awarding urbanity

Inspired by Carlos Celdran's last kvetch, and the Project for Public Spaces' Great Public Spaces, I am asking readers to nominate the 10 best urban places in Metro Manila.

The qualifications:

  • must be a publicly accessible place (i.e. - you don't have to pay to get in, or buy anything to get in)

  • preferably outdoor, or largely outdoor

  • democratic (not just for the burgis)

  • must contribute to making life in our metropolis just a little bit better

Post a comment or send me email if you have any nominees. I will, of course, expect you to explain your nominees. Pictures are also welcome.

I'll close the nominations by January 15 and then open the list up for voting.

Please email this post to others who may be interested in improving our city -and recognizing the places that make our metropolis a better place to live.


wysgal said...

What a great project ... have a few ideas off the top of my head. I'm looking forward to seeing what people submit.

Urbano dela Cruz said...

thanks wysgal. please spread the word and ask your friends to also nominate their favorite places.

ed said...

two of my favorite public spaces:

QUEZON MEMORIAL CIRCLE. good place to jog or bike during weekend mornings (they also have daily aerobic classes), then if you wanna sweat some more continue jogging or biking all the way to nearby UP diliman campus. or, if it's sunday, cross the street to the sunday market at the lung center parking lot for eats.

BAYWALK ALONG ROXAS BLVD. when you're in a tambay mood, go there to sit, watch the sunset and other people.

Urbano dela Cruz said...

thanks ed.

so far...

1. QC Memorial Circle
2. Baywalk

monanoke said...

Hmmm... I'll try to think of one or more places. Where I live it's traffic deadlock. And to think we moved out of QC after graduation! Urban sprawl always catches up with us wherever we go. *Sigh*

Does UP Sunken Garden count?

fabian said...

off the top of my head i would say

1. the closed off parking areas in the Fort (is that crescent circle?) good for in-line skating, biking, etc.

2. Makati Parks and Gardens

Urbano dela Cruz said...


The sunken garden certainly counts. (Would you also want to nominate the UP Lagoon?)


thanks for adding two more.

Sidney said...

Happy New Year!
Great project.

Using the template of "Great Public Spaces" I would like to nominate in following categories:

Ongpin street.
Roxas Blvd
Evangelista street (Quiapo)
Adriatico street (Malate)
Cartimar Market
Farmers Market (Cubao)
Gateway Mall (Cubao)
Paco Park
Rizal Park
Greenbelt Park
Manila Zoo
Chinese Cemetery
Ayala Museum
San Sebastian Church
San Augustin Church
Manila Cathedral

rmacapobre said...

i have been away from manila for a while now. i visit my parents once in a while. they live in laguna.

i went back for a visit once and took some pictures of intramuros. there are a number of art pieces standing in and out of the walls. i know theres a statue of the queen of spain facing the river pasig there. the walls themselves are novelty.

i also like binondo and escolta. because i think still retains the soul of old manila. meaning it is a window to a time before we had big corporations and malls. i have not been back there for a long time too. maybe things have changed since ...

last december i passed by luneta park. it looked clean. at least from where i was sitting which was an FX we hired to take me to laguna.

Urbano dela Cruz said...

thanks for the long list sidney!

and thanks for leaving your "misplaced" (hehe) comment, macapobre.

twistedman said...

I'd like to vote for the following:
1. Baywalk (Manila)
2. UP Sunken Garden
3. Manila Cathedral
4. Las Pinas Church
5. The Wall (Intramuros)
6. Chinatown
7. Liwasang Bomnifacio
8. Plaza Miranda
9. CCP
10. San Sebastian Church

twistedman said...

Oopsie. I forgot to explain my vote. I like Baywalk for its sunset, the people and the seabreeze. Manila City government did a good job in sprucing up the place a few years back.

Sunken garden for the greens and the sight of young people studying, chatting and doing their own things. It energizes and inspires me to watch the kids who, in a few years time, will rule this country (well. some of them anyways).

Manila Cathedral for its architecture, the dome and history. A conquistador remains is interred in there, right?

Las Pinas Church for the bamboo organs.

The Wall, especially those fronting Mapua, Lyceum and Letran. I had great memories of The Wall. It was our tambayan in college. After classes in Mapua we'd buy a Tanduay lapad and we'd chitchat and drink at The Wall until we're pretty smashed. hehehe.

Chinatown for the sights, the sounds and the smell. Love the food there.

Liwasang Bonifacio and Plaza Miranda because these two places symbolize freedom of speech. I attended countless rallies there!

After a rock concert at the Coconut Palace 15 years ago we decided to spend the night at the CCP's lawn! Libreng tulog. May guard ka pa. Hahaha.

Urbano dela Cruz said...

thanks, twistedman!

my own college drunken sprees were spent watching the lights of the city fade into morning from vantage of the nipa huts up in the old eagle's nest in Antipolo.

chiqui said...

I won't take part in this voting (for lack of imagination of GREAT public spaces in Manila - I can think of 1 or 2 ok ones like UP gardens. some parts of Escolta and Binondo are great but that's really for viewing a few old structures and not for hanging out) but if you haven't read this yet, here's a refreshing view of Manila (& a few other places) by ex-Talking Heads' David Byrne who recently visited to do more research for his new musical on Imelda (co-written w/Fat Boy Slim)http://journal.davidbyrne.com/2005/12/philippines_mar.html

Urbano dela Cruz said...


thanks for the great link.

I'll count your comment as a vote for the sunken garden.

(quick trivia question for readers: how many coconut trees grow in the sunken garden?)

disastermari said...

Sidney had a good idea of breaking public spaces down into categories.

I would say mine are:

Salcedo and Legaspi Weekend Markets
The CCP Museum Areas
National Museum
Cubao X
UP Sunken Garden
The dog-friendly spaces of Metrowalk, Tiendesitas, and others I don't recall (Dog-friendly spaces)

...maybe you could also list places that have the potential to become something better, a sort of wishful thinking list.

For this, I'd nominate,
-The open spaces near Marikina Riverbanks

I also wish these spaces would become Public Spaces
-The outer park inside Fort Santiago
-The Ateneo outdoor field.

wysgal said...

The only other place I can think of that hasn't been mentioned is this strange pocket of a park along the former Emerald Avenue (I think they've renamed the street F. Ortigas Jr. Avenue) on land donated for public use and inaugurated just last December 2005.

I believe the park was brought about to cater to (1) all the 24-hour operations popping up in that area and (2) smokers who didn't have any other place to take a cigarette break aside from the area immediately fronting their office buildings (thus creating a screen of smoke for would be building visitors).

It's interesting because there are hardly any public spaces of this kind in the Ortigas area.

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