You can’t visit New Manila and not give a nod to the neighborhood’s unique vibe. Given its history, it’s only natural that the personality of the area shines brighter than your usual village flavor. The rich past, gorgeous tree lines streets, and overflow of food and culture make the neighborhood one to definitely stop by, and even more tempting to live in. How could it not? It was always meant to be a premier neighborhood.
Sitting at the border of Quezon City, New Manila started as an exclusive residential option for Manila’s elite, way back during the American occupation. The idea was: escape the old scene of Manila, with its pollution and noise, and make your mark in a new neighborhood built to be exclusive. Live the high life in Manila, without actually having to live in Manila. So was born New Manila.
The tree lined wide streets and spacious lots that characterize New Manila are thanks to Dona Magdalena de Hemady. The Lebanese Dona had a hacienda on the outskirts of San Juan, the land that would eventually become New Manila. It was her vision of streets lines with towering trees, casting shade over an exclusive residential community, that would become the foundations for the New Manila we see today.
New Manila was the shining gem in Quezon City. Especially when the city was being eyed as the new capital, New Manila took its place as one of the most sought after addresses in the Metro. The lots are huge, the streets spacious, and the neighborhood a welcome escape from the noise of Manila. Back when it was starting, it served as a bridge between the old world of Intramuros, the vacation homes many had in San Juan (then known as Little Baguio), and portal to flourishing Quezon City.
This is not to say that New Manila had its heyday already. Quite the contrary. The neighborhood has grown with the times and turned into a vibrant community. It’s hard not to find something to do, with PETA theater nearby, countless galleries, music lounges, and coffee shops.
This isn’t a recent phenomena either: New Manila was home to many of the film studios during the Golden Age of Philippine Cinema. Perhaps it’s the character of the neighborhood: a high value placed of stillness, exclusivity, and class that doesn’t need to be announced that has attracted so much of the art scene to call it home.
As time passed and the entire metro began developing after the wars, New Manila was not left isolated. It still keeps its pre-war charm and quiet tranquility, but it’s far from removed from modern comforts. It was prized before for being an escape from Manila, to live in the metro but to have the peace of not actually having to live in the capital. Now, you can retreat to your home and it’s as if you’re nowhere near the traffic-fueled fast paced life of the capital. But a stone’s throw away are high class facilities, malls, hospitals, and schools such as De La Salle Greenhills and Xavier. A hop away from home, and youre in the urban hubs of Quezon City or San Juan.
Still centered around the ideals of exclusivity, stillness, peace, and quiet, New Manila has developed to be the center of its own community. Like the eye of a storm, it is quiet within, but completely connected to the modern world. People now looking to buy into the prestigious address have many more options. Sure, it’s known for its stately houses and ample lots, but prospective residents have new options.
SkyVillas at One Balete, a high rise development offers modern condominium living to people wishing to live the New Manila lifestyle. The development offers the same exclusivity as any house in the area, but the convenience of high-rise communities. It’s a testament to the modernization of New Manila. But no matter how things change, the flavor of the neighborhood will always be the same: a premiere family friendly locale that offers respite from the hectic life of Metro Manila.