Nostalgic Gnews

Here I am in Rockwell Power Plant, watching over a setup for an event which we are organizing for Collezione.  As I write this, I can’t help feel nostalgic. Collezione, has been around for close to 20 years now. Like Benetton and Le Tigre (Hold that Tiger!!!) in the 80’s, the Collezione brand has been a part of my “fashion sense” when it came to shirts. Actually for the past two weeks or so, I’ve been feeling nostalgic .(re: old)

It all started when coming home from picking up my kids from school, I passed by Hemady street in QC before turning left to Aurora Blvd. I got the shock of my like when I saw my former office, the Magnolia Nestle Ice Cream plant all boarded up. In its stead the Magnolia Residences was to rise. I really felt sad, especially when I saw the Magnolia Flavor house all empty. Memories of my dad and my mom bringing me there, along with Kuya and Ate to have a chocolate milkshake or chocolate parfait soon rushed in. I remember, going there every Sunday to buy my Lolo a half gallon of Mocha Ice Cream, and Ice Cream Cake if one of my cousins was celebrating their birthday. My cousins and I would fight over the dry ice!!!I was a salesman for Magnolia Ice Cream in the late 90’s. In fact it was my first “serious” job.  Even when I left Magnolia for another job, I would sometimes bring Janice,Coby and Zach there to enjoy the ice cream,barquillos or milkshake. Reese, sadly will never get to enjoy that experience.

Magnolia Ice Cream Flavor House (circa 1970's)

As I write this, I suddenly remembered all my old stomping grounds, or places that I used to go to when I was younger.

Do you guys remember Broadway Centrum? Located at the corner of Aurora and Gilmore, Broadway Centrum was the 2nd mall I frequented.

Broadway Centrum

What was the first? I’ll get to that later. The Centrum had two state of the art theaters (at the time)It had SenSurround, a large screen and loveseats(!)  Some of the movies I watched here were Jaws 2, Superman, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. The Centrum had shops, but nothing really was special except for the 2 cinemas.

Buck Rogers, Jaws 2, Superman The Movie, were some of the movies I watched at Broadway Centrum's Eastside Or Westside Cinemas

Some of the movies I watched either at the Westside or Eastside cinemas of Broadway Centrum

Now  the cinemas were converted to  TV studios for Channel 7 for shows like Eat Bulaga and I think Master Showman. (Walang tulugan!!!) The mall is still there though. (Click here if you want to watch the Buck Rogers opening theme)

As you pass Broadway on you right, heading to Cubao, pass Magnolia, pass Balete drive, on your left would be the famous dept. store Arcegas. Probably only people who lived in QC would remember this st this store. They had the best go-karts, tricycles and bicycles. I had a Patria bike though. They had two theaters there. I watched Carrie there.

Watched the horror flick "Carrie"in Arcegas Cinema.

As you enter Cubao, here is where my childhood memories really kick in. On your left, the 3 theaters, Diamond, Remar, Coronet 1 and 2 welcome you. In Diamond Theater, I remember watching (with my Dad) Terence Hill in “My Name is Nobody.”

Diamond Theater will always be special to me. My dad took me here (on a schoolday no less) to watch this Terence Hill movie.It was my first movie with him. I remember all the movies we watched together in the Cubao cinemas.

Remar Theater was the classiest of the 3 cinemas I mentioned. It had “Sensurround,” the precursor of Dolby digital and THX. Earthquake, Midway and Rollercoaster were movies shot in this kind of sound format.

Some of the movies I watched at Remar Theater

These 3 movies were recorded in Sensurround.

Then in Coronet, I remember lining up with my Dad for Towering Inferno. Years later, I watched Star Wars. While in Coronet, I would always eat at their Ice Cream Place which served burgers wrapped in tin foil. It later would be named  Jollibee Burgers.

The best sci-fi movie ever? The best "disaster" movie ever? I watched both in Cubao theaters

Moving further down, the biggest theater in Asia at that time, New Frontier stood majestically, dwarfing all the other buildings. I watched “The Cassandra Crossing” here. With its large lobby, regal stairs leading up to the balcony, large movie screen, watching at New Frontier was truly an enjoyable experience.

Now abandoned and probably waiting to be torn down, The New Frontier Cinema Theater used to be the biggest cinema in Asia.

"The Cassandra Crossing"

Behind New Frontier was its smaller sister Nation Cinema. You have to pass thru Queens Supermarket to get there.

Beside New Frontier, stood Fiesta Carnival. When mom would go shopping at Rustans Cubao, I would beg her if I can play at Fiesta Carnival. Pretty much what my kids do now when they see a Power Station or Time Zone. I would go jump on the Moonwalk, ride the train, or play at the shooting gallery, to win Tootsie Roll candies.

Rustans Superstore

This was the only picture of Fiesta Carnival I can find. Sayang...

Now, Shopwise stands where Fiesta Carnival used to be. You can still see traces of the old facade and structure.

If I needed school supplies, there were two places to go to. Of course it would be either National Bookstore or Alemars beside Cinema 21.

