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A walk through the Tiger City
Source: Manila Bulletin
Date: 2010-12-04
Whenever one finds himself heading off to Mandaluyong, he would be asked this question: “Sa labas o sa loob?” This is because the Mental Hospital and the Women’s Correctional are located in this city.

But contrary to popular belief that Mandaluyong is as crazy as a city can get because of its infamous landmarks, there’s more to the “Tiger City of the Philippines” than meets the eye.

Located in the heart of Metro Manila, Mandaluyong City is bordered on the west by the country’s capital, Manila, on the north by San Juan City, on the east by Quezon City and Pasig City, and on the south by Makati City.

There are different legends that explains how Mandaluyong came to be. One tale narrates that the name Mandaluyong came from a kind of tree, called luyong, which was thriving in the area during the early days. These trees were usually used to make beautiful home furniture.

Another says that the name came from the big waves from the sea that lashed the rolling hills in the area, which was locally called daluyong. So, whenever they were asked what the place was called, the locals would reply “Madaluyong.” Later, the Spanish scholars affixed an “n” to the word to create Mandaluyong.

For the romantics at heart, they like the legend about the lovers Manda and Luyong. According to the story, Luyong, a maharlika, fell in love with Manda, the beautiful daughter of the barangay chieftain. But the chieftain didn’t like Luyong and even forbade his daughter to marry him. But Luyong’s love for Manda prevailed when he won in a tribal competition. When the couple got married, they settled in a place which was named after them.

Through the years, Mandaluyong evolved from being just plain rolling hills to one of the most progressive economic centers in the country as evidenced by the mushrooming business areas and industrial growth along its thoroughfares. Many establishments and businesses have also capitalized on its ideal geographical location.


Mandaluyong has become a cornucopia of hotels, banks, condominiums and housing businesses, and retail establishments, among others. Its remarkable rate of development since the early 1980s established the city as one of the most advanced business hubs in the Philippines; hence, the nickname “Tiger City of the Philippines.”

While industrial businesses are mostly concentrated within the EDSA-Shaw-Pioneer area and along Pasig River, Mandaluyong’s bustling commercial activities are centered along the stretch of Boni Avenue, Shaw Boulevard, Libertad-Sierra Madre area, Kalentong, San Francisco, part of Martinez, Sgt. Bumatay towards Barangka Drive and Pinatubo leading towards EDSA.

Also dubbed as the “Shopping Mall Capital of the Philippines,” this city houses several shopping and entertainment hubs, including one of the biggest shopping malls in Asia, SM Megamall, as well as the upscale malls, The Podium and the Shangri-La Plaza. There are also Star Mall along Shaw Boulevard, the Edsa Central near the MRT station, and the St. Francis Square.


Aside from these commercial establishments, Mandaluyong has its share of cultural and historical landmarks that will delight local and foreign tourists alike.

Take an artistic delight in the various art galleries and museums located in Mandaluyong such as Crucible Gallery, The Big & Small Gallery, and Renaissance Gallery in SM Megamall, as well as Pietro Gallery and Metropolitan Gallery in Shangri-La Plaza.

Mandaluyong is a museum in itself. It has several monuments and sculptural works by known Filipino artists. In the Maysilo Circle is the Bantayog ng Kabataan, a monument which signifies the right guidance to the youth so we can inspire them to do their best to have a better future.

Across the circle is the Dambana ng mga Alaala, located at the City Hall Complex, which was built to honor the gallant sons and daughters of Mandaluyong who fought bravely for liberation and freedom from oppression.

Barangay Hagdang Bato Itaas houses the Plaza ng Tatlong Bayani where a monument was built to honor the three heroes of the Philippine Revolution circa 1896, Laureano Gonzales and Vicente “General Kalentong” Leyva , both from Mandaluyong, and Andres Bonifacio, founder of the Katipunan.


Within its territory lie the various dining establishments serving local fare and international cuisine. Other than the popular dining places that abound in the metro, Mandaluyong has several hole-in-the wall dining places that are the city’s best kept secrets.

One of them is Tonang’s Pancit Palabok. Located in Rev. Aglipay Street, the eatery started as a meryendahan by Lola Tonang in 1945. That time, she would sell banana que, camote que, and other snack items in front of their house to augment the family income.

Later, when the customers clamored for other treats, she started selling pancit palabok, dinuguan, and lumpia. And soon, her meryenda meals became a hit and started to make a name that people from other barangays began to frequent her eatery.

In 1979, her daughter-in-law Dolores inherited Aling Tonang’s. From a mere kubo, Aling Dolores renovated the place into a dine-in place. But the food remained the same, even the recipes for the pancit palabok and dinuguan haven’t changed. Aling Dolores later passed on the recipes to her son Victor and his wife, who both manage Tonang’s today.

A pilot by profession, Victor took up culinary studies when he inherited the eatery. He added new dishes to their menu which include favorite Filipino dishes such as bopis, menudo, beef caldereta, kare-kare, and other popular viands. But still, the bulk of their customers always come back for their pancit. In fact, they can sell 10 to 50 bilaos daily, depending on how busy the day is.

Asked what makes their palabok different, Victor says: “We don’t use artificial seasoning and no substitution in the ingredients. ‘Yung tinapa, talagang hinihimay. Dinidikdik talaga ‘yung chicharon ng mano-mano. May halong pagmamahal talaga kasi mahirap gawin. Kailangan tama ‘yung timpla. Kapag nabago ang dami ng sangkap, iba na ang lasa.”


As early as September, residents of Mandaluyong can already feel and smell the Christmas spirit as the aroma of freshly cooked bibingka and puto bumbong wafts through the air.

Along Boni Avenue corner Paraiso Street in Brgy. Poblacion, near the San Felipe Neri Church, there are about 15 stalls selling puto bumbong and bibingka. Eddie Ombrog, 33, shares that these stalls have been in this corner as far as he can remember.

Every Christmas season, his mother Alice would head to this corner, with Eddie and his three siblings in tow. She would set up her small stalls, light the charcoal in the lutuang uling, and start mixing the galapong rice-sugar-and milk mixture.

When her mother was quite too old to sell bibingka, Eddie took over the business. He opens his stall from 3 p.m. to 12 midnight. But during Simbang Gabi, the stall would be open until 7 a.m.

At the break of dawn, Eddie would already be up and ready to head to the market and buy the ingredients for the puto bumbong and bibingka, as well as other things he needs such as dahon ng saging.

When he arrives home, he would soak the rice in water, and grind it in the afternoon. After that, he would mix it with the rest of the ingredients, and then head to the stall to start his day.

During his busiest day, he could sell about 20 to 30 kilos of puto bumbong and bibingka (one kilo is equivalent to 20 puto bumbong), and earn at least P12,000. During the low days, he could earn a mere P4,000, just enough to pay the wages of the people working for him.

[ Mandaluyong City Wiki ]

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