Memoirs of Manila

Uncovering-Eden-Luneta-Hotel
Memories of Manila are written on how the walls and buildings stand and how the lights light up every corner of every street.
I’ve been eyeing to do a photowalk on the streets of Manila for a very long time now. And when Carlos Celdran, a local tour guide, arranged a group of people to have the opportunity to walk with him through Malate, Manila, I just grabbed the chance in a heartbeat. Like, who doesn’t want to tour around Manila? I know, I may have seemed to be a little exaggerated but I’m not. I love Manila — it’s grit, it’s rawness, it’s grandeur and it’s fall, I would love to know it all.
We started at around 3PM. The group was a diverse collection of foreigners, students, history buff, photographers and travelers. We just arrived in time when Carlos started his talk about Malate Pensionne.
Uncovering-Eden-Malate-Pensionne
Then we passed by Cafe Adriatico, a famous and beloved local coffee shop.
Uncovering-Eden-Cafe-Adriatico

Just a few blocks away is Remedios Circle. I’m sure this park had seen so much from all the people around it. It’s like a silent witness to all of the people’s untold and unwritten stories.

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I love to shoot random stuff with random people
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We took a jeepney ride to Casa Tesoro that has artsy galleries with eclectic modern artworks. Just beside it is their handicrafts store. It’s full of both woven and wooden crafts.

Uncovering-Eden-Casa-Tesoro

Uncovering-Eden-Casa-Tesoro

Uncovering-Eden-Casa-Tesoro

Located just below Casa Tesoro’s art galleries is Dakota Cabin Cafe Bar, which offers western dishes with aviation and aircraft-inspired interiors. I love the lighting and the whole vibe of this bar. It’s very laid-back and classy, despite of the rowdy and somewhat sleazy streets of Ermita.

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Uncovering-Eden-Dakota-Cabin-Cafe-Bar

Uncovering-Eden-Dakota-Cabin-Cafe-Bar

Uncovering-Eden-Dakota-Cabin-Cafe-Bar

After walking through timeless streets, we passed by Ibarra’s Party Venues and Catering and Solidaridad Book Shop which was like finding a gem amidst the crowded streets of Ermita. This bookshop was founded by F. Sionil Jose, a Philippine National Artist for Literature. It’s so cool to see that this bookshop has stood the test of time. That despite all the bookstores growing through time, Solidaridad has managed to find its niche and stay relevant.

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Uncovering-Eden-Solidaridad-Book-Shop

Then we got inside Hizon’s. A popular restaurant here in Ermita. Dolphy, the King of Philippine Comedy, used to hang out here. It was like his go-to place, his favorite. I couldn’t believe that I’m actually in the same place where he used to eat. Like, how cool could this day get? Celdran dished about some funny memories of Dolphy in this restaurant, as well. Even cooler.

Uncovering-Eden-Hizon's

Uncovering-Eden-Hizon's

A trademark of Philippine streets

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Uncovering-Eden-Court-of-Appeals
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I hate seeing people like this. They should be in a house, with a family, living like a normal person. Poor soul.

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Yellow invasion.
Then we arrived at Miramar Hotel. Its like a neoclassic hotel with American-inspired architecture. It has this old Hollywood glitz and glamour kind of vibe once you get inside the hotel.
Uncovering-Eden-Miramar-Hotel
Uncovering-Eden-Miramar-Hotel

After countless footsteps, we arrived at Hiraya Gallery. This art nook has a very eccentric collection of art installations. It’s quirky but in a very telling way. You would end up adoring the abstractness of each and every artwork you would see in there.

Uncovering-Eden-Hiraya-Gallery

Uncovering-Eden-Hiraya-Gallery
Uncovering-Eden-Hiraya-Gallery

Uncovering-Eden-Hiraya-Gallery
Our second to the last stop was the Luneta Hotel. It has just been renovated a few years back and now it looks far better. This used to be a building awaiting its demise but thank God it was spared. It’s very European-influenced, almost Parisian-like, to be specific. We were so lucky to have caught an ongoing model shoot. I took photos of the models beside the official photographer (Hope that was not rude.)
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Uncovering-Eden-Luneta-Hotel

Uncovering-Eden-Luneta-Hotel

Uncovering-Eden-Luneta-Hotel

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Cinderella leaving her shoe at the doorway.
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 Kalesas waiting for tourists under the scorching sun.

We walked to Rizal Monument to end our very informative and revealing tour. We paid respect to our National hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. It was hard to take a picture of the monument without the tall building behind it. 

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Uncovering-Eden-Rizal-Monument

Uncovering-Eden-Rizal-Monument
Manila is like a wall full of graffiti. You have to nitpick every single lettering to see the beauty underneath all the craziness you see as a whole. I actually thought that I knew Manila just because I studied here for four years and I have gone to so many places here. But I was quite wrong. Seeing Malate in a different light was so eye-opening. I was so used to seeing Malate at night, with its dimmed street lights and its lively, crowded party streets that I have overlooked the history it bears.

Every street and every corner treasures a story that was kept for the longest time, just waiting for people to uncover it.