escolta revival

The group 98B wants to dust off (or should I say on?) nostalgia and relive the glory days of downtown Manila. According to their Facebook ad:

saturday market at escolta98B proposition

Escolta was the commercial hub in the early 1900s. We wish to relive the vibrancy of that era through “saturdaymarket@escolta.” This is organized by 98B Future Market. For its first offering, pre-loved & vintage items will be sold. If you have stuff, things, items, bits and pieces that need a new home or owner this is the event for you. In keeping with the theme, we will use the basement of the First United Building which used to be the Berg’s Department Store. Together we can help breathe new life to Escolta.

Email 98B at: to express interest

Saturday Market will be on March 9, 2013

98B, established in January 2012, describes itself as “a multi-disciplinary art COLLABoratory… The idea is to have a setting (referred to as “alternative venues”) where artists and creative individuals from other disciplines can interact and work together while presenting art in different ways; be it a talk, a bazaar, a publication, a meal or a simple gathering.”

98B is run by Mark Salvatus, Mayumi Hirano, Con Cabrera, Pau Reyes, Mik Laborde, Don Dalmacio, Vermont Coronel III, Gabriel Villegas, Marika Constantino & Anjo Bolarda.


My opinion: Why not?

472046_10150787386466804_1298757541_oPhoto I took from the Carriedo LRT station sometime in 2011… or was it 2012?

If you go around Binondo-Escolta-Carriedo-Quiapo aka downtown Manila, it’s as busy as ever. It’s definitely not dead. Quite the contrary. Seedy, sometimes rank, mostly patched-up and rundown, but very much alive. Admittedly, parts are abandoned or neglected. (Not too sure how it would react to a resuscitation attempt tho.)

But, again: Why not? More activity wouldn’t hurt.


  1. we have a song called Escolta (written by Eric Po) which reminisces about the town’s good ‘ol days. Pretty that the subject of our song is getting another deserved buzz.

    1. i can almost believe eric po was around for the good old days 🙂 my ma says she used to shop for shoes at Berg’s. my friend’s grand-aunts used to sell shoes at Berg’s. i don’t know where the heck Berg’s is. i do know that walking around the area is interesting. so far it’s been kind to me. eventhough i’ve lost a recorder sa carriedo, and had to cuss out a newbie pickpocket near plaza miranda, there is something about the area that’s friendly, and wild, and appreciable.

      and i like the fact that they had to come up with their own volunteer firefighter group in binondo, using donated fire trucks (hence the purple eng bee tin trucks). it smacks of “this is our home, we defend it.” my geography’s shit and my history’s fuzzy, but when you think of how way back when the old parian was a target for arsonists… in binondo, the buildings are extremely close. you enter one, and then you end up in a nice atrium you didn’t know was there (ivan man dy has to show you the way). or you enter another and go up a steep flight of darkened stairs to get to the medicine man on the third floor (and honestly, i don’t know where that is now). it’s a-maz(e)-ing.

      1. haha speaking of firemen, Eric has this joke that goes like this:
        There are three types of Chinese in Manila. one, the pawnshop owners, the 2nd are the firemen. Lastly, the pawnshop owners who volunteer as firemen.

  2. john marzan · · Reply

    Escolta is Dead. Syvels patay. Bookmark, wala na. Capitol at Lyric theater gone, abandoned. Bilib pa rin ako sa Tropical Hut ng escolta.

    1. onga no. nakalimutan ko na yung bookmark.

      i like tropical hut. natuto akong kumain ng hamburger na may pineapple dahil sa kanila.

  3. john marzan · · Reply

    dagdag pa. st. james square, unoccupied. but compared to detroit, buhay na buhay ang escolta 🙂

  4. i once saw a tv sitcom, can’t recall it now, but the setup was a bunch of photographers would take beautiful pics of abandoned places. they literally had to gauge whether they should climb up rotting stairs, just to capture the faded beauty of an aged architectural feature.

    there’s a romantic melancholy in such images.

  5. San banda ‘to sa escolta? Bungad ata ‘to eh. 🙂

  6. for those interested in 98B’s activities:

    413 Escolta St., Mezzanine Level
    First United Building,
    Binondo, Manila

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