Philippines 2011: Day 8 – Manila tour: Rizal Park, Intramuros, Manila Cathedral, China Town

Date: April 24th, 2011

Sunday, the concluding seventh day of my first week in Philippines. Today’s itinerary involved meeting my friend Aimee, and then letting her show me around Manila’s famous landmarks.

UN Avenue metro station Manila Philippines
Aimee asked me to get down at U.N. Avenue MRT station (taken on my Nokia E72)

After meeting her at a nearby 7-11, we stocked up on fluids and Aimee told me why its named U.N. Avenue.

UN Avenue Manila Philippines
The World Health Organization has an office here

Aimee first took me to Rizal Park, one of Manila’s largest public parks.

Rizal Luneta park Manila Philippines
It's also called Luneta Park
Rizal Park islands geography display Manila
This used to be filled with water. When viewed from higher ground, it's the geography of the Philippines

Metro Manila skyline buildings Rizal Park Philippines

Rizal Park Sunday morning Manila Philippines
We just walked through the park
National Museum Rizal park Manila Philippines
The National Museum building
Rizal Park Lapu Lapu statue Manila Philippines
That's a statue honouring Lapu Lapu, considered to be Philippines' first national hero
The Orchidarium Manila Philippines
The Orchidarium and Butterfly Pavilion

Rizal Park road Manila Philippines

Rizal park Philippines National heroes Manila
More national heroes
Chinese garden Rizal park Luneta Manila
The Chinese Gardens. They have a Japanese garden too.
Rizal Park Luneta monument Manila Philippines
This monument is in honour of Philippines' greatest patriot, Jose Rizal. It was on these grounds the revolutionary was executed by the Spanish, who colonized Philippines at the time.

Rizal Park statue Manila Philippines

Rizal park map layout Aimee Marie Manila Philippines
Aimee checks where we are

Rizal Park Philippines flag mast Manila hotel Roxas Boulevard

Jose Rizal park Luneta monument Manila Philippines
It was time to leave Rizal Park
Rizal Luneta monument Mithun Manila Philippines
Aimee took one of photo of me and we moved on
Kilometer zero Rizal park Manila Philippines
The clock structure you see on the left is called Kilometer Zero. It serves as a point from which every road is measured.
Horse chariot ride Roxas boulevard Manila Philippines
They have horse cart rides around this area, in which they take you all the way to Intramuros and other tourist attractions
Manila Hotel Roxas boulevard Philippines
The oldest hotel in Manila. Manila Hotel has seen everybody from The Beatles to John F. Kennedy among other famous guests. In other words, a very expensive place to people like you and me.
Plant trees outside Intramuros golf club Manila Philippines
We walked to Intramuros next
Tree plantation Intramuros golf club Manila Philippines
There's a golf course just outside Intramuros
Intramuros pavement sun shade Manila Philippines
It was scorching hot by the way

Department of labor and employment Intramuros Manila Philippines

Intramuros main entrance Sunday Manila Philippines
There is no entrance fee for Intramuros
Intramuros entrance panorama Manila Philippines
Panorama comprised of 9 shots

Intramuros literally means “walled city” and was created during Spanish colonial rule. It’s the oldest district in Manila and one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions. It was built to keep invaders away, although, it eventually failed to do so as years progressed).

Intramuros road school zone Manila Philippines

College of Nursing Intramuros Manila Philippines
There are many colleges and other educational institutions in Intramuros

Silahis arts artifacts Intramuros Manila PhilippinesVictoria Intramuros road Manila Philippines

Colegio De Santa Potenciana Manila Red Cross Intramuros Philippines
This building was formerly the Colegio De Santa Potenciana, the first girl's college in Manila. Now it's used as the office for the Philippines Red Cross.
Patio Victoria Intramuros Manila Philippines
This is a really popular venue for weddings and events
NCCA office Intramuros Manila Philippines
Office of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts
Intramuros filipino children playing Manila Philippines
A few people still call Intramuros their home
San Agustin church back walls Intramuros Manila Philippines
There are two main attractions inside Intramuros. One, the Manila Cathedral and two, the above -- San Agustin Church, the oldest church in Manila.

