Among the many interesting places in San Juan are the Pinaglabanan Shrine, which marks the 1897 battle of the Philippine Revolution, and the Greenhills Shopping Center, a popular bargain mall for consumer electronics, clothing and other merchandise.
The city also has several notable places of worship. Saint John the Baptist Parish, more commonly known as "PinaglabananChurch", is where the city's patron saint, John the Baptist, is enshrined. The Santuario del Santo Cristo Church is the settlement's oldest existing church, while Mary the Queen Parish in West Greenhills serves the local Filipino-Chinesecommunity, and is a popular venue for weddings.
From 1925-1971, the Iglesia ni Cristo once headquartered in the town at its former Central Office Complex, now known as the Locale of F. Manalo. It features Art-Deco designed ensembles, crafted by National Artist for Architecture Juan Nakpil. The Chapel is the centerpiece of the Complex, which also contains the old Central Office and Pastoral House which was the home of the church's first Executive Minister, Ka Felix Manalo, along with other Ministers and Evangelical Workers. When Manalo died in 1963, a Mausoleum was constructed on the grounds of the Complex by Architect Carlos Santos-Viola.
Given their city's role in the 1896 Revolution, San Juaneños are known for their fierce patriotism and localism. They for the most part choose to stay within city limits for work, education, and residence. Popular perception is that locals prefer to introduce new businesses and franchises to San Juan instead of patronising similar establishments located just outside the city boundaries. An effect of this is that San Juan is known for its increasing number of small- to medium-sized restaurants that are often independent of larger, more established chains. These restaurants vary in their offerings, ranging from non-mainstream international cuisine to vegetarian food, as well as several cake shops and dessert cafés.
San Juan is renowned for its celebration of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist every 24 June. In a nod to the saint's characteristic act, San Juaneños engage in Basaan ("wetting"), where revellers splash people with water. Devotees and residents believe that getting wet during the Basaan brings blessings, and that it is antisocial to be irate when doused. Pedestrians and vehicles with open windows are favourite targets, and in recent years an ordinance curtailing the Basaan at noon was enacted after complaints from non-residents and commuters.
Basaan is also practised in other Filipino towns that honour John the Baptist as patron, such as San Juan, Batangas, andCalumpit, Bulacan. The festival was officially named Wattah-Wattah Festival (a corruption of "water-water") by former Mayor (now Senator) JV Ejército. The revelry is similar in form yet unrelated to the merrymaking done during the Thai festival ofSongkran and the Hindu feast of Holi.
The old city hall of San Juan is located at Nicanor Domingo street corner Antonio Luna street. It is preserved for historical purposes, and stands in front of San Juan Medical Center. The new city hall is located at Pinaglabanan street corner Doctor P.A. Narciso street, fronting the Pinaglabanan Shrine and near Saint John the Baptist Parish. It began operation in February 2013.
|Awit ng San Juan||Literal English translation|
Sa dilím ng gabi nitong Bayang Hinirang
In the dark of this Chosen Nation's night