August 3, 2010

Coming Back to Manila

Manila is just a stone's throw away from my place but it's one city in the metropolis (Metro Manila is composed of 16 cities) that I seldom visit. Having an extra day for my weekend, I decided to visit the city - founded in 1571 - and see the sights that we locals take for granted.

The trip is mostly on foot, and utilized public transportation. From my apartment, I took the light rail to Recto Avenue and visited the San Sebastian church - the only steel church in Asia. From there I swung by Quiapo through the historic Plaza Miranda and the Basilica of the Black Nazarene.

Going through the busy thoroughfare of Carriedo, Binondo is next. Called Parian by the Spaniards, Binondo is the location of the Chinatown - purportedly the oldest in the world.

From Binondo, I took a jeepney and went to see the pre-war neo-classical architecture in the Intramuros area, including the Manila Central Post Office, the National Museum of the Philippines, and the Manila City Hall.

I took another jeepney to a mall to rest when the sun became unbearably hot, then went back to Rizal Park. Known as Luneta to the locals, Rizal Park holds a significant place to the history of the Philippines. This is the place where the national hero, Jose Rizal, was executed by the Spaniards in 1896, and the site where the Philippines declared independence from the United States in 1946.

I originally intended to stay until sundown to catch the famous Manila Bay sunset but the weather has other plans.

pics, from top: Manila City Hall, the Rizal Monument, a balloon seller in Rizal Park, the National Museum of the Philippines, the Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, the KKK monument near Mehan Garden

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