San Agustin road Intramuros Manila Philippines

Urdaneta house Intramuros Manila Philippines
Intramuros still retains many of the colonial architecture

Intramuros building corner brick roads Manila Philippines

Jojie's jasper classic photography building Intramuros Manila
Despite the modern offerings, the overall classic look is still retained

Intramuros Spanish colonial design door Manila Philippines

San Agustin church cars parked Intramuros Manila Philippines
I wanted to check out San Agustin church, but unfortunately (for me) there was a wedding scheduled for today, being a Sunday that too.
San Agustin church world heritage site Intramuros Philippines
San Agustin church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Barbara's hotel Intramuros Manila Philippines
Hotel Intramuros inside

The papier tole shop classic Spanish building Intramuros

Ironcon builders road to Manila cathedral Intramuros Philippines
We walked towards the Manila Cathedral

Building Intramuros Manila PhilippinesManila Cathedral Intramuros Philippines

Manila Cathedral front Intramuros Manila Philippines
We went in
Manila Cathedral hall praying Intramuros Philippines
While Aimee prayed, I continued shooting
Manila cathedral hall gothic architecture Intramuros
I love gothic architecture. Heck, I like all good architecture.

Manila cathedral architecture design interiors PhilippinesManila cathedral Mother Mary Intramuros Philippines

Manila Cathedral interiors ceiling dome Intramuros Philippines
Panorama comprised of 8 shots
Manila Cathedral mother mary statue glass art Philippines
Panorama comprised of 4 shots

Manila cathedral benches Intramuros PhilippinesManila Cathedral organ pipes Intramuros Philippines

Manila Cathedral organ pipes panorama
Panorama comprised of 6 shots
Manila cathedral Christian glass art window Philippines
I have always been enamored by glass art like this
Manila Cathedral pipe organ history
A little bit of history about the very old pipe organ
Manila cathedral pipe organ musical scores
There's a section of the church dedicated to historical trivia and relics

Christian statue Manila Cathedral panorama

Manila cathedral glass painting church Philippines
More wonderful glass paintings

Manila Cathedral mary glass art window PhilippinesManila Cathedral statue glass art window PhilippinesManila Cathedral glass painting Christian art Philippines

Manila cathedral pillars panorama
Panorama comprised of 5 shots

Glass painting art church Manila Cathedral PhilippinesManila Cathedral benches glass art PhilippinesManila cathedral chandeliers dome Intramuros Philippines

Manila Cathedral hall benches Intramuros
We decided to leave
Manila cathedral door carving Philippines
Carvings on the heavy wooden doors of the cathedral

Manila Cathedral door caring Intramuros

Manila Cathedral Intramuros Philippines panorama
Attempted the fish-eye look

Walking out of the cathedral and past some of the ‘No to RH Bill’ banners around, I couldn’t help but turn the conversation about the controversial RH bill. Aimee told me how, even to this day, the Catholic church has such an influence over the people and policies in Philippines. The RH bill is basically aiming to promote the use of contraceptives and family planning in a bid to control population growth.

But what was even more shocking news to me was when Aimee told me divorce is yet to be legalized in Philippines! I mean, I considered a predominantly Christian country to be far more progressive in many regards, besides being educated. Clearly that wasn’t the case in Philippines. Now all the single pregnant women I saw across Philippines made sense. It’s like men abuse the law (or the lack of it) because they know there is little the woman can do.

Casa Rocha Intramuros Manila PhilippinesIntramuros house flower pots ManilaIntramuros building Manila Philippines

Intramuros way to Fort Santiago Manila
Aimee took me next to Fort Santiago. Entrance fee was a steep PHP75.

Fort Santiago garden sculpture Intramuros Manila

Fort Santiago wall Intramuros Manila Philippines
The fort is of historical importance because it was where national hero Jose Rizal was imprisoned before his death

Fort Santiago pool Intramuros Manila Fort Santiago history fact Manila PhilippinesFort Santiago entrance Intramuros ManilaFort Santiago plants vines ManilaFort Santiago brick wall Manila

Fort Santiago wall path Intramuros Manila
We walked along the walls
View from Fort Santiago Manila
The view from the Fort
Fort Santiago prison cells Manila
Chambers used to hold prisoners
Pasig river behind Fort Santiago Manila Philippines
Got distracted by Pasig river
Pasig river slum children swimming Manila Philippines
There were children jumping into the river for a swim

Manila children jumping in Pasig river Philippines Tugboats Pasig river Manila PhilippinesAnyway, back to Fort Santiago.

