Category Archives: Manila

Fort Santiago: A Spanish Fortress within the Walled City

During the Spanish era, not only did the Spaniards create a walled city which is known as Intramuros, they also created a fortress that lies on the endmost portion of their walled city. This Fortress is where they hide there arsenals and where Spanish soldiers rest and guard the city throughout the day.

The entrance fee is P75.00 for adults while P50.00 for children and students (just present your i.d.).

The Fortress is strong enough to wade off invaders like Chinese pirates and some other nationalities who also thinks the same way as the Spaniards—that the newly centralized Philippines is such a great place! — a lot of reserves and spices.

The Fortress has also a moat to delay invaders and lots and lots of walls where canons are located…

the Moat in Fort Santiago
Canons found in Fort Santiago
Canons

Fort Santiago had became a part of our history, not only it was present during the Spanish colonization centuries ago, it was also present during the World War II, where the Japanese almost destroyed all of what is left to Intramuros.

The buildings in Fort Santiago was destroyed during the WWII but was restored by the Philippine government. But most of the ruins inside the area are the original ruins during the Spanish or American era. But the arch you see here is only a replica since the original arch was destroyed during the WWII.

Nowadays, Fort Santiago became a beautiful park where you can stroll amidst a beautiful landscape, you won’t even notice that thousands of death took place where you lay your feet into….

Fountain in Fort Santiago
Beautiful 🙂
The beautiful green landscape

Aside from being the base of Spanish military during their 333 years of colonization of the Philippines, Fort Santiago is well known for being the prison of the Philippine national hero Jose P. Rizal—a person who is really determined of fighting against the Spanish colonizers but not through strength of the body but through the strength of the mind.

Upon entering the Rizal Shrine, you will see Rizal and the guestbook 🙂
Look at the walls, it depicts the life of our national hero, Jose Rizal

In Baluarte de Santa Barbara, there is this place where antique furniture of the Rizal family was preserved and is open for viewing. But, there is an additional P10.00 entrance fee to gain entry.

Furniture of the Rizal Family
The clock of Jose Rizal's family... so antique.. so beautiful
Other furniture of the Rizal Family

A Simple Introduction for Jose Rizal–Philippines’ national hero

Jose Rizal is a medical doctor, ophthalmologist, lawyer, journalist, novelist, scholar, engineer, linguist and a lot more… His head is really tough! He is really a talented person with a lot of knowledge in different fields– He is simply a genius–But he is a genius not only in this fields but also in the field of love 🙂

He had several girlfriends with different nationalities, one of the most known is her Japanese Girlfriend Oseisan and her Irish decent but with American citizenship, Josephine Bracken–which he is rumored to be married to… Anyway, he had a lot of girls here and there using his great genius mind 🙂

Jose Rizal is indeed a great man, he wrote several seditious and insightful novels during his lifetime. Those novels depicts the life of the Filipinos during the Spanish period. It gives an overview on how bad the Spanish treats the Filipinos–The unending discrimination of race, the rape of women, the unrelenting killings of the innocent, the strict and corrupt system of the friars.

some part of his novels was written during his stay in Spain where he had no money to spare and the publication of such is only through solicitation and sponsorship of other people. His stay in Spain made his mind opened widely to the reality that Spain wasn’t that great, it also a trashy place with full of corruption and such, he realized that Philippines is better off without them…And to realize such aim, he made a lot of novels with words derogatory to the Spanish Colonial Government.

Because of what he wrote, he became a criminal. He knew that once he lay his feet in the Philippines, he will be severely punished; Unperturbed, he still went back and faced all the charges against him and continued writing novels even if he was exiled and later on imprisoned and executed.

Jose Rizal became a criminal to the eyes of the Spaniards but to the eyes of the Filipinos, he became the white and shining armor against all the bad things that the Spaniards had made to the Filipinos….he became the inspiration of other Filipinos who later on joined the rebellion. Andres Bonifacio is one of the people who lead the arms race and who admitted that he was inspired by the works of Jose Rizal that is why he lead this vicious rebellion against the Spaniards.

