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.
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.
The World Health Organization has an office here
Aimee first took me to Rizal Park, one of Manila’s largest public parks.
It's also called Luneta Park
This used to be filled with water. When viewed from higher ground, it's the geography of the Philippines
We just walked through the park
The National Museum building
That's a statue honouring Lapu Lapu, considered to be Philippines' first national hero
The Orchidarium and Butterfly Pavilion
More national heroes
The Chinese Gardens. They have a Japanese garden too.
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.
Aimee checks where we are
It was time to leave Rizal Park
Aimee took one of photo of me and we moved on
The clock structure you see on the left is called Kilometer Zero. It serves as a point from which every road is measured.
They have horse cart rides around this area, in which they take you all the way to Intramuros and other tourist attractions
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.
We walked to Intramuros next
There's a golf course just outside Intramuros
It was scorching hot by the way
There is no entrance fee for Intramuros
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).
There are many colleges and other educational institutions in Intramuros
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.
This is a really popular venue for weddings and events
Office of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts
A few people still call Intramuros their home
There are two main attractions inside Intramuros. One, the Manila Cathedral and two, the above -- San Agustin Church, the oldest church in Manila.
Intramuros still retains many of the colonial architecture
Despite the modern offerings, the overall classic look is still retained
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 is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Hotel Intramuros inside
We walked towards the Manila Cathedral
We went in
While Aimee prayed, I continued shooting
I love gothic architecture. Heck, I like all good architecture.
Panorama comprised of 8 shots
Panorama comprised of 4 shots
Panorama comprised of 6 shots
I have always been enamored by glass art like this
A little bit of history about the very old pipe organ
There's a section of the church dedicated to historical trivia and relics
More wonderful glass paintings
Panorama comprised of 5 shots
We decided to leave
Carvings on the heavy wooden doors of the cathedral
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.
Aimee took me next to Fort Santiago. Entrance fee was a steep PHP75.
The fort is of historical importance because it was where national hero Jose Rizal was imprisoned before his death
We walked along the walls
The view from the Fort
Chambers used to hold prisoners
Got distracted by Pasig river
There were children jumping into the river for a swim
Anyway, back to Fort Santiago.
People throw coins into these chambers now... I don't know why
Walked around to the side where you had these dungeons
The man himself, Jose Rizal
They re-trace Rizal's final steps before he was executed by the Spaniards
We left Fort Santiago
We walked past Manila Cathedral again
We walked back to San Agustin church hoping the wedding would have been over by now…
... but it wasn't. So I took a photo of the door and left.
HQ of the Associated Marine Officers and Seamen's Union of the Philippines
We decided to have lunch
Stepped inside a small eatery and had some Filipino food. Totally came to PHP62 ($1.4/€1)
We resumed our walk
We finally decided to leave Intramuros
We left via another exit
Manila Post Office building
The Manila Metropolitan Theater, renovated many times over but hardly in use nowadays
Aimee and I now walked towards 'Chinatown,' known locally as Binondo
We walked across a bridge
The bridge was decorated with lights...and graffiti
Not a very glamorous entrance, but apparently Manila's Chinatown is the oldest in the world
This is the most famous street in Chinatown
Ongpin is what it's called
A lot of jewelry stores here
Betting on horse races is a popular pass time for many (broke) locals
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, my wonderful 'guide' throughout Manila. She enjoys walking a lot just as much as I do.
Those photos make them look like wanted criminals. Oh wait, politicians, same thing.
One shot of yours truly before leaving Chinatown
Chinatown gets cool looking purple fire trucks!
Since a lot of affluent businessmen in Manila are Chinese, kidnappings are high. Aimee told me they have security cameras installed on this street.
At the end of Ongpin street is Binondo church, also known as Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz
Today was Easter Sunday
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.
We got down near Pedro Gil MRT and walked up the road
Passed by the Supreme Court
We went inside one of Manila's most popular malls
Plus we felt like soaking up some a/c
Despite being a few years old, Robinsons Place is still very popular
We stepped out of the mall and made our way towards the bay
We sat on the ledge and gave our feet a break.
The white building is the United States Embassy
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.
That's Hotel H2O, part of Manila Ocean Park
The sunset was wonderful, as always. Look how golden the water is.
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.
We walked back to Malate.
Easter Sunday prayers still going on
We went back to Robinsons Place because I now needed to look for something for my lens *cough*Aimee'sfault*cough*
Scanned a lot of electronics stores but no luck
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)
Tags: aimee marie, binondo, cathedral, chinatown, intramuros, jose rizal, long walk, mall, manila, manila bay, ongpin, philippines, rizal park, robinsons place, spanish, sunset