For those unaware, streaming giant Netflix just released an animated adaptation of Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo’s Trese comic (check out our review here). Ever since it was announced, it became one of the most anticipated shows in the Philippines. Aside from the fact that the story centers around the country’s very rich folklore – Be it supernatural, diabolical or mythological, it also inspired a lot of locations based on real-life places in the Metro that I’m sure fans will instantly recognize in all its animated glory.
Here are some of the areas we spotted.
Fair warning: While we won’t give out any major story plots, the locations and episode numbers mentioned will possibly give you some very light spoilers.
Straight out of the pilot episode, the series paints a somewhat captivating picture of Roxas Boulevard in both day and night times, seen from Manila Bay. Noticing both pictures above, if I squint hard enough I can almost imagine the Philippine Flag. Though in this scenario, the red side is placed on top, which indicates a war.
MRT Line 3 in EDSA
Serving as one of the main transport options you can squeeze yourself into (literally), the MRT Line 3 is an electric railway system that follows the line along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), probably the most traversed highway in the Philippines. True to form, the first few minutes of the pilot episode sees the iconic train break down in the middle of the elevated track, which forces the commuters to walk on the railings. How’s that for accuracy?
I personally call it “the tin can that can”.
BONUS: A famous bee can easily be spotted in the background.
Known for its tall buildings and malls (not to mention heavy traffic), Ortigas has been one of Metro Manila’s biggest and busiest commercial areas. If you look at the background, you can also see the Mountains of Rizal. This scene is also in the first episode.
Dela Rosa Avenue in Makati
Right in the country’s top financial district, Dela Rosa Avenue really is one busy street. I mainly come here not for business, but for food. This area was shown in episode 1. It is also worth noting that the footbridge that crosses Paseo cor. Dela Rosa simply doesn’t seem to exist IRL.
Meralco Building in Ortigas
Still in Ortigas Avenue, this building in the series houses the Bagyon Tribe’s main base of operations. In real-life, Meralco is Metro Manila’s main electric power distributor, and the name itself is an acronym for Manila Electric Railroad and Light Company. This is seen in episode 2.
Balete Drive in New Manila, Quezon City
A very popular street found in New Manila, Quezon City. Balete Drive is widely known for its urban legends – mainly its namesake’s Balete Trees which is said to be a home for ghosts and mysterious creatures.
In the very first episode, it clearly showed a street sign showing the corner of Balete Drive and 13th Street. In reality though, being a resident of the area, I know for a fact the place simply does not exist. A quick map search sees the popular street actually stop at 11th, going to E. Rodriguez Sr. Ave. But hey, I get the reason they made it like this in the fictional series. I personally think of this as a portal of some sorts for spirits to travel from their place to another!
Magna Mall (SM Megamall)
Based on arguably the most popular mall in the Philippines, in the third episode of Trese they feature the popular shopping center and call it Magna Mall. In real-life, SM Megamall can be found right at the heart of EDSA along with other establishments such as Robinson’s Galleria and Shangri-La Plaza.
ABC-ZNN (ABS-CBN in Diliman, Quezon City)
ABC-ZNN is Trese’s own version of the media company known as ABS-CBN, and it can be seen in the series’ third episode.
In a promotional bit, the media network’s building was actually decorated to be transformed into the fictional company. Now that’s how you promote a show!
Recto Avenue in Manila
Known for its chain of universities and numerous markets, Recto Avenue has really been a staple of Manila culture and is dripping with history at every corner. In the series, though not specifically mentioned, the images above could be based on the iconic street itself… That or it also could be one of the boulevard or offshoot roads that intersect with it (I’m trying to look at the signs at the Jeepney in the screencaps to no avail, haha).
If you look hard enough on the image above, you can also find one of the oldest malls there known as Isetan.
New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa
Found in Muntinpula, Metro Manila, the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) is a penitentiary designed to hold the prison population of the Philippines. This particular place can be seen in episode 5.
And that’s that! What other famous places from the series have you spotted? I’m sure there are still some I haven’t noticed during my first pass at watching*.
If you haven’t watched it yet, Trese is now streaming on Netflix! After watching all six episodes, I would encourage you to also watch its supplementary show called the Trese After Dark which serves as a deep-dive into all things Trese.
*(Yes, I plan to watch this multiple times, with different dubs).