During Rizal’s exile, he was told by the armed rebels to come with them and be their head, that they will help him escape, however, Jose Rizal refused stating that the “pen is mightier than the sword” in which he implies that peaceful rebellion is better than the one that they were doing. He doesn’t want Bloodshed of innocent lives, he believes that its better if only his life will be taken, he is always ready to face his “punishment” wholeheartedly because of his love of his nation. —Though in a way he’s right, but there something in my heart that wishes that he had joined the rebellion 🙂

So after some time, he was brought to Fort Santiago, where he was imprisoned then later on brought to the present-day Luneta to be executed. While he was imprisoned in Fort Santiago, he wrote his Mi Ultimo Adios (My Last Farewell) where he put into a lamp and passed it to his sister.

The lamp where the mi ultimo adios was hidden by Jose Rizal

This is the Mi Ultimo Adios in Original version and in English. Copy is from wikipedia.

“Mi Último Adiós”Adios, Patria adorada, region del sol querida,
Perla del Mar de Oriente, nuestro perdido eden,
A darte voy alegre, la triste, mustia vida;
Ya fuera mas brillante, mas fresca mas florida,
También por ti la diera, la diera por tu bien.En campos de batalla, luchando, con delirio,
Otros te dan sus vidas, sin dudas, sin pesar.
El sitio nada importa: ciprés, laurel o lirio,
Cadalso o campo abierto combate o cruel martirio,
Lo mismo es si lo piden la Patria y el hogar.Yo muero, cuando veo que el cielo se colora
Y al fin anuncia el día, tras lóbrego capuz;
Si grana necesitas, para teñir tu aurora,
Vierte la sangre mia, derramala en buen hora,
Y dorela un reflejo de su naciente luz!Mis sueños, cuando apenas muchacho adolescente,
Mis sueños cuando joven, ya lleno de vigor,
Fueron el verte un dia, joya del mar de Oriente,
Secos los negros ojos, alta la tersa frente,
Sin ceño, sin arrugas, sin manchas de rubor.Ensueño de mi vida, mi ardiente vivo anhelo,
¡Salud! te grita el alma, que pronto va a partir;
¡Salud! ah, que es hermoso caer por darte vuelo,
Morir por darte vida, morir bajo tu cielo,
Y en tu encantada tierra la eternidad dormir!Si sobre mi sepulcro vieres brotar, un dia,
Entre la espesa yerba sencilla humilde flor,
Acercala a tus labios y besa al alma mia,
Y sienta yo en mi frente, bajo la tumba fria,
De tu ternura el soplo, de tu hálito el calor.Deja a la luna verme, con luz tranquila y suave,
Deja que el elba envie su resplandor fugas;
Deja gemir al viento, con su murmullo grave;
Y si desciende y posa sobre mi cruz un ave,
Deja que el ave entone su cántico de paz.Deja que el sol, ardiendo, las lluvias evapore,
Y al cielo tornen puras, con mi clamor en pos;
Deja que un ser amigo mi fin temprano llore;
Y en las serenas tardes, cuando por mi alguien ore,
Ora también, ¡oh Patria!, por mi descanso a Dios.

Ora por todos cuantos murieron sin ventura;
Por cuantos padecieron tormentos sin igual;
Por nuestras pobres madres, que gimen su amargura;
Por huerfanos y viudas, por presos entortura;
Y ora por ti, que veas tu redención final.

Y cuando, en noche oscura, se envuela el cementerio,
Y solos solo muertos queden velando alli,
No turbes su reposo, no turbes el misterio;
Tal ves acordes oigas de citara o salterio;
Soy yo, querida Patria, yo que te canto a ti.

Y cuando ya mi tumba, de todas olvidada,
No tenga cruz ni piedra que marquen su lugar,
Deja que la are el hombre, la esparza con la azada,
Y mis cenizas, antes que vuelvan a la nada,
El polvo de tu alfombra que vayan a formar.

Entonces nada importa me pongas en olvido,
Tu atmósfera, tu espacio, tus valles cruzaré;
Vibrante y limpia nota sere para tu oido;
Aroma, luz, colores, rumor, canto, gemido,
Constante repitiendo la esencia de mi fe.

Mi Patria idolatrada, dolor de mis dolores,
Querida Filipinas, oye el postrer adois.
Ahi, te dejo todo: mis padres, mis amores.
Voy donde no hay esclavos, verdugos ni opresores;
Donde la fe no mata, donde el que reina es Dios.

