Snuggled inside my buddy’s Juke as it sped on an avenue surprisingly not congested with cars, buses and trucks (because it’s an early Sunday morning), I kept glancing out the window, looking for anything new that has risen in recent months along the boulevard named after the fifth chief executive of the republic, President Manuel Roxas.
|A popular destination inside Venice Grand Canal Mall |
|A slice of Bonifacio Global City|
Yikes, it’s been a while since I’ve been to our destination—where else but the highly-urbanized city of Taguig—and I couldn’t help but wonder at the plethora of surprises that await me!
Taguig’s unusual name has long intrigued me. In a metropolitan region where cities were either named after a peculiar flower, a pre-war president, a meandering river, a revered saint, and what have you, its name is unique in its own way. I thought there’s no tall tale surrounding it until I stumbled upon the city’s official website. As I had surmised, its appellation was also the end-result of the conquistadors’ difficulty in enunciating some words in the native tongue!
|Skycrapers inside BGC dot Taguig's skyline|
When Spain colonized the country, a small settlement known today as Taguig became a pueblo under the jurisdiction of imperial Manila. Taguig’s early inhabitants were known for their skills in threshing rice after harvest, thus, were referred to as taga-giik. In 1571, conquistador Ruy Lopez de Villalobos and his men, along with some church leaders, went there and interacted with the locals. As expected, they found it hard to pronounce “Taga-giik”, opting to shorten it to “Taguig.”
In the early 1900s, Taguig was incorporated as one of the municipalities of Rizal Province. Years later, it was attached with other towns like Pateros and Muntinlupa under Rizal before all three of them came into their own as independent municipalities. In the mid-1970s, the town was placed under the jurisdiction of the National Capital Region. Thirty years later, it became a full-fledged city.
Earlier that day, my friend Juju, who’s been based in Mandaluyong for years now, fetched me from my hotel near Rizal Park in Manila (Geez, a bank exec no less for a chauffeur—can you beat that? LOL!), taking me for a brekkie at one of his favorite hangouts in Taguig—the ritzy Bonifacio Global City or BGC.
I’m not really keen on gravitating towards what I consider bailiwicks of the hoity-loity but I have to make exception for Taguig because I have grown a certain fondness for it. Almost six years have passed since I’ve seen BGC (also with Juju, if my memory serves me right), an eclectic bohemian “city within a city” that never fails to dazzle visitors with its skyscrapers, condos, malls and plazas.
If I’m not mistaken, I’ve been there on two earlier occasions. Still, the thought of stepping into it for the third time thrilled me no end. En route to BGC, I wondered what’s in store for me in the business hub and pleasure ground of the filthy rich that’s known for being avant-garde, cultured and exquisite yet cordial, soothing and uplifting. I guess I’ve been taken with Taguig the moment I saw its most popular destination years ago.
Seeing it anew, I felt the sudden urge to head out into the confounding mazes of the posh enclave, stroll around the concrete jungle on foot, stroke the well-manicured grounds, and smell the sweet temptations that wafted all over the place. Sometimes, it feels so refreshingly good to just pass time gawking at those wonderful pieces of art dotting the entirety of what’s become one of the newest homes of international and local business process outsourcing (BPO) companies.
Touted as “the next Makati”, BGC has metamorphosed into the choice location of numerous multinational companies, financial institutions and other commercial establishments. Many of its thoroughfares have turned into little versions of New York’s Wall Street, Madison Avenue, Broadway or Fifth Avenue as huge business firms and conglomerates have built their corporate headquarters in the prime buildings dotting BGC’s roads.
|The iconic Specific Gravity|
For this dabbler of the arts, it was exhilarating to see and capture on camera some of the most amazing examples of street art that are embedded in strategic places all over BGC. Unlike its counterparts found in museums, street art is usually displayed in roads, walkways and buildings, making it more accessible and available to the ordinary man in the street.
|"Specific Gravity" at night|
Imagine the sheer delight of this wannabe photog as he laid eyes anew on Bonifacio High Street. Indeed, it was delightful to see one of its iconic fixtures, Specific Gravity, the suspended boulder fountain showcasing “the connection between the audience as a mobile participant and their primordial affinity to gravity.” Nothing seemed so spectacular about it at first but the longer I stared at it, the more I found it fascinating.
|The boulder up close|
|A public art at Wonderland|
|A replica of the famous Grand Canal|
And what bumpkin could dare miss dropping by that eponymous mall that gives visitors a sneak preview of what Venice, the most popular City of Canals, looks, feels and smells like? Certainly not this mallrat! Drawing inspiration from one of Italy’s most romantic cities, the Venice Grand Canal Mall has undoubtedly raised the bar for fashion, dining, shopping and entertainment in the country with its fabulous Italian sights, sounds and smells!
At first blush, everything about BGC would seem to define what Taguig is, especially to many a starry-eyed promdi like me. Of course, I’m quite aware there’s more to it than its cosmopolitan enclave. There's definitely more to it than meets the eye!
|Gondola ride, anyone?|