Metro Manila is shimmering with the season with all the Christmas lights in the different streets of the metro. Venues are all booked with the left and right parties happening. Flea Markets are abuzz with activity with everyone trying to complete their Christmas shopping list.
But through all this jolly activities, traffic gets really nasty and you will see people complaining about how horrendous Metro Manila traffic during the holidays. A usual 45-minute trip can turn to a three-hour trip that will have you cursing and blasting your head off.
This is all part of the frenzy of Metro Manila and don’t we all hate it. But behind all the complaints, we love the metro. We love the life and the color that it brings to everyone and that is what I wanted to discover when I thought about the “Explore Manila!” project.
Located along the western shores of Laguna de Bay, Taguig City surprised us during the time of our exploration. We have always associated Taguig with the posh BGC but Taguig has a rural face that we discovered – one that I enjoyed. It has the upbeat vibe of malls and nightlife running parallel with the bucolic vibe of its communities along the shores of Laguna de Bay.
Let me surprise you as we explore Taguig!
Taguig’s Urban Community: Bonifacio Global City
Known as the city of passionate minds, anyone can definitely fall in love with BGC. It is more than just a bustling business district as it has managed to incorporate learnings and arts in its city design. It has also been a venue of art festivals and has strongly supported artists by making their open spaces serve as a huge canvass for the artists.
The mall redefines shopping with its huge open spaces alongside its high-end brand stores. It is like walking in a park while doing your shopping. The mall exudes the element of relaxation and fun in shopping and dining venue. It is definitely one of a kind.
Interestingly, High Street is also an artists’ venue for expression. The mid-section of the mall is a huge space where they feature sculptures of different Filipino artists. The most notable of which is “Specific Gravity” – a sculpture that has a huge rock that seems suspended in air. The fountain, created by Reg Yuson, is an attraction in itself and gives the viewer an impression of defying gravity.
Another interesting spot to check out at High Street are the street art by different artists. Street art is one form of arts that you get to enjoy all throughout Bonifacio Global City. The mall is not an exception and it is a great activity for peers and family to hunt for these street artworks along High Street’s Walls.
Bonifacio Global City Sculptures and Street Art
If you have a day to spare at Global City, you can try walking along its streets and appreciate its various sculptures and street arts by great and upcoming artists. Every block seems to have something artsy to show off which makes BGC a haven for those who want to see contemporary art fused with the cityscape.
Located along the 32nd street is a sculpture that honors the man behind the name of BGC – Andres Bonifacio. The three-piece sculpture honors the man behind the Katipunan, his wife, and the Katipuneros who fought for Philippine Independence.
Just two blocks away is another sculpture that was aptly called “The Trees”. It sits at the center of a rotunda near Burgos Circle. The artist used trees as his element to show how humans and its environment intertwine. It shows the beneficial relationship of man and his environment.
Further down the road is the “Pasasalamat” – an artwork by Ferdinand Cacnio. The sculpture puts value on the thanksgiving of fishermen on their bountiful harvest.
Interestingly, BGC was also the proud venue of street art exhibits and allowed the use of its walls for self-expression for upcoming artists. I was amazed by the “Spaceman” that was wall painted in one of its buildings
On the other side of Global City is another hotspot known to many as Burgos Circle. It is a place known as a dining and entertainment spot in Taguig. But the place is more than just a party spot. It also boasts of creative expressions of architecture and designs. You can check out its circular staircase where you can get to see symmetry in its creative form or the plant lollies in one of the driveways of its posh condominium in the area.
Manila American Cemetery
Located in Fort Bonifacio, this 62-hectare lot is the final resting place of 17, 206 World War 2 heroes. The rows of neatly arranged marble crosses are a sight to behold amidst the sea of green that is refreshing to the eye. At the center of the cemetery is a memorial chapel and a complex where the names of those interred are carved on marble walls. It also holds a mosaic map which illustrates the action lead by the Americans in the Pacific and the Orient.
The place exudes peace and tranquillity. It is a nice place where you can spend time with yourself and to just enjoy the peace and quiet it offers. I like the silence that it offers in contrast to the city buzzing around it. It is a place where you can find silence in the midst of nature and spirits.
Archdiocesan of Sta. Ana
Founded in 1587, the St. Anne Parish Church in Taguig is one of the old churches in Metro Manila. The current structure was built in 1883 and has seen history unfold on its doorsteps. The most brutal of which was the incarceration of hundreds of Taguig male residents by Japanese forces during World War 2.
The church’s simple exterior of the church has the image of St. Anne guarding the church. The belfry stands out majestically along Taguig’s skyline. The three-story belfry is one of the main highlights of the church. The images of Filipino saints can also be seen around the church’s courtyard on its sides.