Adios, padres y hermanos, trozos del alma mia,
Amigos de la infrancia, en el perdido hogar;
Dal gracias, que descanso del fatigoso dia;
Adios, dulce extranjera, mi amiga, mi alegria;
Adios, queridos seres. Morir es descansar.

“My Last Farewell”Farewell, my adored Land, region of the sun caressed,
Pearl of the Orient Sea, our Eden lost,
With gladness I give you my Life, sad and repressed;
And were it more brilliant, more fresh and at its best,
I would still give it to you for your welfare at most.On the fields of battle, in the fury of fight,
Others give you their lives without pain or hesitancy,
The place does not matter: cypress laurel, lily white,
Scaffold, open field, conflict or martyrdom’s site,
It is the same if asked by home and Country.I die as I see tints on the sky b’gin to show
And at last announce the day, after a gloomy night;
If you need a hue to dye your matutinal glow,
Pour my blood and at the right moment spread it so,
And gild it with a reflection of your nascent light!My dreams, when scarcely a lad adolescent,
My dreams when already a youth, full of vigor to attain,
Were to see you, gem of the sea of the Orient,
Your dark eyes dry, smooth brow held to a high plane
Without frown, without wrinkles and of shame without stain.My life’s fancy, my ardent, passionate desire,
Hail! Cries out the soul to you, that will soon part from thee;
Hail! How sweet ’tis to fall that fullness you may acquire;
To die to give you life, ‘neath your skies to expire,
And in your mystic land to sleep through eternity !If over my tomb some day, you would see blow,
A simple humble flow’r amidst thick grasses,
Bring it up to your lips and kiss my soul so,
And under the cold tomb, I may feel on my brow,
Warmth of your breath, a whiff of your tenderness.Let the moon with soft, gentle light me descry,
Let the dawn send forth its fleeting, brilliant light,
In murmurs grave allow the wind to sigh,
And should a bird descend on my cross and alight,
Let the bird intone a song of peace o’er my site.Let the burning sun the raindrops vaporize
And with my clamor behind return pure to the sky;
Let a friend shed tears over my early demise;
And on quiet afternoons when one prays for me on high,
Pray too, oh, my Motherland, that in God may rest I.

Pray thee for all the hapless who have died,
For all those who unequalled torments have undergone;
For our poor mothers who in bitterness have cried;
For orphans, widows and captives to tortures were shied,
And pray too that you may see you own redemption.

And when the dark night wraps the cemet’ry
And only the dead to vigil there are left alone,
Don’t disturb their repose, don’t disturb the mystery:
If you hear the sounds of cithern or psaltery,
It is I, dear Country, who, a song t’you intone.

And when my grave by all is no more remembered,
With neither cross nor stone to mark its place,
Let it be plowed by man, with spade let it be scattered
And my ashes ere to nothingness are restored,
Let them turn to dust to cover your earthly space.

Then it doesn’t matter that you should forget me:
Your atmosphere, your skies, your vales I’ll sweep;
Vibrant and clear note to your ears I shall be:
Aroma, light, hues, murmur, song, moanings deep,
Constantly repeating the essence of the faith I keep.

My idolized Country, for whom I most gravely pine,
Dear Philippines, to my last goodbye, oh, harken
There I leave all: my parents, loves of mine,
I’ll go where there are no slaves, tyrants or hangmen
Where faith does not kill and where God alone does reign.

Farewell, parents, brothers, beloved by me,
Friends of my childhood, in the home distressed;
Give thanks that now I rest from the wearisome day;
Farewell, sweet stranger, my friend, who brightened my way;
Farewell, to all I love. To die is to rest.

He wrote this during the eve of his execution. And after that, he was escorted out of his cell and was sent to the present day Luneta where he was executed by firing squad. 😦

Jose Rizal's prison cell in Fort Santiago....
The last footsteps of Jose Rizal towards the place where he will be executed
The place where Jose Rizal went out to face his untimely death
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Manila’s Intramuros: A City Within Walls– A brief historic background

In some ancient cities in the world, high walls were created to provide protection for their territories and for their people. Such idea was also incorporated by the Spaniards– the longest colonizers of the Philippines–and made a city which is kept within a wall– This creation is called Intramuros.

