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Manila Chinese Cemetery houses

Philippines: Manila Chinese Cemetery – what it’s like inside

Date: May 14th 2014

After my Corregidor island tour, I took a break the following day to do some shopping in Manila. Today, I chose to spend my afternoon checking out Manila’s Chinese Cemetery. My ‘first’ Pinay friend Aimee told me about the cemetery and she suggested I check it out. That was back in 2011. Well, three years later, here I am.

Getting to the Chinese Cemetery wasn’t as easy. I mean, if you get to Abad Santos station, you will see the cemetery right away… but it’s finding the right entrance that’s the challenge. I got down at Abad Santos but when I couldn’t find an entrance nearby, I asked the staff at the LRT and they told I had to go to R. Papa, the very next station! Annoyed, I took the train to R.Papa.

Manila Chinese cemetery North Gate
I walked out of R. Papa station, by the road… and all I saw were the closed gates at the north entrance. Ugh.
Boundary wall Chinese cemetery Manila
I wondered how the heck I could get in. There was no one I could ask either.

Annoyed, I walked back and found myself walking through a barangay(?).

Manila barangay fiesta decorations Philippines
I just kept walking around assuming there would be an entrance to the cemetery somewhere behind
Stage barangay event Manila
But I couldn’t go much further because the road was blocked with this stage set up
Kids barangay Manila Philippines
So I walked back

I walked back to R. Papa where a bunch of tricycle taxi drivers accosted me asking where I want to go. I didn’t feel like wasting time anymore so I just hopped into one, bargained it down to 30 pesos and asked the guy to take me to the right entrance of the Manila Chinese Cemetery.

Manila Chinese Cemetery south gate entrance
The tricycle rode all the way back to Abad Santos station and then passed it to take a left. Another left turn and voila: I was at the right entrance!

The security guard at the entrance asked me where I was from and I replied saying I’m not from media, just a tourist. There is no entrance fee or anything, so one can just walk in. But as soon as I went in, a older guy approached me and asked me if I wanted a guide. He said he would show me around the cemetery in a bike and tell me all about the people buried here. How much? ₱800 (₹1100/$17/€14) he said. I said no. I even asked him if he was an official guide here.

I walked further inside… and another “guide” approached me. He offered to take me around for just ₱400. At this point I was doubting these “guides”. So I just said no to the second guy as well. Then this second fellow went and urinated beside a grave house.

Man peeing Manila Chinese Cemetery
I’m not kidding. That’s the guy, in red, peeing outside someone’s grave.
Manila Chinese Cemetery houses
Oh, by the way, these are not houses… but graves

Continue reading “Philippines: Manila Chinese Cemetery – what it’s like inside” »

Topside barracks Corregidor island panorama

Philippines: Corregidor Island tour

Date: May 12th 2014

I got up early and took a taxi to the Cultural Center of Philippines building. Today I was going to go to Corregidor island, used by US forces as a defense base and a key island in the Philippine battles against the Japanese in World War II.

Cultural Center of Philippines building Manila
This is the CCP building, close to Manila Bay
CCP complex road Manila
I got down behind the CCP building and walked towards the right
Sun cruise terminal Manila Philippines
Eventually you come across signs pointing to the Sun Cruises office. Although the ferry leaves at 8am, you are asked to ‘check in’ by 7am or so.

If you want to do a tour of Corregidor island, you really don’t have much choice besides going via Sun Cruises. They have a monopoly over the ferry service to Corregidor island and tours conducted there. I paid ₱2200 (Rs.3000/$48/€38) for the day tour. I couldn’t find anything less from any other tour provider. You can get the fact sheet about the island here.

Sun Cruise cyclists Correigidor ferry
Sun Cruises offer cycle tours to Corregidor island too
Manila city from sea
We left the dock
Inside Sun Cruise ferry Correigidor tour
I took this photo before departure, but it was pretty full by the time we left
Cycles ferry view Manila city
The view of Manila skyline from sea
Corregidor island Bataan Philippines
30 minutes later, I could see Corregidor island in the distance

During WW2, Corregidor island was seized by Japanese forces and used it to house American and Filipino POWs. Continue reading “Philippines: Corregidor Island tour” »

Soldier statues Japanese tunnel Davao Philippines

Philippines: Japanese tunnel; leaving Davao for Manila

Date: May 7, 2014

Today was my last day in Davao. I checked out early from Green Windows Dormitel because instead of heading straight to the airport, I instead decided to carry all my bags, take a taxi and visit the Japanese World War II tunnel in Davao.

The tunnel is now situated inside a resort that goes by the name of D’Japanese Tunnel Family Resort. Like every attraction in Davao, it’s a bit of a drive away from the city.

Davao island highway Philippines
As the taxi kept on riding for around half an hour, I wondered if I would be late for my flight as the Japanese Tunnel is not in the same direction as the airport.

Once I reached D’Japanese Tunnel Family Resort, the entrance to the tunnel was pretty much visible from the gate. It’s basically a resort built around the tunnel. I went to the resort’s eception desk and bought the entry ticket for the Japanese tunnel. It costs ₱50 for adults, ₱20 for children.

D' Japanese tunnel entrance Davao
This is the entrance, the reception was to the right.
Entering Japanese war tunnel Davao
There is a guide that comes along with you
Japanese tunnel Davao Philippines
This tunnel was built in 1942, during World War II, when the Japanese had captured Davao and used the island in its fight to capture the remaining Pacific islands.
Japanese world war tunnel Davao
It’s 300 metres long
Jail cell Japanese tunnel Davao
The tunnel was used by Japanese soldiers during the war as an underground base. This is a mini-shrine, a prayer area of sorts
Soldier statues Japanese tunnel Davao Philippines
And this is how a Japanese soldier used to look like in those days
Prison cell Japanese tunnel Davao
A mini-prison cell. This is where they would sometimes keep prisoners of war. Yeah, it wasn’t meant to be comfortable.
Japanese World War 2 tunnel Davao Philippines
We proceeded further, and it got cooler

Continue reading “Philippines: Japanese tunnel; leaving Davao for Manila” »

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