Imagine driving along C5, northbound. Straight, straight, straight, till you finally reach Katipunan Avenue, the main road in front of the Ateneo de Manila University and Miriam College.
Look to your left, but don’t blink. If you look hard enough, you’ll find an obscure little establishment atop Fat Persian – an establishment alive with noise and lit with what looks like rows of yellow dangling lights glowing through stained glass looking windows.
Roll down your car window as you pass by. You’ll hear faint cheerful noises and music, varying from The Beatles to the Killers and even to Fetty Wap. Close your eyes and imagine it all. It’s an eccentric place, isn’t it?
So imagine that you are standing in front of the building, looking upward at Walrus bar. Walk upstairs to the top floor and trust me, as you enter the bar, you will be struck by a sensation similar to plugging into your music player and pressing play.
So press play.
Walrus, located above Fat Persian and beside Zark’s.
See how they fly like Lucy in the sky
For the past few years, Katipunan has been facing the odd phenomenon of its bars closing down in succession. When I was still studying in the Ateneo, my friends and I would frequent a particular bar, and then to our dismay, it would close down all of a sudden. And so we would move to another place, like tired nomads searching for a home.
It did get a bit tiring at some point, to keep searching for a go-to watering hole, so it was no surprise that we would suddenly blurt out things like, “Why don’t we just open up our own bar?” Obviously, no one actually followed through with that idea. It was an ephemeral ambition of ours, but no one ever really did it.
Until one night, five friends got themselves so drunk that they actually took those words seriously. These friends are Braulio de Castro (Chief of Human Resources), Emilio Tan (Chief of Facilities and Maintenance), Paolo Betita (Chief of Finance), Joanna Kennedy (Chief of Supply Chain and Command), and Zachary Riskin (Chief of Marketing).
Joanna Kennedy, Chief of Supply Chain and Command.
Paola Betita, Chief of Finance.
Braulio de Castro, Chief of Human Resources.
I am the walrus, goo goo g’joob!
Currently, Walrus bar is the go-to bar for college students in the Katipunan area, so much so that the place is packed everyday, and most people are so attached to the bar that they endure standing up in the crowded room just to be there. Since day one, it has always been crowded, and why wouldn’t it be? Walrus bar has this unexplainable magnetism that draws everyone in the bar together, like when a table chants “Happy Birthday” (even though no one has a birthday) and everyone else follows suit.
Clearly, one of the great things that the bar has to offer is its ambiance, which I believe is a difficult thing to translate from the mind to reality. You’d expect from the very song the bar was named after that the vibe would be almost purely psychedelic and trippy, like listening to “I Am the Walrus”, but Walrus actually closely resembles a beach bar. It wasn’t overly doused with the Beatles references, either, though the artwork on the wall is a pleasant exception. I would say that the bar has a chill, eclectic vibe, having a unique aesthetic in comparison to your typical bar.
Mural by Pam Celeridad.