Map of Intramuros from Wikipedia (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Manila_1851.jpg)

Miguel Lopez de Legazpi is one of the persons who initiated the transfer of the Philippines’ capital from Cebu to Manila. As such, he created a city which is strategically located near the Pasig River– which is the only ingress and egress of water from the lake called Laguna de Bai—Pasig River had also became the passage of various merchants and even military intelligence even before the Spaniards’ 333 years period of colonization since there are tribes ruled by Rajah’s that are already settling near what we call as Intramuros.

From that city, Intramuros which literally translate as a city within a wall. Intra means “within” while muros means “city/cities” became the capital of trade, industry, religion and even military. More importantly it became the seat of the colonial government.

Santa Lucia Gate in Intramuros: One of the entrances. Source (Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Santa-lucia-gate-intramuros.jpg)

However, most of the people who live within its walls are the Spaniards themselves and only a minuscule number of Filipinos who were rich and famous during that time are allowed entry. Filipinos are considered 2nd or even 3rd class citizens by the Spaniards, they see Filipinos as savages, so as much as possible they wanted these “low class” people to be outside the city walls, they even lock the walls at night for security– from this discrimination that Filipinos rebelled against them… however, it took the Filipinos 3 centuries before they got tired of the discriminatory character that the Spaniards showed them.

Some Info about Jose Rizal:

Only until the National hero Jose Rizal wrote various novels that definitely strikes down the blatant abuse of the Spaniards to the Filipinos— abuses such as rape of women, discrimination, torture– as well as its utter disregard of the problems in the society during that time–especially corruption and poverty. These subversive novels became the lifeblood of rebels, it became the inspiration for an upcoming massive rebellion. However, these rebellion did not become successful or grand/national in scale until Jose Rizal was executed by the Spaniards– and after that time, the long patience of all Filipinos were shattered into pieces; and it started the nationwide rebellion which made the Spaniards had a difficult time pacifying…

FAST FORWARD….

Intramuros suffered a lot of fires and bombings throughout history. It became a place where a lot of bloodshed happened– from Filipino rebellions during the Spanish era, Philippine American liberation to World War II…

Destruction of Intramuros during WWII. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Manila_Walled_City_Destruction_May_1945.jpg)

However, from all this things that happened, most of its original walls stood ground–and remains of some of the destroyed walls and structures are still there for you to see…

And what is interesting is that some of the structures therein are still intact– the cobbled streets and a Church that lived longer than all of us– a 16th Century Church which survived all of the things that happened during the past— even the bombings during the World War II– this Church is called San Agustin Church– A UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Some of the preserved houses in Intramuros/ newly painted/ look at the cobbled streets

Within Intramuros there are a lot of places of interest, Fort Santiago, Baluarte de San Diego, San Agustin Church, Manila Cathedral and the old residence of the Governor-general (President) during the Spanish era–which is now the head office of Land Bank of the Philippines.

Preserved houses which is now a school

Governor General's residence

How to Get Here?

1. Ride LRT-1 and get off Central Station.

2. Walk towards the City Hall and you will see the entrance/gate to Intramuros

or

1. Ride a taxi! taxi is cheap in the Philippines..

Entrance Fee: No entrance fee in Intramuros itself except museums and Fort Santiago

Fort Santiago — P75.00 for adults, P50-students and children

San Agustin Church Museum — P100.00 for adults

 

 

Manila Hotel: Why it should be part of your Manila Itinerary

In my last post, I added Manila Hotel as a place of interest. Not only that there is history embedded on it. The place is also a luxurious place to dine and relax without making your wallet cry that much! 🙂

The preserved Manila Hotel's facade

Well, I already experienced staying in this hotel way back in 2008, it was cool, clean and comfortable—and expensive! 🙂 However, this is not a review for my hotel stay, but an  explanation why this place should be part of your itinerary during your stay in Manila.

Not only that it has a beautiful scenic architecture, it also has a wide spacious lobby, where you can order coffee (which costs (P120.00) or ($2.79USD) and enjoy the surrounding and the feel of being a royalty–err–general. You can also roam around the exact structure where the Generals during the American era walked and danced their hearts out. If you are thinking if there is an entrance fee, nah! there’s none, I already told you that as part of your itinerary, you can just relax your soul and enjoy a cup of coffee here.

