Thursday, August 10, 2006


The Tutuban Center Mall (pictured above) is located at the forefront of Divisoria at Claro M. Recto Avenue (formerly Azcarraga Street) right off Jose Abad Santos Avenue. It is near Tutuban Railroad Station whose trains run from Manila to Dagupan, Pangasinan. In 1886 the Manila Railway Company commissioned the Fleming Company to help build this railroad. The tracks cut across Tondo, which uprooted many impoverished residents from their homes, including the family of our national hero, Andres Bonifacio. To this day, over a hundred years later, the trains still run through the Tutuban station.

This area is and has always been one of Manila’s bustling commercial hubs. From Divisoria’s wholesale distributors to myriad retailers selling various kinds of items such as clothes, jewelry, and housewares at bargain prices. The Tutuban Center Mall has stores that offer most of these items, including many assortments of foodstuffs and delicacies, as well as a wide array of local handicrafts

The name Tutuban means the place where they make tuba (defined by Milkphish of Bughaw as an alcoholic drink made from palm flower sap, though native to the Philippines, is widely sold in the cities of Mexico by street vendors called Tuberos).

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posted by Señor Enrique at 10:27 AM


Blogger j said...

they say good shopping bargains are found in Tutuban Cluster Bldgs. and it's true, I enjoyed a cheap shopping spree with officemates last December :)

August 10, 2006 11:26 AM  

Blogger Rey said...

Hmmm.... I will make this a must visit in my next vacation. :)

August 10, 2006 11:57 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

In doing a quick look-around of various merchandise sold here, Jairam, it certainly appears that a lot of women would enjoy spending some time shopping here.

August 10, 2006 4:08 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

A word of warning, Rey: This place is usually swamped with shoppers. Also, what used to be the hallways are now filled with stalls as well. But I'm sure your wife will enjoy its bargained-priced merchandise.

August 10, 2006 4:11 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

ei! namiss ko yan :)

August 10, 2006 5:50 PM  

Blogger Sidney said...

Eric, I am working on a series about tuba for my photo blog.
Do you know why they called that place Tutuban?
There is no "processing" in the making of tuba. I only found tuba in the coconut rich provinces (like Bicol & Marinduque). Once the sap is collected you got tuba. So I would be surprised to find a place in Manila where they would "make" the tuba.
I also understood that you need to drink tuba fresh or it becomes suka. So it is more of a local drink. I also understood that from the tuba they make lambanog which is much much stronger and optained after destillation of tuba
I am still looking for a place where they make the lambanog.

It would be of interest to trace back any tuba in Tutuban or to know why they called that place Tutuban.
I only know Tutuban for the mall & shops & crowds.

If you have more info about Tutuban I would appreciate if you could email it to me.


August 10, 2006 8:36 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I was just over at your site admiring your photos, Sidney!

Anyway, that was a one sentence trivia I got from Bonifacio's online biography @

But I did have a hard time getting info about tuba. Hunch tells me that perhaps, it was lambanog that they were actually making over there, not tuba, and only called the place Tutuban so as not to invite the ire of the Guardia Civil. But know what? I'm sure Carlos might lead you to a more reliable source. Nonetheless, I'll ask around and let you know.

Maybe some of our readers could help out as well.

August 10, 2006 8:49 PM  

Blogger Amadeo said...

A suggestion to Sidney, if he is really interested to learn about tuba and its many uses.

The place to go would be Mindanao, even just around Northern Mindanao, where tuba-making is still very much part of rural and even some urban life. I know because every time I visit I ask for it.

To consume it as a refreshment, the locals add an ingredient called "tungog" which gives the extracted clear liquid a reddish hue. Tradition says this prevents any upset stomach for those who imbibe it.

Letting it sit for a few days ferments it into vinegar or suka. The longer the more vinegary, earning such name as "siete viernes". Though, if one refrigerates it, its shelf life as a sweet drink is prolonged.

Some boil it to get a much stronger drink. A much harder one.

August 10, 2006 11:31 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Well, hello Melai!

