Thursday, February 5, 2015

Manila: Malate-Ermita District and Evelyn Bosch

l-r: Evelyn Ramirez Bosch, Cecilia Brainard, Cynthia 
Posa, Mila Santillan

 I attended high school at St. Theresa’s College in San Marcelino, Manila, right across the Adamson University and near the San Miguel Brewery. We used to smell the brewing beer while we did Math or Sciene. Four years I went to that convent school. And there I made friends who remain my friends even now. 

Three of us visited Evelyn Ramirez Bosch and remembered the days when we had “Soirees” and “Jam Sessions” and in fact because our history has continued to “modern” time, Evelyn and laughed when I mentioned that one of my cats is named Che after Che Guevera. She said, “You really love him, don’t you?”  Once, she, I and another friend had a night out at CafĂ© Havana in the Ermita District where we ate and drank and were extremely foolish under the watchful eyes of the posters of the handsome Che. We would now and then look up at his image and swoon.
Evelyn, whose father was a Philippine Ambassador, used to spend many weekends with me, and since our family house was in the Malate district, she and I knew the Malate-Ermita district in and out. We used to walk from Georgia Street, later renamed as Luis M. Guerrero, to the ancient stone Malate Church to hear Mass, walking past the Malate Circle and the dressshops, salons, and residences of the time.
Evelyn mentioned the area is now predominantly Korean.

Later, Cynthia, Mila, and I went to the Malate area and indeed it is now a playground for young Korean tourists. The restaurants and bars now cater to that clientele.  The area seems cleaner and more gentrified though. There was a time when, even when it was funky, it was somewhat seedy.
In the midst of the frenzy of the bars and restaurants, the houses from my youth remain, and I took one picture. It is like an anchor to the past.

 (Be sure and read another blog entry, The FiveDollar Ransom, which features Cynthia and me in Saigon getting kidnapped.)

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