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The Friendly City of San Juan


Though a relatively small city in Metro Manila, the heart-shaped City of San Juan is very big in terms of cultural significance, social prominence, economic progress, and tourism potential. It isa a historic yet progressive city in the middle of everything at the heart of Metro Manila.

by Jane Dacumos on July 21, 2012

Though a relatively small city in Metro Manila, the heart-shaped City of San Juan is very big in terms of cultural significance, social prominence, economic progress, and tourism potential.  It isa a historic yet progressive city in the middle of everything at the heart of Metro Manila. 

What is more to San Juan aside from its colorful political and cultural history? The city has improved through the years and merit must be given to the local government’s constant effort to address the fundamental economic, social and political concerns, especially the enforcement of laws and anti-crime campaigns to make it better and safer place to live and to do business.

The Blessed Name

"San Juan City" is a contraction of the city's longer official name: San Juan del Monte, or St. John of the Mountain. It is named in honor of St. John the Baptist, the city's patron saint, and the hilly terrain the city is situated on.

A Historic Site

San Juan City was the site of the first battle of the Katipunan, the Filipino revolutionary organization, against the Spanish colonizers.

During the pre-Hispanic period, the village of what is now San Juan was a part of the Kingdom of Namayan. When the Spanish first took over the kingdom which they re-christened as Sta. Ana de Sapa, the village remained a part of it, re-classified as a barrio, and became a small encomienda by 1590. In 1602, the Dominican friars built a retreat house for their immediate use, where aging or convalescing friars stayed. Later, the Dominicans constructed a convent and a stone church dedicated to the Holy Cross.

To this day, the thrice-rebuilt church of Santo Cristo stands on the same site, adjacent to the Aquinas School and the Dominican College. In 1783, San Juan became independent of Santa Ana but it was still then a barrio.

The Town of Philippine Presidents

Although not officially designated as such, the city of San Juan could also be called the "Town of Philippine Presidents." Of the last nine presidents since the country became a republic in 1946, four of them were official residents of San Juan when they assumed office. They were the Macapagal father and daughter, Diosdado Sr. (1961–1965) and his daughter Gloria (2001–2010); Ferdinand Marcos (1965–1986); and Joseph Estrada (1998–2001), who also served as mayor when San Juan was still a municipality.

The Basaan at San Juan

San Juan is known for its celebration of the feast of their patron, St. John the Baptist every June 24. In a nod to the saint's characteristic act, the most recognizable custom of the occasion is the Basaan, or the playful dousing and splashing of other people with water. Similar in practice to certain rituals conducted during Songkran and Holi, the Basaan is also done by many other locales nationwide who share the same patron saint. Pedestrians and vehicles with open windows are preferred targets by revelers. Due to complaints from non-residents and transients, a recent ordinance curtails the dousing at noon. Basaan is also being held at San Juan, Batangas on the same date.

The Point of Interests

Among the many interesting places in San Juan are the Pinaglabanan Shrine, which marks the opening salvo of the 1896 Philippine Revolution, the Greenhills Shopping Center, one of the metro's popular bargain places, especially for consumer electronics, clothing and other merchandise.

Other locations would be the city's churches, such as Mary the Queen Parish near Xavier School and the Immaculate Conception Academy, the Sto. Cristo Church near Aquinas School and Dominican College. The St. John the Baptist Parish, more commonly known as the "Pinaglabanan Church", is where the city's patron saint is enshrined and is where the city's incumbent congressman J. V. Ejercito was married.

Getting Around

From International Airports and the Port Area, take a cab and tell the driver to bring you to San Juan. The LRT and MRT trains will also lead you to the city by means of Ortigas and Santolan stations on the MRT, and J. Ruiz, V. Mapa and Gilmore Stations at LRT. Buses plying the Cainta-Quiapo route pass through the streets of San Juan.

 

Accommodations in San Juan

• Greenhills Elan Hotel - 6th Floor #49 Annapolis St. Greenhills, San Juan, San Juan, Manila, Philippines
• The Orange Place Hotel San Juan - 312 Santolan Rd. corner J. Abad Santos, San Juan, Manila, Philippines 1500
• Benson Apartelle - 631 Pinaglabanan Street, San Juan City, San Juan, Manila, Philippines
• Greenhills Elan Hotel - 6th Floor #49 Annapolis St. Greenhills, San Juan, San Juan, Manila, Philippines
• Holiday Inn Manila Galleria - One Asian Development Bank Avenue, Ortigas Center, Ortigas-Pasig, Manila, Philippines 1655
• Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria Hotel - Ortigas Ave. Corner Asian Dev Quezon City Philippines, Ortigas-Pasig, Manila, Philippines 1100
• ACL Suites - 72, 13th Avenue, Cubao, Quezon City, Quezon City, Manila, Philippines
• The Orange Place Hotel San Juan - 312 Santolan Rd. corner J. Abad Santos, San Juan, Manila, Philippines 1500
• Oakwood Premier Joy Nostalg Center Manila - 17 ADB Avenue Ortigas Center, Ortigas-Pasig, Manila, Philippines 1600
• Fernandina 88 Suites Hotel - 222 P. Tuazon Boulevard, Araneta Shopping Center, Quezon City, Manila, Philippines 1109

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