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Get to know Escolta, its history, and its burgeoning creative community at this street party

Get to know Escolta, its history, and its burgeoning creative community at this street party

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  • Hola, Escolta! this Nov. 25 features tours, open studios, and a street party, all in service of reintroducing what was once the “Queen of Manila’s Streets”

Before Makati, Escolta was the premier commercial district of Manila owing to its proximity to the Pasig River, a vital passage for the transport of goods and merchants. Today, despite business having moved south, the neighborhood still contains vestiges of its golden days: buildings of distinctive architectural style prominent during the late 19th century.

One of which is the First United Building, an Art Deco structure that pioneered adaptive reuse. It now houses various creative and community-centric enterprises in Escolta, among them an incubator space for creative startups and artists, a quaint cafe/gallery space, a design collective, a coworking space, and a movement studio. Thanks in part to its creative community, Escolta has experienced a renaissance marked by lively street parties, bazaars, and other collaborative projects. That was until the pandemic happened.

A new community-centric event happening this Nov. 25—right in time for the 95th anniversary of the First United Building—“Hola, Escolta!” aims to rekindle and continue Escolta’s flourishing.  A reintroduction of sorts and a celebration of downtown Manila’s sights & sounds, history, and its community, Hola, Escolta! is a unique convergence of a people proud of its past and collectively shaping our future through design and creativity.

The event starts with a street market and a costume tour by The Heritage Collective in the morning. Creative spaces will also be opening their studios and hosting individual programming. These workshops include dance and movement jams by movement studio We Are Shapeshifters, an open portrait session at Espacio Creativo, an object fair by One/Zero Design Collective, and a series of heritage talks and exhibitions by the Nilad Community at Panpisco Building. Most activities are free.

Hola, Escolta! continues at 3 p.m. until late with a street party. Dance to downtown disco with music from local DJs Jalan, Rico Disco, baby ikea, Teya Logos, Papa Jawnz, Jer Dee, and Marky. 

“With the Queen of Manila’s Streets as both a muse and a canvas, we hope to ensure that her legacy never fades,” the team behind Hola, Escolta! said.

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