The interior’s highlight is the gold-colored retablo of the church. The simple interiors highlights the church’s altar as its grand design stands out.
Just right beside the church is the convent and the museum. Unfortunately, the museum was closed during our visit as it was undergoing renovation. We got to explore some parts of the convent and we saw old paintings of Taguig’s interesting spots. One can also enjoy images of saints and Jesus Christ on the cross that adorn the walls of the convent.
Just right across St. Anne Parish Church is Plaza Quezon – a small open park dedicated to President Manuel L. Quezon. The park has the image of the former president as its main highlight at the center of the park. Interestingly, it is the only park that was erected while President Quezon was still in office that honors him.
The park serves as the venue for events during the “Buwan ng Wika” every August.
At the center of the Sta. Ana Public Cemetery is a small chapel that has also withstood the test of time – the Simborio. It was erected in the 1700s through forced labor by the Spanish friars and has been the centrepiece of the cemetery. Much have changed in its surroundings but the Simborio was preserved by the local government. The edifice has its own unique charm and it reminded me of Paco Park.
Unfortunately, a lot still needs to be done to preserve the Simborio. Graffiti on its walls have desecrated the value of the Simborio. I guess residents in the area have not grasped fully the importance of the Simborio as a heritage site.
Taguig City Hall and Bantayog ng Bayani
A 15-minute walk through the maze of houses and sidestreets in Sta. Ana will bring you to the seat of governance of Taguig. The Taguig City Hall sits at the heart of this city. The modern structure houses most of the government offices that render the basic services to its locals.
At the front of is a huge park where a simple monument was erected for Taguig’s World War 2 heroes.
Dambanang Kawayan is one church that really caught my attention because of its simplicity and its unique design. It is one of those churches who looked plain on the outside but was magnificent inside. Located in Ligid-Tipas, Dambanang Kawayan is a century-old church that was established in 1573 and was also a mute witness to the brutality of World War 2.
The simple façade of the church is a contrast to the beauty of the church’s interiors. The church is very Filipino because it imbibed the homey feel of the bahay-kubo as it used bamboo as its main element for its interiors. From its flooring to its altar, the use of bamboo was very evident. The altar has the crucifix as its centrepiece.
I would have to say that Dambanang Kawayan is a must visit when you are in Taguig.
Bantayog ng mga Bayani ng Tipas / Plaza Bonifacio
Just right across Dambanang Kawayan is an open space to which I think was initially intended to be a plaza but was later turned into a parking lot. On this lot stand two monuments of sort – one that honors Andres Bonifacio and one that honors the heroes of Tipas.
Bordering the park is an arch where an image of Gat Andres Bonifacio was installed. Too bad though was that the arch was not maintained and the missing letters and “bolo” of Andres Bonifacio shows the years of neglect.
On one side is another side is a small monument that honors the brave men of Tipas who fought against the Japanese forces. Again, one could hardly notice since the space was already converted to a parking space and the view of monument is blocked by cars.
We have been on the road for about 45 minutes and yet we still have not seen the Napindan Parola. We hired a jeepney from Tipas to find the parola at the mouth of Pasig River. We were not ready to quit and asking around was futile as none of the locals really know where it is.
What makes the Napindan Parola special?
The Napindan Lighthouse witnessed the birth of the 1896 Philippine Revolution against the Spaniards. The lighthouse stands along the Napindan Channel where Pasig River meets Laguna de Bay. It was used by the revolutionaries as a command center because of its strategic location that it was crucial for American forces to destroy it. The Napindan Parola was built in the 17th century
We never got close to the Napindan Parola as it was too far that we had to satisfy our lighthouse search by viewing it along the coast of Laguna de Bay from the C6 road construction. From our location, it looks like a small slab jutting out from the waters. We tried to capture it on our phones but it was hard to get a decent picture.
One thing that really stood out was the rural atmosphere in the area. It was amazing to actually find a peaceful and bucolic spot in Metro Manila and Taguig definitely gave a surprise. The greeneries and the breeze from the bay made us want to linger in the area while enjoying the city skyline from afar. I reckon that the place is a great place to watch the sunrise and the sunset.
Post Explore Notes
Taguig was a complete surprise for me. It has a unique combination of the city and rural atmosphere. I enjoyed the fact that I was in the metro with that barrio community feel. Interestingly, I wish that the passion that BGC has in the promotion of arts and culture is also embraced by the local government to preserve and promote its historical treasures.
On a lighter note, I would like to greet everyone a Merry Christmas. Thank you for your support and I would like to send my warm wish for a joyous and peaceful yuletide celebration!
Marc del Rosario
I believe in education, entrepreneurship, and caring for the environment.