So that you can really know the importance of this place, lemme tell you about its history:

BRIEF HISTORY OF MANILA HOTEL:

This hotel was created during the American era in the Philippines. In 1908 when the Americans, leaded by Judge William Howard Taft, wanted to create a city plan for Manila, they also started building this hotel grandly–with high ceilings and 169 rooms.

This place became the hotel for famous individuals and politicians during those times – mind you, it is almost as old as the Malacanang Palace where the Philippine President stays.

While in 1935-1945, General MacArthur and his family made this hotel as their home here in the Philippines, since he was recommissioned in the Philippines as requested by the Commonwealth President Manuel Quezon.

If you don’t know General MacArthur, then here is one brief info about him: he is one of the heroes who helped the Philippines escape the hands of the Japanese. Filipinos love him because he didn’t break his promise when he said “I shall return”.

“He was one of only five men ever to rise to the rank of General of the Army in the U.S. Army, and the only man ever to become a field marshal in the Philippine Army.” (Wikipedia)

While in December 1941, the Manila Hotel became the command post during the Japanese invasion of the Philippines. The Japanese also attacked this place and made the penthouse on fire which unfortunately consumed all the personal belongings and the military library of Gen. MacArthur (Manila Hotel Website)

The Hotel was fixed and restored to its former grandeur and until today, it still stands as one of the heritage sites that the Americans left the Philippines.

NOW: MY YUMMY EXPERIENCE IN THIS HOTEL

So, I decided to go here today (March 10, 2012) to experience again how grand the hotel is and catch a glimpse of history…

I walked through its beautifully decorated lobby. Asked the frontdesk/reception on how much the rates are, and sat on one of the sofa chairs in the lobby while observing the people who passes by 🙂

The Entrance of Manila Hotel... beautiful doors
The elegant lobby of this hotel perfect for making grand entrances!

The reception told me that the price of the rooms are:

1. Superior Deluxe: P7995.00 or 185USD

2. Grand Deluxe: P6995.00 or 162USD — I don’t know why this is a lot cheaper than the Superior one 🙂

3. Sunset/Sunrise Suite: P17343.00 or 403USD

There’s also a pianist who seemingly knows how to play with the piano. Her music is great! I listened to her for 3 minutes then went on to Cafe Ilang-Ilang to have my lunch

Piano in the lobby

Before I arrive in the Cafe Ilang-Ilang you will see the elevators going up to the guest rooms:

The Hotel elevators 🙂 Beautiful Carpet feels like Royalty

Then, I arrive in Cafe Ilang-Ilang: I’m actually pretty scared on how much I will spend for lunch in this very expensive hotel– see, how much I love you, I went there just to check if how much and how yummy the food is 🙂

Cafe Ilang-Ilang in Manila Hotel

I was amazed when I got inside the restaurant! It changed! the last time I went there, I cannot see its beauty, maybe they renovated it; now, its WOW! it is beautiful! an eye-candy! definitely a place of luxury!

After the employee assigned me my table, and she left to get something, I furiously looked for my wallet to check if I still have money to spare! I don’t want the same thing to happen to me when I was inside the MV Logos Hope. 🙂

My neatly arranged table! 🙂 I dined solo, so they took away the other napkin and utensils

Anyway, when the waitress went back, she brought the menu, I flipped the menu in a fast manner and caught myself seriously looking at the prices, and boom! I exhaled in relief–thank God! The prices are not that expensive compared to some hotels!! I hope the waitress didn’t notice me sigh..harhar!. The price ranges from P300.00 to P750.00—thank God!

After, I ordered, the waitress left my menu, so I happily took a pic of it...
Korean Food Menu and Prices in Cafe Ilang-Ilang Manila Hotel
Other entries in Manila Hotel's Cafe Ilang-Ilang

I asked the waitress on what’s their best seller— I was suddenly shocked on what I said since this might make me buy such an expensive steak! Good Lord! But thanks to thee, there is no expensive steak, and the waitress told me that their best sellers are there Korean menu— so, as a Korean food addict– I tried their Bibimbap which costs 330.00 without the 10%service charge.

