During its heyday, Escolta was not only the metro’s financial hub, it was also the center of all things hip and happening. I think of it as the grandfolks’ version of Makati or Bonifacio Global City. The Manila Stock Exchange stood proudly in the area, and the street was lined with stores that sold goods from the finest local merchants as well as those from abroad.
In the sixties, businesses transferred to Makati, causing Escolta’s decline. While it is now just a historic area that was once Manila’s crowning jewel in business and lifestyle, the street still has its own, unique charm. The Regina, El Hogar, Calvo, and First United buildings are still around, and the other buildings (albeit a bit rundown) give visitors a peek into the old world that once teemed with the bustle of Manila life.
One Saturday in April, my cousin Yedda and I decided to pay the once “Queen of Streets” a visit. Soaking up some history, we had a great time walking, taking snaps, and having some sort of food trip.
We met in Quiapo and after walking around (under the intense summer heat), we finally managed to grab a tricycle that would take us to the Binondo area. As this little excursion’s mastermind, I admit I was unprepared since I wasn’t able to research that Escolta was in the Binondo area and not Recto. Haha.
Before embarking on our little Escolta tour, we first grabbed a hearty, delicious lunch at Wai Ying, one of Binondo’s most popular restaurants. Definitely delicious and cheap, and we were so full we had a hard time walking out of the resto. Hahaha.
We then went around Binondo first, and found ourselves in Lucky Chinatown Mall where there was an alluring display of red lanterns.
Walking under the sun for an extended period drains the energy in no time, and so we tried this ice cream parlor along Escolta. I loved the place because it was so simple and evoked that old school feel. I kind of felt we were back in the fifties / sixties. The treat was simple, very Pinoy, without the frills of all the gelato places that now abound in the metro.
After that sweet distraction, we finally spent the rest of the afternoon going around Escolta and taking pictures. I don’t know how all these bloggers manage to have their photos taken in public. I was so shy when Yedda was prodding me to make like a blogger here and there. Nevertheless, here are the pictures and some products of our semi-awkward photoshoot. 😛
Escolta is just one of the many reasons I love Manila and I’m glad to have had the chance to spend an afternoon here with Yedda. If there were more time, I’d be more than happy to explore Manila’s every nook and cranny because this city, I tell you, has so many wonderful places and secrets even a Manila-born and raised woman like me hasn’t seen or experienced.