Art and entertainment
Because of its closeness to Manila, Pasay quickly became Metro Manila’s tourist belt. Along this belt lies some of the country’s most prestigious venues for local and international plays, operas, concerts and exhibits. Among these are the Metropolitan Museum and the adjacent Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), visited by the late U.S. President Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy, now a repository of artworks by national artists.
Within the CCP Complex lies other cultural and musical venues like Folk Arts Theater, Aliw Theater, and Manila Film Center, which hosts the world-class musicals of the transvestite theater group Amazing Philippines. Cuneta Astrodome hosts national basketball games, while the theme parks Star City, Boom na Boom and Nayong Pilipino offer a variety of thrill rides, activities and attractions for the whole family.
In terms of architecture, the most notable of CCP Complex’s buildings is the Coconut Palace, commissioned by former First Lady Imelda Marcos and designed by national artist and architect Francisco Mañosa. The palace is entirely made of coconut and decorated using the native products of different Philippine regions. It is supposed to be the residence of Pope John Paul II during his 1981 visit, but the pope declined to have an ostentatious stay given the country’s poverty.
Hotels, shopping and dining
Other government offices are also based in Pasay: Senate of the Philippines, Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Terminals 2 and 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Such closeness to the airport makes Pasay a convenient choice in terms of accommodation, dining and shopping. Within arm’s reach from the airport is SM Mall of Asia, touted as the largest mall in the continent and the third biggest in the world.
Along Roxas Boulevard, overlooking the famous sunset of Manila Bay, is a strip of coffee shops, clubs, restaurants, and star-rated hotels, motels and hostels like Sofitel, Traders, Heritage, Atrium, Sogo and Victoria Court. World Trade Center and the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions hold seasonal fairs featuring local and international designer products. Apart from the Harbor Square at CCP Complex, there is the restaurant hotbed of Pres. Diosdado Macapagal Avenue corner EDSA Extension, being developed to become the site of a thriving call center industry.