I was asked to wait for 20 minutes for my order, I told them that it’s alright since I’m not yet “that” hungry and I will roam around the area first and is expecting to be seriously appalled by its mystery.

Anyway, I roamed around the restaurant and caught myself shamelessly taking pictures! Oh Gosh! If I’m not yet a blogger and I’m just a guest, I will be ashamed of myself right at that very moment… Now, I’m asking myself why I’m doing this?? haha..

Empty Table next to me
Other corner in Cafe Ilang-Ilang

Actually, this restaurant is mainly buffet, so, there’s a lot of buffet stops! Which makes me hungry—Now, I can’t wait for my ordered food! If only I have P2000.00 I will try this “full-filling” buffet.

I think this is Sushi Bar 🙂 Yum! I'm getting hungrier!! 🙂

Filipino Food Area in Manila Hotel Cafe Ilang-Ilang. Look at the Lechon! Yum!
I think this is an Italian Counter in Manila Hotel's Cafe Ilang-Ilang
Wines Wines Wines that costs bucks bucks bucks 😦

Now, I went out to see the pool area which is coincidentally near my assigned table. I went out took some pictures and unknowingly staring at the sexy guy swimming out there—JOKE!

The pool in Manila Hotel-- I guess its quite small... 😦
Look at the cute sunbathing chairs in the pool area. I wanna go there but its so hot, it is 12nn so I don't wanna risk getting an accidental tan! haha! 🙂

Anyway, I went back and sat down while comfortably waiting for my food. I didn’t order any drinks…since you know, I’m poor! haha.  Then after a few minutes, they served me soup. And then I asked myself– Oops, is that included in my order? If not, I should not eat it I don’t have the money to pay for it! They should take it away…— I thought like that for 5 actual minutes when I realized maybe its part of my order, so I sipped it and loved it.

The controversial soup 🙂 The picture shows how fatty it is but up close and personal--I didn't notice 🙂

Then the next minute they brought this seemingly small bowl of bibimbap– a mixture of various vegetable, Korean hot sauce and rice. I was like “Only this?” haha, then I started digging in, and they brought a side dish of Kimchi, and other leafy vegetables.

The Yummy Bibimbap! Yum Yum Yum!
The Yummy Food I got 🙂 Love it! 🙂

I was shocked on how heavy the food was! the rice is different than the usual rice or even usual Korean rice! So, I was like having a difficulty breathing because I was really full!

Then, After eating everything–since in Filipino culture, you should eat everything in your plate–since Filipinos believe that if you don’t, you will be punished by God– so, as a Filipino I pushed myself to finish what I ordered–so, there I was… really amazingly full! haha.

The Taste? all I can say that it is delicious! The yummy sauce they added in the bibimbap is indeed first class! It is yummy with a tangy, sweet, sour, spicy taste which is totally different from all the Bibimbap’s I tasted– trust me on this, I tasted a lot of Bibimbap in my life believing that I will have the same beautiful skin of the Koreans when I often eat this Korean delicacy. Anyway, trust me, its yummy! 🙂

Then, I stayed there for awhile asking for refills of water and looking at my GTab and searching the net… I was extremely happy and my mood meter is high as it can be. I’m glad that I’m dining here even though I don’t have more money to spend.

After being chilled to the bones of the ridiculously cold air conditioning they have inside the Cafe, I went out and relieved myself in the comfort room.. then went out the lobby and took some pictures.

Another Restaurant in Manila Hotel. This one is a Chinese Restraurant

By the way, there’s a total of 4 restaurants in this hotel 🙂

Moving more to the right of this restaurant, I found this hall, this is called Fiesta Pavilion, a convention hall of Manila Hotel. The decorations are really beautiful.

Look at how grand the halls near the entrance of Fiesta Pavilion

After getting enough eye-popping scenery, I sat down in one of the chairs and realized that it is also a cafe; since I wanna stay more in the cold and comfortable place, I ordered an ice-cream. The ice cream costs P142.00 or $3.30USD. Although the taste of ice cream doesn’t have a difference to ice creams sold in the grocery, it’s still satisfying.. 🙂

The elegant lobby of this hotel perfect for making grand entrances!

