My Manila – The Interview

I recently agreed to an online interview with, a website about everything and anything Manila.

Launching a new series called My Manila, the site wanted to share the kind of Manila that celebrities and personalities experience and live in.

And the clincher, “We think it’s only fitting for this series to start with you.”

For old times’ sake, here goes:

How are you liking Manila now?

Manila, the city, is not as interesting as it was in the 70s. There is too much of everything: too much crime, too much dirt, too much decay.

How has Manila changed from when you wrote the Manila song? Do you still feel the same way for the city now, as when you wrote the song then?

The song “Manila” was for the Manila we knew in 1977 which was a beautiful city… a fun city where you can go walking – even by yourself – without being mugged or extorted.

When Rene & I wrote “Manila” we didn’t have an inkling that it was destined to become the city’s song… forever?

There is a certain freshness, easy-going vibe to the song that is spot-on with the freshness and vibe of Manila, especially along Roxas boulevard. Did you have any particular place or Spot in Manila that you had in mind writing the song?

We wrote the song with the Malate-Ermita-Roxas Blvd areas in mind.

Cheap thrills – but priceless: cruising Dewey Boulevard from end on end on the Matorco

That was where it was all happening – long before there was such a thing as Makati Commercial Center.

It was the fun zone – clean and safe.

Where in Manila do you go to have a good meal?

Good meals, of course meant the diner at Acme supermarket on Padre Faura Street. Or comfort food at Selecta. And when the budget’s just enough – good, old reliable Aristocrat.

What is a good meal?

A good meal was a simple meal: footlong hotdog at Brown Derby or BBQ chicken with Java rice at Aristocrat or pork babrbecue at Aling Nena’s stand on Vito Cruz.

How do you spend your Sunday mornings?

Sundays meant church at Paco Park or at Paco Parish Church. If here, the Mass was followed by P0.10 arroz caldo being peddled by the suki vendor.

Where in Manila do you go if you need a boost of inspiration?

Back then, Luneta was a sure bet for instant inspiration with its well-manicured greens – and none of the extortion gangs they have now.

Where in Manila do you go to clear your mind?

Clearing the mind was easy: either at the USIS Library on Padre Faura with lots and lots of books (and pretty girls hanging out); or the National Library

Where in Manila do you go to unwind?

Manila was the center of the universe when it came to entertainment. You can watch our first band (RedFox) jamming with the Afro-American group “Masters of Time” at Third Eye, right at the back of Luneta Hotel. Or make ronda and watch Boy Camara & Afterbirth at Rino’s, Minstrels at Wells Fargo, Circus at Pension Pilipina, Bong Penera at Calesa Bar or the Howlers at  Flame.

Where in Manila do you go to get a decent haircut?

Every corner had a decent barber who’ll cut your hair for P0.50.

Where in Manila do you go to get a fantastic ice-cold San Miguel?

The cheapest was what used to be the “barbecue plaza” fronting Roxas Blvd. Isa pa nga.

Where in Manila do you go when you feel like going on a date with your wife?

Malate – then and now – was blessed with the best “dating” places. Café Adriatico has defined the whole shebang.

Where in Manila do you go for that perfect cup of coffee?

Country Bakeshop on UN Ave.

What do you hate most about Manila?

I hate the expensive lamps they put up that are dark as hell. Somebody must have made a lot of money on these useless pieces of junk. Again.

What is it about your Manila that you’d like to share with a greater public?

Best thing we’d like to share is how glorious it was – once upon a time… with the hope that the glory will come back within our lifetime.

3 thoughts on “My Manila – The Interview”

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