LATELY, Poblacion in Makati City has become one of the hippest and coolest places to see and be seen in. Declared as a heritage zone in 2012, Poblacion has attracted a new surge of enthusiasm from entrepreneurs who were encouraged to put up their spaces in the area. Now Poblacion is dotted with bars, cafés, restaurants, boutique hotels, and is also home to the art space called Pineapple Lab. But there’s more to see and discover in this hip part of town than nightlife, and through the mobile application called “iDiscover Poblacion,” anyone can now explore the little gems that are waiting to be discovered and re-discovered.
Developed by Urban Discovery and Pineapple Lab, a performance and interdisciplinary space that produces the Fringe Manila, and with support from the British Council and Makati City, the free phone app is an interactive walking tour that helps users discover Poblacion’s creative hubs and cultural spots.
“This acts as a beautiful snapshot of the magic in Poblacion. At the rate things are moving, not only are we connecting the dots between our cultural sites, we’re charting a path of Poblacion’s history alongside its economic and artistic growth,” said Jodinand Aguillon, Pineapple Lab’s executive director.
The iDiscover Poblacion app highlights the stories of the places and the people behind them. The curatorial process — done by residents and business owners — has been a genuine community effort that aims to share what makes the place special, and unlock little-known neighborhood secrets by selecting 30 sites that showcase the heart and soul of the Makati City neighborhood.
“It is important that we get to know our local creative hubs and cultural sites as they are key to building a city’s identity and sense of place,” said Malaya del Rosario, head of Arts and Creative Industries of the British Council.
So where will the map bring its users?
The virtual map will lead people to celebrated heritage sites such as Museo ng Makati, which was the city’s first ever municipal hall and has since become an alternative space for arts-related events and performances. Then there’s also the oldest church in Makati City, Saints Peter and Paul Parish Church, which also celebrates the roots of the district’s vibrant past.
Besides heritage landmarks, iDiscover Poblacion also showcases other establishments like KAPWA Studio, which is an artist-run salon and culture shop along P. Burgos St., and COMMUNE, which is a coffee shop and bar that is home to the city’s major improv comedy groups like SPIT and Third World Improv. This corner café at Polaris St. boasts of a full program that ranges from coffee art workshops, bullet journaling courses, and entrepreneurial talks, alongside the performances.
The brainchild of Urban Discovery, a Hong Kong-based social enterprise, the iDiscovery app offers curated neighborhood walks in several Asian cities, showing locals and visitors the spirit of a place through colorful anecdotes, insiders’ secrets, and community activities.
IDiscover Poblacion is available free for download for iOS and Android or one can also download a free map at www.i-discoverasia.com. — Nickky Faustine P. de Guzman