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Capital Region (Part IV)
Source: Manila Bulletin
Author: None
Date: 2001-12-15
Rajah Soliman, married to a Sumatran princess during his reign, had 2 offsprings, Princess Pasay and Prince Sowaboy, between whom the Rajah divided his realm. Upon Rajah’s death, children took over with a part belonging to Princess Pasay. In time, area of Pasay grew to a highly urbanized city, with population of almost half million. Edsa, Roxas, South Superhighway, Domestic, Airport roads, Harrison, Libertad, Leveriza, Dart, Taft, Buendia, St. Andrew,

other avenues and streets cut and slice through city, where heavy traffic clog streets daily. Transport is mainly jeepneys, buses, cars, cabs, parts of Metrostar and light rail transit systems. Pasay City, entertainment center of capital region, offers fine diners restaurants, coffeeshops, supper clubs, bars, pubs, along rich neon lighted Roxas blvd, side back streets and alleys. City is center for conventions and cultural events. Pres. Marcos boldly reclaimed a big part of Manila bay from the sea, expanding priceless real estate along the blvd into busy tourist areas alive with folks. Several modern tall buildings have risen from where the bayshore was once, framing new skylines along bay and famous sunsets. International conventions, seminars, meetings, and even sports, as world’s chess tournament, with world’s grandmasters as Kasparov, Kramnik and others, concerts by tenors as Pavarotti, Carreras and local artists once performed at Phil. Imt’l Convention, Cultural, and Folk Arts Centers.

Phil. Center and Trade Exhibits and World Trade Centers and showcase local products made from native materials and labor, for sale and export to global buyers. Coconut Palace, named after versatile, valuable and beautiful coconut tree, is a unique gathering hub for weddings, birthdays and social affairs, boasts of a park with plaza ambience along a bay. Museum of Ethnology, at Nayong Pilipino’s one of several museums, display tribal cultural ethos, vignettes, and ancient relics. Shopping centers abound as Nayong Pilipino, Cartimar, Duty Free Phil., museum and antique shops, auction homes and other ceramics, gift and jewelry shops. Senate bldg. stands sprawling on reclaimed area. High-rise, 5-star hotel buildings as Grand Boulevard, Trader’s, Hyatt, Aloha, Westin Phil. Plaza are among fine hotels that serve world-class facilities to local and foreign tourists. Philippine Plaza, recently renovated, as Manila Hotel, has lush garden promenades along the edge of a bay, where one can enjoy evening breeze along cool garden walks around a swimming pool. Tycoon Henry Sy is developing from another reclaimed area, a community trade center, starting with completion of Church of Infant Jesus, where church services and weddings are regularly held, away from traffic. Wide roads and lighted avenues spring up from what once was seawater. Shopping malls as Harrison Plaza, a new renovated Rizal coliseum at Taft ave. and nearby sports fields add hustle to place. Baclaran where devotees flock to Church on Wednesday evenings, is synonymous with bargain hunting for dry goods and imported items at lower prices, good eating and dining places. Old corridors leading to airports are crowded with commercial edifices as banks, fast becoming a financial row, with business overflow all the way to Moonwalk and La Huerta, a popular old market. Religious feasts are celebrated in style as Feast of Resurreccion, Santacruzan, Sunduan in May, and St. Andrew’s feast complete with a carnival. A theatrical play “Komedya” about conflicts of Christians and Muslims, and brotherhood at the end, dates back to Spanish era. The festival Mardigras, called Symballic, array huge crowds in attractive costumes and fill streets with gaiety.

Parañaque, formerly called “palanyag” is near the sea. An old tale goes, that, once a Spaniard, driving around in a rig upon reaching his destination, ordered rig driver to “para aqui”, meaning “stop here”. Driver related the story to a friend who in turn, explained that the foreigner meant for him to stop at the spot. “Para, aniya, aqui” he said pointing to spot south of Luneta. Rice planting, weaving, shoemaking, and salt-making with solar heat, seawater, evaporated into crystallized salt from brine concentrate, salt beds are native livelihoods. Protected from dust, salt beds are surrounded by bamboo fences, nipa and cogon grass. At end day, at sundown, salt is raked into a heap and collected. On Wednesdays, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, at Redemptorist Church, one of the bigger churches in Asia, fill up for devotion to our Lady. St. Andrew’s Church an old religious edifice dates back to 16th century and served as formidable defense against pirate attacks. Parañaque Methodist Episcopal Church, is first evangelical church built south of Manila where WWII planes accidentally dropped bombs killing 77 persons in worship, hence was renamed Martyrs Memorial Methodist. Busy Aquino Int’l Airport and the domestic airport with passenger terminals, jet runways, and other facilities take a big land of the city. While airport facilities were expanded, traffic clogged roads to airport, sadly, have not been built. Airport parking space is extremely limited, given volume of traffic, and modern parking garage buildings are needed. Suggestions to share airline traffic with new Macapagal Int’l Airport in Clark makes common sense. PAGCOR Casino Filipino lure many local and foreign players, out for good time, to multi-colored cavernous halls lined with slot machines and gaming tables, as bands dish out good music to entertain players a la Las Vegas.

San Juan, hometown of Pres. Estrada, used to be a quiet town, until Katipunan as founded. In 1896, Bonifacio attacked power depot there, triggering “Battle of Pinaglabanan”. A year after, the first shot was fired in San Juan bridge, which sparked Phil-American War. Historical spots are the Pinaglabanan Shrine, St. John the Baptist Parish church, and San Juan elementary school, where “El Polvoron”, a Spanish ammunition dump, was seized by Bonifacio, Jacinto and Valenzuela, and started the revolution. An old convent of Kabayanan and Sanctuario de Santo Cristo Church, built in 1601, was burned during Chinese uprising in 1541. When a new church was set up, British forces burned it down, In 1774, old church was again rebuilt and it became the Katipunero refuge in 1898. Club Filipino, where after EDSA revolt, Pres. Aquino was sworn in by Chief Justice Teehankee is located here. Festivals are Fiesta of the Holy Cross, Feast of St. John the Baptist. Battle of Pinaglabanan, First Shot at San Juan Bridge, and others. Greenhills used to be swampy area, where in the 60’s, land cost about R50 per sq.m. evolved into a busy upscale commercial residential area with construction of Virra Mall, the first suburban shopping center in the region, an idea that caught on fast. Greenhills residential area is a popular, high-priced subdivision, where land is now about R40,000 per sq.m. Tall buildings and skyscrapers now surround the shopping center, along Annapolis road, as high-rise condos, OB Montessori, apartments and offices. At night, Greenhills lights up with colorful neon lights and signs, and Annapolis rd. becomes a joint for teenagers and the young with fine dining, disco pubs, karaoke bars and plain malling. Along Ortigas ave., at junction of EDSA, Pres. Aquino built the first clover leaf flyover in the country that connects with shopping centers, in Ortigas, increasing the nation’s confidence in Pres. Aquino’s infrastructure capability as a first woman President, as many still doubt the ability of women in building and infrastructures. Cardinal Santos hospital, owned by Lucio Tan, provided modern medical care and expertise to patients from all over the country.

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