32 °C Manila, PH
December 5, 2023

Pasay City’s hidden cultural tourism circuit


CITEM Hall One in Pasay. Photo by Mikee Pascual
CITEM Hall One in Pasay. Photo by Mikee Pascual

From a concrete jungle, the city of Pasay is gradually making a buzz in the industry today as it ventures seriously into tourism. Little do we know, a collection of galleries, museums, and interesting establishments can be found along the streets of Pasay.

Standing for 30 years, one of Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM)’s old pavilions is among these. Revamped in 2012, CITEM Hall One is a gallery of local handicrafts uniquely and intricately crafted and designed for the local and international market. CITEM is the export promotions arm of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) Museum houses a significant numbers of art works made by Filipino contemporary artists. While its most prized artwork, Parisian Life by Juan Luna, is temporarily housed at the National Museum, the rest of the 308 pieces of art are intact inside the facility. Apart from the free viewing, it hosts an annual art competition in mixed media, non-representational, and a newly added category, sculpture.

Taking back to where Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Sr. and former President Corazon “Cory” Aquino started a chapter of their life, Our Lady of Sorrows Parish is where the two icons of Philippine democracy were married. Near the parish is the Daughters of St. Paul where good religious finds can be bought.

Museo Maritimo in Asian Institute of Maritime Studies (AIMS) claims to be a pioneer in showcasing a comprehensive chronicle of the Filipino’s life at sea. It is a perfect place to recall the rich maritime history of the country, including Enrique de Malaka, the first Filipino to navigate the world.

Philippine School for the Deaf (PSD) is the first school for the handicapped in the Philippines and in Asia, and the only government-owned institution for the deaf in the country. It was formerly known as the School for the Deaf and Blind (SDB) before separation in 1963.

The 60-year old residence of the National Artist for Architecture, Pablo Antonio, in Zamora Street has been turned into a tropical garden restaurant – My Mother’s Garden run by his daughter Malu Veloso, a bridal gown designer. Its wooden ceiling and panoramic windows provide a pleasing view of the greenery around the house.

Students of the Philippine School for the Deaf. Photo by Mikee Pascual

Far from the congested highways of the city, one compound in F. B. Harrison Street surprisingly gives a different outlook of Pasay. Inside the area that locals call “Chinese compound” are galleries namely A-11 Furniture Gallery, J. Lloren’s atelier, and Avellana Art Gallery. A boutique hotel and a restaurant are set to open in the compound next year. Other plans are to eventually hold design workshops, lectures and discussions for interested artists, designers, and design enthusiasts.

Meanwhile, Galleria Duemila is the longest running commercial gallery in the Philippines and maintains a strong international profile. It handles rare works by modern masters of the early 20th century.

Wine Museum comprises a hotel, a Colonial and Spanish restaurant, and the Wine Education Center. A 3-5 hour seminar on food-and-wine matching is being provided to enhance visitors’ dining experience.

These hidden charms of Pasay were showcased during a media familiarization tour organized by AAP Travel, a subsidiary of the Automobile Association Philippines. AAP Travel is led by former DOT Secretary Mina Gabor, who is helping the city with its tourism efforts.


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