There’s no question that my heart is always in Manila, to some people it’s this filthy city of decay with a bleak future. Some would go to the beach or climb a mountain to alleviate the stress from work and life, but not me, I just need to travel 12 Kilometers away, and once I hit cross that bridge to Manila, I am home.
The past few weeks has really been cruel, stress, and a visit to the hospital because of flu, I wasn’t functional – I needed clean the gauges, oil the machine up my tired ass. Good thing there was something happening in Escolta – Manila’s former shopping street where all of life’s luxuries could be found until urban decay and businesses switched to Makati where the street eventually died.
Being stressed, I decided to tag along my friend who was also going to Escolta’s Saturday Market to snap up some photos, that was the chance and so I grabbed it, I badly needed Manila.
It was around 4 in the afternoon by the time we got there, I showed my friend around, telling him all about the arcades the buildings used to have and how each one of them had a distinct character unlike today’s buildings.
Back in college, which was about a decade ago, I strolled the street and only found empty buildings and old shops, informal settlers, it was depressing. I was really sad that day, it was frustrating, it was a ghost town.
But during the past 3 years, Manila is having a cultural revolution, efforts have been made to restore old buildings and preserve some of the significant structures in the area.
The Escolta Saturday Market is a great help of having people pass by Escolta, I’m seeing more businesses open, although small ones, it’s still a good sign. One of my favorite bars in Quezon City opted to open up a branch beside the Market.
You’ll find all sorts of indie stuff in Escolta, and if you’re lucky, there will be some antique sellers too and some guest musicians to play through the day, it’s quite an experience and it’s also a place of comfort where you can really have some quiet time in the city as few cars pass by Escolta today. Have a beer or coffee, meet up with your friends – Escolta is not dead and you’ll want to have a piece of it.
Not only is Escolta a nice quiet street in the heart of Manila, it’s also close to Binondo where after going to the market, don’t miss Binondo’s excellent food, it’s a morale booster, after we ate at our favorite dumpling and noodle place, we were almost on a high – it’s that good.
I do hope that this cultural revolution isn’t a hype, I do hope it progresses for many years to come, because I’ve been dying to see my beloved city sprawl to life once again, but as of now, there’s a pulse, and I’ll take a pulse anyday rather than a dead beat.