Fort Santiago coins prison Manila
People throw coins into these chambers now... I don't know why
Fort Santiago dungeons Manila Philippines
Walked around to the side where you had these dungeons

Palm trees Fort Santiago Manila Philippines

Jose Rizal statue Fort Santiago Intramuros Manila
The man himself, Jose Rizal

Rajah Sulayman Theater Fort Santiago Manila Philippines

Jose Rizal's steps Fort Santiago Philippines
They re-trace Rizal's final steps before he was executed by the Spaniards

Fort Santiago Rizal last walk map Intramuros

Rizal's final steps Fort Santiago Philippines Rizal last walk golden steps Intramuros PhilippinesFort Santiago Rizal last walk ManilaFort Santiago water pool Philippines flagFort Santiago ducks pond ManilaIntramuros tram ride Manila Philippines

House near Fort Santiago Intramuros Manila
We left Fort Santiago

Brick road Intramuros Manila Philippines

Manila Cathedral zebra crossing Intramuros Philippines
We walked past Manila Cathedral again

Manila Cathedral ambulance Intramuros Philippines Old building Intramuros Manila PhilippinesIntramuros graffiti Manila PhilippinesGraffiti Intramuros walls Manila PhilippinesTamayo's catering building Intramuros Manila PhilippinesWe walked back to San Agustin church hoping the wedding would have been over by now…

San Agustin church door wooden carving Intramuros
... but it wasn't. So I took a photo of the door and left.
Marine Officer's Seamen Union Philippines Manila
HQ of the Associated Marine Officers and Seamen's Union of the Philippines
Houses Intramuros Manila Philippines
We decided to have lunch
Filipino food chicken gravy beans rice Intramuros Manila
Stepped inside a small eatery and had some Filipino food. Totally came to PHP62 ($1.4/€1)
Intramuros alley Manila Philippines
We resumed our walk

Intramuros arches Manila PhilippinesSan Francisco building Intramuros ManilaIntramuros Lyceum road Manila PhilippinesLyceum Philippines University Intramuros ManilaIntramuros wall ramp ManilaBrick wall boundary IntramurosIntramuros kids playing ManilaIntramuros dormitory better billiards ManilaHerald newspapers building Intramuros ManilaIntramuros wall walk ManilaIntramuros wall walk Manila Philippines

Intramuros exit entrance Manila
We finally decided to leave Intramuros
Intramuros entrance under the bridge Manila
We left via another exit
Manila post office building fountain Philippines
Manila Post Office building
Manila Metropolitan Theater Philippines
The Manila Metropolitan Theater, renovated many times over but hardly in use nowadays
Way to Chinatown Manila
Aimee and I now walked towards 'Chinatown,' known locally as Binondo
Chinatown bridge Manila
We walked across a bridge

Bridge to Chinatown Manila Philippines

Bridge to Chinatown graffiti Manila
The bridge was decorated with lights...and graffiti
Pasig river Manila Philippines
Pasig river
Way to Chinatown fountain Manila
Not a very glamorous entrance, but apparently Manila's Chinatown is the oldest in the world
Arch of Goodwill Chinatown entrance Manila
This is the most famous street in Chinatown
Ongpin street Chinatown Manila Philippines
Ongpin is what it's called
Ongpin jewelry center Chinatown Manila
A lot of jewelry stores here
Chinatown betting OTB locals Manila
Betting on horse races is a popular pass time for many (broke) locals

Chinatown Manila afternoon PhilippinesGolden stone KTV Chinatown Manila

Hopia mooncakes Filipino sweets Chinatown Manila
We (okay, okay... I) got distracted by the sweet smell of fresh hopias (mooncakes) being made at this bakery. Ended up buying a pack.
Aimee Marie Chinatown vegetable market Manila Philippines
Aimee, my wonderful 'guide' throughout Manila. She enjoys walking a lot just as much as I do.

Royal garden far eastern moon cake Chinatown ManilaChinatown bridge ManilaBlack spots polluted river Chinatown ManilaChinatown residential apartments Manila Philippines

Election posters criminal mugshots Chinatown Manila
Those photos make them look like wanted criminals. Oh wait, politicians, same thing.
Manila Chinatown Mithun Divakaran Philippines
One shot of yours truly before leaving Chinatown

Ongpin street Chinese god worship Manila

Chinatown purple fire engines Manila
Chinatown gets cool looking purple fire trucks!
Chinatown Ongpin street security cameras Manila
Since a lot of affluent businessmen in Manila are Chinese, kidnappings are high. Aimee told me they have security cameras installed on this street.
Binodo church Ongpin street Manila
At the end of Ongpin street is Binondo church, also known as Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz
Binodo church Sunday prayers Manila
Today was Easter Sunday
Binondo church Chinatown Manila Philippines
The church was first erected in 1596, making it one of the oldest churches in Manila

Aimee decided it was enough of walking. She and I got into a jeepney and we thought of watching the sunset at Manila Bay.