Sabi na nga ba at lalabas ka sa pagtatago ng binanggit kong nagtanan ka, eh (joke only)!!! :)

I'm sure dito inuubos pera mo -- sa Tutuban!

August 10, 2006 11:39 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Fascinating info, Amadeo!

I'll pass it on to Sidney (if he hasn't come back to read this, yet).

Many thanks, indeed.

August 10, 2006 11:42 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

tuba, i got dizzy from a jeepney ride when we visited from my mom's province of marinduque when i was a kid! :)

speaking of the place and it's surrounding areas, it's a haven for me especially the yuletide months to get the best deals with a lot treats for everyone... the only hassle thing was the crowded stuffs.

August 10, 2006 11:43 PM  

Blogger ipanema said...

Can't resist not to comment on tuba, coming from the south, it's an everyday sight, especially early in the morning. I agree on Amadeo's post regarding its fermentation. The fresh tuba is sweet too.

I can still remember when some farmers would come over to our place everyday and bring us fresh coconut and tuba. What we do is ferment it. And the vinegar from tuba is the best for 'kinilaw' - raw fish or any seafood, best is tangigue (Spanish mackerel) mix with lots of chopped ginger, red onions, chilli, tuba/vinegar and to some they add coconut milk(for tangigue only). This is how we do it. I'm salivating I really miss some food.

August 11, 2006 3:51 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

You gave me a nice idea there, Jepaperts -- that I should do my "pasalubong shopping" here in Tutuban for when I go back to NYC for visit. As for Christmas gifts, why not do it early -- little by little -- as I used to do in NY to avoid the season's maddening rush.

I don't think any drink with alcohol content mixes well with a jeepney ride -- either behind the wheel or being a passenger :)

August 11, 2006 5:28 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I have a friend from NYC and "kinilaw" is his specialty, Ipanema. However, he only uses bottled vinegar from the grocery.

I had only tasted tuba once or twice when a youngster, but I remember when my father and I would spend the weekend in the barrio. There would be pre-ordered lambanog (in a tall and huge biscuit can) delivered to our house in the morning for his friends to enjoy later that evening. He wouldn't allow me to taste it, though.

August 11, 2006 5:35 AM  

Blogger Senorito<- Ako said...

I know the ins and outs of divisoria as well. Our small family ex-business was located there. Taong palengke talaga ako.

I bet it was raining when you went there... you would've taken the facade of tutuban with the statue and all.

August 11, 2006 5:43 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I did take some exterior shots as well, S.A., but I just loved this particular interior of the mall that I chose it to accompany this post. I'll use the exterior shots for my future posts.

BTW, the original statue of Bonifacio that was replaced by the current one was awarded to Bonifacio Elementary School.

I bet it was a lot of fun to be in Divisoria as a youngster, huh? All those treats -- toys, munchies and etc. -- all around you! I would've definitely loved that.

August 11, 2006 5:59 AM  

Blogger Senorito<- Ako said...

correct me if I'm wrong but that pic is where the main bldg connects to the rear bldg. Just past the ex-fastfood now tiangge style area.

August 11, 2006 6:23 AM  

Blogger Sidney said...

Thank you for the tip, Amadeo. Never went to Mindanao yet, although I have a friend in Iligan who invited me already several times. My wife is quite protective and as a good husband I am under the saya. She doesn’t want to let me go to Mindanao. I am not sure if it will help my cause to tell her I want to go there to research the different tastes of tuba… ;-)

Eric, I think you can soon start a group of tubalovers ;-)

August 11, 2006 6:35 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

You are indeed correct, S.A.! And I was actually wondering why this photographed area is much higher than the other side of the neoclassical entryway. I was wondering why that is and now you had just explained it to me!


August 11, 2006 6:49 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

LOL! Indeed, that might be a good idea, Sidney. And for our first outing, Mindanao!!!

I tend to agree with the Mrs., Sidney and it has nothing to do with being under the saya.

Here's another tip, DTI might be able to give you some leads!

August 11, 2006 6:52 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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