Escolta: New cultural hub of Manila

Hailed as the “Queen of Manila Streets,” Escolta holds a place in every Manileño’s heart. Back in the 1900s to 1930s, Escolta was the ultimate shop, dine, and hang out place in Manila. The British commander-in-chief and other important officials during pre-war Manila used to pass along this street when they are escorted, hence the name escolta, the Spanish word for “to escort.”

Escolta has seen better days, but it’s currently getting the makeover treatment. Organizations like the Heritage Conservation Society-Youth have been revamping Escolta’s image, turning the street into a culture and art hub where the young and the old can shop, dine, buy art, and immerse in the intoxicating beauty of Old Manila. Below are just of the few things that you can do in Escolta that will allow you to enjoy the history and culture of this area.

Take photos of the stunning architecture

Escolta remains in the spotlight because of the pre-war Manila buildings that remain in the area. There’s the Burke Building, a structure built in the 1920s designed by pioneer architect Tomas Arguelles. The Capitol Theater, an art deco style building was constructed in the 1930s by National Artist for Architecture Juan Nakpil is a popular spot because of its bas-reliefs features. Meanwhile, many are familiar with the El Hogar building that was completed in 1914. The Spanish Count Don Antonio Melian commissioned the building to be constructed as a wedding gift to wife Margarita Zobel de Ayala.


Visit art hubs

Escolta is filled with art nooks in every corner. Calvo Museum, located at the former building office of GMA Network was built in 193 and gives you a peek of what Old Manila looked like. Old school finds like newspapers, stamps, music sheets and posters are all available.

Meanwhile, Saturday x Future Market Space located in the First United Building is Escolta’s own version of Cubao Expo. This big open space is where artists sell their art and form collaborations. The pop-art bazaar isheld every Saturday is a chance for many art enthusiasts to add to their collection.

Go on a food trip

A trip to Escolta is not complete without a little side trip to its collection of restaurants and food hubs. UNO Seafood and Wharf Place gives you cheap and delicious Chinese food that is as good as the one’s in Binondo. Meanwhile Polland Hopia Cafe offers classic sweets like hopia and a jumbo siopao. The Escolta Ice Cream and Snacks offers not only ice cream but also classic hits like hamburgers and fried chicken.