Pedro Gil road to Robinsons Place Malate Manila
We got down near Pedro Gil MRT and walked up the road
Philippines Supreme court Manila Malate
Passed by the Supreme Court
Robinsons Place mall Malate Manila Philippines
We went inside one of Manila's most popular malls
Robinsons Place mall Cabalen Malate Manila Philippines
Plus we felt like soaking up some a/c
Robinsons Place mall elevator fountain Manila
Despite being a few years old, Robinsons Place is still very popular
Malate jeepney trike
We stepped out of the mall and made our way towards the bay
Roxas boulevard road Manila bay evening
Roxas boulevard

Manila Bay high rise buildings PhilippinesWe sat on the ledge and gave our feet a break.

Manila Bay American Embassy Philippines
The white building is the United States Embassy
Manila Bay sunset Aimee Marie Manila
A big thanks to this girl for making the most of my day. I don't think I could have seen everything that I saw today for less than 100 pesos if it weren't for her.
Hotel H2O Manila Ocean park Philippines
That's Hotel H2O, part of Manila Ocean Park
Manila sunset golden sea Philippines
The sunset was wonderful, as always. Look how golden the water is.
Manila Bay Dog walking Philippines
The whole experience is a nice one, even for dogs

Except for a tiny incident which abruptly disappointed me… but I promised Aimee I wouldn’t mention it in the blog. So anyway, time to leave.

Roxas Boulevard hotel Manila bay lights at nightRoxas blvd at night Manila bay Philippines

Roxas boulevard at night Manila Bay Philippines

We walked back to Malate.

Rajah statue fountain Manila Bay Philippines sunset

Malate Church manila bay Philippines
Malate Church
Malate Church sunday evening mass Manila Philippines
Easter Sunday prayers still going on
Robinson Place levels Manila Philippines
We went back to Robinsons Place because I now needed to look for something for my lens *cough*Aimee'sfault*cough*
Robinson Place mall stores Manila Philippines
Scanned a lot of electronics stores but no luck
Jailbreak services chicken Robinsons Place mall Manila
By the way, saw this at some store at Robinsons. I get everything mentioned here... except for the 'chicken' part. Could somebody tell me what it is?

We eventually left the mall as it was getting late for Aimee. We said our goodbyes and she told me which jeepney to get into to head back to Pasay, where I was staying at the Kabayan Hotel.

So that was my Sunday in Manila. Lots of photos, I know! Tomorrow, I begin the second leg of my journey across the Philippines and for the next seven days, it’s all islands. So here come the blue waters!

Previous posts in this series:

Philippines 2011: Day 7 – Leaving Angeles City for Manila, Mall of Asia

Philippines 2011: Day 6 – Good Friday in San Fernando, San Pedro Cutud Lenten Rites

Philippines 2011: Leaving Sagada for Baguio, and arriving in Angeles city (Days 4 & 5)

Philippines 2011: Day 3 – Sagada’s Lumiang burial cave, Sumaguing cave, Hanging Coffins of Echo valley

Philippines 2011: Day 3 – Banaue town; heading to Sagada via Bontoc

Philippines 2011: Day 2 – Banaue rice terraces; trekking to Batad village

Philippines 2011: Day 1 — Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Fort Bonifacio

Philippines 2011: Flying over South China Sea for the first time

Other posts in this series:

Philippines 2011: Day 9 – Cebu: Fort San Pedro, Basilica of Santo Niño, Taoist Temple

Philippines 2011: Day 10 – Bohol tour: Chocolate Hills, Loboc river cruise, Tarsiers, churches

Philippines 2011: Day 11 – Arriving in Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Philippines 2011: Day 12 – Puerto Princesa Underground River tour, Palawan

Philippines 2011: Day 13 – Puerto Princesa to El Nido by bus

Philippines 2011: Day 14 – El Nido island hopping tour A and sunset at Las Cabanas beach, Palawan

Philippines 2011: Back to Manila, shopping, and my final thoughts about the country  (Last post)

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  • Charles


    GREAT pictures. I lived in Manila for one year, your pictures were my daily sites. You made me homesick, but I was so glad to take your photo tour. Thank you so much for the post. Charles


  • Paul


    Some solid pics but a lot of them could be better. Consider taking a photography class.


  • doi


    hahaha. i laughed hard at the chicken.


  • thefloatingclouds


    You took us on a long tour through your pictures. You could consider breaking these into multiple posts, perhaps next time. The Kilometre Zero is interesting. And what happened to the first girl’s college!


  • Sarah


    Great pictures. I love the way you vividly describe your trips-detailed and lively. I went to the Philippines last year and I stayed in the Manila hotel. It was not an expensive hotel but I can tell you that it is one of the best hotels that I’ve ever stayed so far in the whole world.


    Mithun Divakaran Reply:

    Oh, given its vintage repute, I figured the Manila Hotel would be really expensive.


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