Santolan is a quiet little barangay in the second district of Pasig City. Although surrounded by busier areas, this place remains residential and houses one of the biggest populations of the city.
It is common in the Philippines to name a place after something that thrives in the area and Santolan is no different. It got its name from Santol (Lolly fruit) which grew abundantly in the area even before the Spaniards conquered the country.
But that’s not what Santolan is known for. It’s more popular to people for having the last train station of LRT Line 2, thus being one of the most convenient take-off points going to its neighboring cities and provinces such as Marikina, Antipolo and Rizal.
LRT Line 2 goes from East to West of Manila and runs through both LRT Line 1 and MRT Line 3. LRT Line 1’s Doroteo Jose (D. Jose) station and LRT Line 2’s first station, Recto, are connected in one platform so you can easily get off at D. Jose and board the train in Recto which leads straight to Santolan.
If you’re coming from EDSA aboard the MRT Line 3, you can get off at Cubao station, walk through Gateway mall and go to LRT Line 2 Cubao station’s platform and take the train going to Santolan. From Pasig market, you can take a jeepney with the sign boards “Ligaya”or “Marikina Palengke”.
Like typical residential areas, it’s easy to get around Santolan via jeepney, tricycle or taxi.
Being a residential area, Santolan may not seem to be a sightseeing place. However, travelers can visit Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Parish, the church of the barangay’s patron saint, in Evangelista St. It is said that Barangay Santolan was originally named after Sto. Tomas de Villanueva and two other saints; “San” meaning holy, “To” for Tomas (Sto. Tomas de Villanueva”, “L” for Luis (San Luis Gonzaga) and “An” for Antonio (San Antonio de Padua).
Aside from the church, tourists can also visit eateries along Evangelista St. with names that will surely get your attention such as Idol’s Fried, Kainan sa Banda Rito and Cooking ng Ina Mo. These eateries may not be your choice of place to eat but its names will definitely give you a good laugh.
What is there to do in Santolan? Well, you can get married! Glass Garden Special Events Venue is situated in Santolan and is known for its classy ambience where you can get married, have your debut or celebrate your special someone’s birthday. And that’s not all, they also have complete packages that include the catering services, lights and sounds, gowns and photobooths for a stress-free events planning.
If you’re not ready to tie the knot yet, you can instead visit Santolan on New Year’s Eve for their annual celebration of the Pakalog Festival that aims to promote the non-use of firecrackers for New Year’s celebration and to strengthen the camaraderie between residents. They have street dance competitions with contestants coming from different places in the country competing for the hefty amount of cash to be given to the winners. And what is a celebration without food? After the dance competition, residents of Santolan bring out the food they prepared along with around 60 lechon (roasted pig). Yes, that’s right! Sixty lechon that can be shared to everybody! Just make sure to bring your hypertension drugs with you.
Carbs Burger Grille is one of the famous burger joints and go-to for foodies in Santolan. Locals and people even from other cities travel to Santolan to get their hands on the affordable yet beefy burgers this restaurant has to offer. And that is not the only specialty of the house, their Thai Pok-pok Chicken Wings are also the talk of the town with its crunchy outside and moist meat inside.
Another food haven in this part of town is Oliva Bistro Café which offers something you cannot resist- a buy one get one at 50% off promo on Baby Back Ribs! Who can say no to that? Oliva Bistro Café is a one-stop restaurant for those craving Indian, Asian and Western cuisine. Their menu varies from Shish Kebabs to Hainanese Chicken Rice, from Ossobucco Milanese to Linguine with Seafood in Tomato Crème Sauce. Name it, they have it.
Although Santolan is surrounded with clubs and bars, this little barangay still has something to offer. From Mondays to Fridays, you can go to Superbowl Bowling and KTV in A.D. Square Center Building for some ice cold beer and good food. And while you drink the night away, you can also play some games of bowling and billiards or sing your heart out in their karaoke machine. This place is open on weekdays from 12 midnight ‘til 12 noon.
However, if you are looking for fancier nightlife or want to party on a weekend, you can take the taxi or drive for less than a kilometer going to Eastwood, Libis right beside Santolan.
Being a residential area, most places in Santolan are subdivisions and condominiums. Though this place doesn’t offer five-star hotels, they do have our trusty Sogo Hotel that’s always so clean and so good.
Be patient with the public transport. Because the train system in the Philippines is not as convenient and available as other countries’, getting from one point to another may mean you have to take several jeepneys and tricycles.
Bring your medicine. Especially if you are attending the annual Pakalog Festival, make sure you have your maintenance drugs ready because lechon is something you just cannot resist.
Place to go when house hunting. Many places in Santolan are now being developed into condominiums and subdivisions so it’s a good place to start when you’re looking for property investment. Plus, it is surrounded with business districts and party places so going to these places won’t be a hassle.