The metropolis hustles and bustles early morning as most of its residents rush to work hoping that they could get to work on time. Traffic slowly crawls along EDSA while the long lines getting onto an MRT crawls beside it. This same scenario recurs in the late afternoon as the sun sets in the Manila Bay horizon. We can expect that it would still be the same, and hoping that it won’t get worse, the next day.
Welcome to Explore Manila!
No matter how bad things may be in this bustling metropolis, we love Metro Manila. The rich colors and flavors of Metro Manila offsets the not-so-good side of it. And you have to admit that Metro Manila has a lot of interesting pockets that would definitely pique your curiosity. That is what we aim to discover with my project “Explore Manila!” We would like to give you a glimpse of what makes this metro a lovable place.
We were all exhilarated with the freebies that we were getting from our Pasig exploration. Talk about good timing! We came in at a time when Pasig City was gearing up for their annual festivities of its foundation that, at one point, we found ourselves aboard a horse-driven carriage being toured around the city town center, complete with police escorts. We looked and felt like VIP tourists at that time.
Pasig City is one of the oldest communities in Metro Manila. Prior to this city being a center of business and growth, Pasig started out along the banks of “Bitukang Manok” – a creek that also played a critical role during the Philippine Revolution. Most of the economics and history of the old Pasig was centered on “Bitukang Manok”.
At present, Pasig City has turned from a small community into one of the major business districts of Metro Manila.
Food Stop: Dimasalang Bakery
Our first stop is the oldest bakery in the city. The bakery opened its doors in 1919 under the ownership of Ambrosio Lozada. It adapted the name of our national hero’s pseudonym – Dimas-alang, which means “strong and always ready”. The bakery evolved to be part of Pasiguenos daily lives with its daily offerings of breads and pastries. Its bestsellers include pan de sal, bonete, aglipay, and the “di ko akalain”.
We had our own share of goodies when we visited the bakery and I also tried their turones which is a thin bread rolled and had fillings in it. I got chocolate and pineapple and it was good. A definite food stop when you find yourself in the old town of Pasig.
A short walk from Dimas-alang Bakery is a cenotaph honouring the great plebeian, Andres Bonifacio. The monument that stands near the town center of downtown Pasig is the only monument where you will find in the Philippines where our hero is on a horse.
Behind the cenotaph is a wall that bears the names of Katipuneros who participated in the “Nagsabado sa Pasig” – the first victory in the revolution.
This now dead creek was once the waterway where the town of Pasig once thrived. It was where the city roots its birth as this body of water was once the center for commerce of the old Pasig. It is also the mute witness to the fateful “Nagsabado sa Pasig” event where Katipuneros gathered for an uprising on August 29, 1896 against the Spanish forces. The event would later on be recognized as the first victory of the revolution.
Too bad though that with the development of the city, Bitukang Manok was reduced to what it is now – an old dirty creek.
The Pasig City Museum
The first time that I had a walking tour in the Pasig town center, I was not able to check out the Pasig City Museum as it was undergoing renovation. As luck were on our side during our exploration, we were able to check out the museum and got some VIP treatment in the process.
The Pasig City Museum is housed in the Concepcion Mansion, a heritage house at the heart of the old Pasig town. Built in 1937, the house not only served as the home of the prominent Concepcion family but was also used by the Japanese as a headquarters and detention center during World War 2. It was also where the American Flag was raised in 1945 signifying the liberation of Pasig from the Japanese. At present, the museum is a good stop if you want to learn more about Pasig City’s history and rich cultural heritage.
The museum walks you through the rich history of Pasig starting from the time of its early occupants along Bitukang Manok until its development into a city. Notably, they have a strong reference to “Nagsabado sa Pasig” event – the first victory during the revolution. The exhibit features a relief of the event and a narrative that eventually led to the victory of the Katipuneros.
The museum also houses the collection of artifacts and memorabilias of prominent Pasiguenos, outlining their numerous contributions to the rich history and culture of the city.
Just right in front of the Pasig City Museum, is an open space park dedicated to our Jose Rizal, the country’s national hero. The park is complete with park benches and it is a good area to actually just sit down and watch the town buzz around. The park is a good vantage point where you will get to see the town center in a 360 degree view.
Just right along the main street, you will find the markers dedicated to Jose Rizal and the great honor that Pasiguenos bestow unto him for his role in the country’s freedom against Spanish rule. It is also interesting to know that Pasig was once the designated capital of the province of Rizal. It was only in 1975 that Pasig became part of Metro Manila.
Bahay na Tisa
The Bahay na Tisa is the oldest “bahay na bato” in Pasig City. The house is called as such because its roof was originally made from tisa and was changed only into asbestos after it was damaged during the war.
The house was also known as the Freedom House during the Martial Law years as it was the venue of political meetings during that time. And apart from its political history, the house has religious significance for the city. The “Bahay na Tisa” opens its doors every Easter Sunday for the sick to visit the Sto. Nino de Pasion and receive communion.
Colegio del Buen Consejo
Jus within the town proper is another historical site recognized by the National Historical Institute – the Colegio del Buen Consejo. It is one of the oldest private schools in the city. It also served as a refuge for Pasiguenos during the World War 2 and was damaged during the liberation. It was rehabilitated in 1948.
The Pasig Cathedral is one of the oldest structures in the city. It was founded in 1573 and coincides with the establishment of Pasig as a town. It is also known as the Immaculate Concepcion Cathedral and it is the first Marian church in the country.
The church is a prominent structure in the old town of Pasig and, just like a sentinel. It has watched over the town for centuries and up to this day.
Pasig City Hall Complex
As I have previously mentioned in my previous blog, I was quite impressed with Pasig’s government complex because of the ease of access because of the overhead pathways from the town center to the city hall and then further on to the public market.
The city hall complex also has a lot of open air parks where locals and visitors can enjoy a lazy day. What really caught our attention was the Tanghalang Pasigueno, the city’s center for the culture and arts.
From our vantage point, I could actually see that the Caruncho Tower was also going through a facelift. I hope that this meant that the government is now focusing on making the tower useful for the city’s tourism. I hope that the tower will also be accessible to tourists and visitors soon.
Post Explore Notes:
I have to say that our Pasig exploration was one of the most exciting that we have done. It must have been our good timing as we came in at a time of festivities. The city government offered us free snacks and a kalesa ride around town, which was the one that got all of us excited. It was a great experience for all of us and it was nice to know that the city government of Pasig have also laid out plans to push the city’s tourism projects.
Marc del Rosario
I believe in education, entrepreneurship, and caring for the environment.