginning of Spanish colonization in the archipelago–with logs and muddy earth to protect conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and his men from violent attacks by native Cebuanos and Muslim pirates. The fort was named after Legaspi’sRead More

The Labyrinth Called Manila

Posted on October 19, 2008

This article was first published in the premiere issue of ROAM, a Manila-based magazine for alternative travel and outdoor enthusiasts.  While the mere thought of skipping leisurely through Old Manila’s thoroughfares might seem daunting or perhaps even frightening to the uninitiated, such an experience provides an invaluable insight into the history, culture and culinary landscape of one of the most vibrant capitals in the world. (Well, the 69th in Lonely Planet’s The Cities Book. Still not bad, out of 200).   The grind ofRead More

Fuente Osmeña

Posted on September 29, 2008

Built in honor of Cebu’s “Grand Old Man”, Sergio Osmeña–the fourth president of the Commonwealth of the Philippines– and to commemorate the city’s first waterworks system, Fuente Osmeña is a fountain rotunda where major thoroughfares converge: Gen. Maxilom Avenue (aka Mango Avenue), Osmeña Boulevard (aka Jones Avenue, towards downtown) and B. Rodriguez Street. The oval was built in 1912. Since the 1980s, this was where anti-Marcos and other political demonstrations were held. Before malls became popular in the mid-1990s, manyRead More