City Guide: Pasig City

Having come a long way from its rural residential roots, Pasig City is now a rare gem that fuses age-old Filipino culture and identity with the modernity and growing demands for trade and business.
While primarily residential and industrial in nature, Pasig has quickly become a highly-urbanized and commercial city in recent years, now home to various business districts, flourishing real estate developments, independent food hubs and numerous tourist attractions.
Pasig is strategically located along the eastern border of Manila, enabling effortless access between nearby key metro locations such as Quezon City, Mandaluyong City, Marikina City, Makati City and Taguig City. The adaptive nature of the city’s growing economy has captured the sights of not only investors, but residents as well who are scouting for convenient homes in close proximity to their lifestyle routines.
Families, in particular, are starting to consider the attractive work-and-play lifestyle Pasig offers, while also being home to top education institutions such as The University of Asia and the Pacific, Rizal High School and Pasig City Science High School. The city is also home to high-rise office buildings and the Ortigas Center, one of Manila’s fastest-growing business districts.
From a wide array of shopping centers to a quaint line-up of neighborhood museums and parks, finding the time to uncover how Pasig merges the past and the present to create a wonder of a city.

Shopping and dining
While Pasig is surrounded by top shopping malls in its vicinity, the city’s pride lies in Tiendesitas, a shopping complex located along the C-5 highway that is said to rival the world-renowned Chatuchak Market of Bangkok. Tiendesitas is separated into “villages,” where more than 450 traders all over the Philippines exhibit their wares.
Some of the most notable to visitors are the Handicrafts Village, which feature Philippine-made home décors and accessories; the Antiques Village, which carry priceless Filipino artifacts and the Fashion Village, which showcases Filipino fashion designed by local designers across the country.
Come night time, Tiendesitas transforms into a hip, bustling destination where live bands and cultural performances are commonplace, offering shoppers exciting entertainment.
Pasig City is overflowing with great local dining destinations unmatched anywhere in the metro. Immensely gaining traction over the past few years, Pasig’s Kapitolyo district is famous for having its residential homes transform into the city’s most renowned hole-in-the-wall restaurants. Devoted foodies swear by the hidden gastronomic gems that scatter Kapitolyo’s neighborhood. There is a vast selection of international fare available, from Japanese to Mexican cuisine, capable of satisfying the pickiest of palates. Nightlife picks up well into the wee hours of the night with folks choosing to spend their time at Capitol Commons, a retail strip located just a few blocks away from Kapitolyo, or at Metrowalk, a fairly large complex consisting of high-end nightclubs and restaurants.

Historical sites
Boasting a vibrant history that spans 443 years, Pasig City has withstood the trials of time and witnessed how Manila has developed into the metropolis it is today. As a testament to the city’s glory, museums dedicated to safeguarding its rich culture have become popular destinations to both residents and tourists.
Lopez Museum and Library
This museum is primarily recommended for those with a passion for learning about Philippine History and Literature. The Lopez Museum and Library is the oldest privately-owned and managed museum and library specializing in Philippine material. With over 500 works in its growing museum collection and over 20,000 titles in its expanding library catalogue, the museum cares for holdings covering 600 years of scholarship and artistry.
Pasig City Museum
Formerly known as the Concepcion Mansion, the Pasig City Museum is a historic house museum that showcases a timeline of the history of Pasig, as well as a landmark photo exhibit, a Natural Science Hall and some of the original furniture from the mansion, among other collections, that corresponds to periods of Pasig’s historical development. The mansion was owned by the former mayor of Pasig, Don Fortunato Cabrera Concepcion (1918 – 1921), and was built as a gift to his wife, Victoria Concepcion.
Bahay na Tisa
Literally translated to “House of Stone,” it is the oldest and only remaining “Bahay na Bato.” It was built by Don Cecilio Tech y Cabrera in the early 1850s. It has been home to seven generations of the Tech family and has been witness to significant historical events in Pasig and in the country. According to Pasig City’s records, the Bahay na Tisa has huge blocks of adobe for the ground floor walls which served to carry the load of the hardwood floor in the second floor, while the windows were made of capiz shells. The roof was originally tisa but was destroyed during World War II and was replaced with corrugated asbestos roof.

Parks and recreation
Pasig sets itself apart from its metro counterparts by offering a collection of leisure activities that families and people of all ages can enjoy. Animal and wildlife lovers will surely fall in love with Pasig’s Avalon Zoo, the largest zoological institution in the Philippines in terms of live animals. Housing more than 3,000 specimens of exotic wildlife, the zoo has a diverse collection of Philippine native and endemic fauna. Meanwhile, Ark Avalon Zoo is the only interactive indoor zoo in the Philippines. It is a haven to tame social animals that even kids can have fun and interact with.
For those looking to get away from the city’s hustle and bustle, RAVE or Rainforest Adventure Experience, situated in the heart of Pasig, is the perfect answer for a quick getaway. Wide-open spaces and adventure trails are what consistently makes RAVE the best location for recreational activities that Pasig has to offer. RAVE sports a variety of lagoons, gardens, camping sites and sports centers that will cater to everyone’s interests.
Without a doubt, Pasig remains one of the most developed and evolving cities in the country. Those interested in purchasing a metro home shouldn’t count Pasig City out — a perfect convergence between the past and the present.

*Appeared in The Philippine STAR on Dec. 10, 2016