Thursday, May 25, 2006

Buendia corner Makati Avenue

I'll begin the blog with today's hot news: Taylor Hicks of Alabama has just won American Idol Season 5.

The choice wasn't unexpected, although his fiercest rival Katherine McPhee was absolutely deserving to be in the finals.

Everytime Taylor Hicks performed, it was like he was imprinting his signature. He stood out. He evoked versatility throughout. With versatility, he combined with uniqueness. He capped his performance with style. I think that was why he was voted the newest American Idol.

Anyway, last night my wife and I had dinner in a restaurant located in one of the busiest intersections in Makati, a place that I realized I have been passing through for the last thirteen years or so.

There is a Petron gasoline station at the corner of Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue (formerly Buendia Avenue) and Makati Avenue, Makati City.

Since I set foot in Manila in 1993 I have been passing through this perennially congested crossing, one of the busiest in Metro Manila. It is right at the heart of Makati Central Business District.


This place is a landmark for Makati City.

One of the very earliest buildings was errected right at this corner, the Development Bank of the Philippines building.
I saw an old picture of my father one time when he attended a seminar. The background of the photo was a lonesome building in Makati.

It turned out that the building was this old DBP building right at the corner of Gil Puyat and Makati Avenue. It was taken at a time when Makati was virtually barren, where tall, green, itchy ('ma-kati) grasses reigned over the land.

I believe it was taken in the 1970's, when the hotbed of commerce was Cubao, Quezzon City, and the blue-colored air-conditioned Love Buses were the king of the highway, being the primary mode of public transport.

Now, DBP building looks old and weary, but has stood to be a mute witness of the progress of what is indubitably the center of commercial activities in the country.

Familiar place

Buendia corner Makati Avenue is a familiar site to me. When I began my journey in the metropolis, as a probinsyano, I traversed this major intersection daily since the law school that I attended was just walking distance from this place.

The jeepneys that criss-cross Buendia Avenue are labelled "Bel Air-Taft", meaning the jeepney routes is from the Bel-Air entrance locagted at the EDSA-Buendia intersection in the East, to Taft Avenue corner Buendia in the west.

Buses also used to ply along Buendia which went all the way to Quezon City via EDSA.

In going to and from school, I usally take the bus having the Buendia route.

The traffic light in this intersection is one of the "slowest."

Anyway, this intersection, has undergone its own transformation.

The Petron gas sation had always been there. But recently, it underwent a facelift. One can now see some restaurants in the area, like Pancake House, Singkit, Tariyaki Boy, and popular pork barbique seller Aling Inengs..

The convenience store has metamophosed, and it now houses a coffee outlet of Gloria Jeans, a branch of Big Chill, seller of modern day ice cold refreshments, Mister Donuts, and many more.

Another landmark in the area is the building right accross DBP building which is the Pacific Star Building.

For a time, and during my law shcool days in the 1990's, this was the tallest building in Makati.

From afar, the neon lighted ensignia of Pacific Star used to be the guiding light for motorists.

It functioned like the guiding light and reference point in the horizon for fishermen who were out at sea.

But the Pacific Star has been dwarfed by sprouting skyscrapers.

Parallel to Buendia (Gil Puyat Ave) is Jupiter Street, where many government offices are located. Some of these government offices are the Department of Trade, the Emplyees Compensation Commission, the Intellectual Property Office.

Makati Avenue meanwhile, is the south-north intersection of Buendia. Further south is Ayala Avenue, while going north would take you to Mandaluyong City via the Makati-Mandaluyong bridge.

So if you find yourself in this intersection, you get to see a little of Makati's history and commerce.

It is a place that has adapted to the changing times, and like Taylor Hicks, has its own unique qualities and style.

One of the earliest buldings was errected here. Also, it remains a bustling place busy with economic activites day-in-and-day-out.

If there is a place in Makati that doesn't sleep, its the corner of Buendia and Makati Avenues.

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