Alemars was located here beside Cinema 21. Here in Cinema 21, they were not really strict with the "For Adults" movies then. (ex.Katorse w/Dina Bonnevie and Alfie Anido) Hehehe.

Behind it was COD. I never really bought anything in COD, but every Christmas season, we would watch the Christmas show on their balcony of moving mannequins. It’s the same show now being shown at Unimart/Greenhills every Christmas.

COD Dep store in the 70's

I mentioned that Broadway Centrum was my 2nd Mall, my first mall of course is the Ali Mall. LaSallians went to Shoppesville in Greenhills, Ateneans went to Ali Mall in Cubao.(Ngeyek) People  nowadays don’t even know that the mall was named after the famous boxer, “The Greatest,” Muhammad Ali when he fought the Thrilla in Manila in 1974.

The mall named after "The Greatest"

Ali Mall as it looks now.

Nope, I didn’t go nor hang around  Skatetown. I usually went to Shakey’s or watched movies there. I usually ate at Sea Beauty or Big 20 in Ali Mall. Ali Mall also was near the bus terminal, where you would take the Love Bus to go to Quiapo or Makati.

The Love Bus.....

As you leave Cubao and go along Highway 54, you will see Tropical Hut on your right as you cross Ortigas Ave.Y ou can go down to Greenhills to eat at the original Good-Ah or eat at Chew Chew Junction. Prices at Good-Ah there was only P8 for Goto, P7 for tokwa’t baboy, 3P for softdrinks. Change for a twenty, ang sukli,pambili yosi. Camel or Winston Red.

When you reach Makati, Rustans Dep store with it’s blue tiles welcomed you. Further down, beside PECO, was The Rizal Theater. Other places I remember are Erewhon, SM-ACA, Makati Supermart with its famous spaghetti. Haaay, I could go on and on.

Makati in the 70's

Blue-tiled Rustans Makati in the 70's

Rizal Theater in the 60's(?)

Btw, to complete my nostalgic trip, Janice and I ate at the Whistle Stop Restaurant, now  located at the other side of Jupiter. We feasted on old favorites, Mixed Sate and Hainanese Chicken. They had interesting flower vases.

My favorite drink. I used to buy this in the Ateneo Grade school cafeteria for 50 centavos!

Fress Gusto, you'll like it very mucho!!! If i remember correctly, Gary Valenciano was the kid in the commercial.

What do you guys remember? Would love to hear from you…………..

Found most of the Retro pics in the internet, thanks for sharing…


10 thoughts on “Nostalgic Gnews

  1. Hi kuya gary! Wow! You definitely brought us back to the times! I remember a lot of those places and buildings. I also super love Magnolia House!!!!! What i truly miss is spending time lolo joaquin, lola meding…the rest of the family….and hanging out with Ninang joyce at your house. 🙂 thank you for this! I will show my kids and take them for a road trip. 🙂

  2. Ooooopppss!!! sorry, just for a little correction only…Broadway Centrum lies at the corner of Aurora Blvd. and Doña Juana Rodriguez not “Gilmore.” The other nearby known landmark in New Manila is Mt. Carmel Church located along Doña Juana Rodriguez, a probably plus-minus 100 meters away from Broadway. The corner of Gilmore and Aurora, on the other hand, is also known for the location of St. Paul College at the left side heading from Broadway to Cubao. Hope that helps. Nice picture of a treasured memories though.

    As I look at the current picture of Aurora Blvd where a congested traffic became a normal daily scenario and an overhead MRT structure makes me realize the that beauty of Aurora Blvd has gone to live only in the memories. I’m afraid I won’t be able to recognize the corner of the famous Balete Drive or even Seattle street if I would have to visit the place again aboard in a “Dyipney” that goes to and fro on a Cubao/Stop and Shop route after all of these years.

    Nice Post 🙂

  3. I saw the old Magnolia being torn down from above while I was riding the LRT2 train bound for Recto. Imagine my shock as my oily face pressed on the train’s window shouting “NOOOOOOOOOO!!!” (inside my head, of course).

  4. Enjoyed your piece. This is becoming a passion for you and you are doing a good job. I just want to ask what’s the thing with skatetown? (“,)

  5. H gary, thanks for writing this piece. I’m a cubao kid my self and for four years of highschool, i get to pass through the streets where fiesta carnival and rustans used to be. I enjoyed this one. you’re really getting good at this with matching pictures pa! keep it up bro! thanks again 🙂

  6. Nice post, hon. I dont remember the movies you talked about but I remember the old sites in Makati that you mentioned. What I’d like to find our old pics of Chew chew junction (or isnt it CHOO CHOO JUNCTION???). My cousins and I used to go there all the time (usually Candy’s birthday party)- ill ask her if she still has old photos!:) By the way, it’s good to know you didnt frequent Skate town! hahaha!

  7. Gary. Nice piece. From the old days I remember going to AliMall to watch movies too. Yun lang nga PS I Love You, My Only Love, Cross My Heart. Puro yata Ate Shawee. Hahaha

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