Escolta has its historic roots as Manila’s oldest streets meant to be alongside the Pasig River as a hub for trade and commerce. While its former glory days are gone, Escolta is slowly picking up its pieces—maybe no longer as a part of the Paris of the Orient, but as a modern synergy of business and art. With the First United Building opening its doors to more artist-run spaces, the boom is already happening. A coffee shop with locally sourced coffee and a bar that sells local craft beer on the ground floor of the building tethers close to the creative spaces of HUB | Make Lab where you can find everything from upcycled wares to products made close to home.
But as the First United Building is filled with artistic spaces, the growing community continuously promotes the destination through communal efforts like the Escolta Block Party! A quarterly party that has been going on for a couple of years now, is a whole day affair and one that numerous attendees, even outside of the city, look forward to! The party aims to promote Escolta as a destination open for all, not just a nook kept by and for artists.
What to expect at every Escolta Block Party? An outflow of creativity fills the streets with a street market in collaboration with the First United Building tenants, where you can buy everything from homemade totes to indoor plants.
And from the artist themselves, talks on design and creativity in various disciplines, exclusive film premieres, and even exhibits are open to the public. Heritage tours are also encouraged, along with DIY workshops during the event. Homegrown brands also take the opportunity to launch new collections during this affair.
At nightfall, the most awaited, is perhaps, the transformation of the historic street into a massive party, complete with disco tunes and a rhythmic crowd dancing to the beat. The party goes on until the wee hours of the next day, and easily gives Escolta a definitely different yet vibrant new perspective.
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Photos from: Facebook.com/EscoltaBlock, Thebenildean.org