After that, I started loving the chairs where I’m seated and stayed there for almost an hour. then, I went home 🙂

This place is just the right one to visit after going to Intramuros– which is really tiring! After walking a lot in Intramuros I suggest you go here, relax and enjoy the old yet charming vibe of this so called- Manila Hotel.

It is now your time to see grandiosity and history in one place! you will definitely love its interior!

How to get here?

If you are from Intramuros (if you are following my 3-day itinerary) then you can walk (at least 30 minutes walk) or you can ride a taxi (cab fare is only P50-P70 or $1.16 or 1.627USD)

If you are using the LRT then ride until UN station, get off and take a cab 🙂

Contact them here:

website: Manilahotel

Address: One Rizal Park, 0913, Manila, Philippines
Telephone: (63) (2) 527 0011
Fax: (63) (2) 527 5348

Manila, Philippines: Your Itinerary, Budget and Tips

A day trip is enough to see the marvelous wonders of this city… However, I have alternatives..  I always tell my foreign friends that the beauty of the Philippines is on its outskirts.  So what’s in Manila is only few of the good places you can visit in the Philippines…

To learn about the historic background of Manila, Click here. 

Click the links to see my posts about them

.so, anyway, here we go…

Click the links to see my blog posts/ review about that certain place. 🙂 Have fun reading!

1st day – A blast from the past—Manila’s Spanish Heritage

10:00 – 3:30 pm — Go to Intramuros—the “ancient city wall” of Manila, Philippines. It is where the Spanish had their central government and city located centuries ago.

In Intramuros, you won’t only see a wall but some houses preserved with their former Spanish grandeur. You can also see cobbled walkways, which dates for centuries.

You can also see 2 centuries old churches that are really a popular spot for weddings.

The San Agustin Church is one of the churches in Manila that remained intact even after the 2nd world war. Therefore, what you’ll see here is the same one established by the Spanish priests—cool isn’t it? The San Agustin Church has really a nice interior; although the exterior looks simple, the interior is really WOW! This also has its own museum which any antique lovers would want to visit…  Moreover, If you haven’t been to any European castle, the walkways inside the museum will remind you of one. (well, at least it will remind you of European ancient castles).

And also… in San Agustin Museum, whether you are a Harry Potter fan or not, you might see the staircase leading to the second floor of the museum spectacular. Well, for HP fans, it looked like the staircases that suddenly moves by themselves (well, that’s how I imagined it to be) :D. For others who aren’t HP fans, you will see a medieval ancient castle-like staircase. It’s amazing. You shouldn’t miss it.

The museum of San Agustin’s entrance fee is  P100..00  for adults and P50.00 for students and children.

Then head towards Casa Manila, it is right beside San Agustin Church. It is a museum that depicts the old life of rich people during the Spanish era. All furniture inside are the original furniture from a house in Binondo during the Spanish time, so it is antique! 😀 The house is a replica of a grand house in Binondo, but the furniture as well as the set up depicts the same house of a rich family during the Spanish times. I thought going here is a waste of time but when I went there just this November 22, 2012, I was actually amazed on how beautiful a house can be! 😀 There is an entrance fee of P75.00 for adults and P50.00 for students and senior citizens.

Another Church within Intramuros is the Manila Cathedral which is controversial enough or is rumored, wherein most, if not all, who held their marriage ceremonies in this church broke up after a few years of marriage 🙂 Anyway, this church has a great façade, much better than the San Agustin but the Interior of San Agustin is way way better. Just don’t miss to see the beautiful stained glasses.

The last place to visit is Fort Santiago, this is the Spanish fortress where armories during the Spanish period was stored. Actually this is the highlight of this trip. This is also where the famous national hero, Jose P. Rizal was put in prison before his execution.

You can also choose to eat in Intramuros… there are a lot of Filipino restaurants that offer mouthwatering food 🙂

Trivia in Fort Santiago: Curious about the iron plated footsteps that you see in Fort Santiago? It depicts the footsteps of the Philippine national hero when he was moved from his prison cell to his execution grounds in Luneta Park.

3:30 pm – 5:00 pm – Have some rest, drink coffee, relax in the posh Manila Hotel. FYI: Manila Hotel is not just your ordinary hotel, it is a heritage site. It is the former residence of the well-known man who said “I shall return” General MacArthur. If you’ve seen a lot of Spanish heritage in the Philippines, now it’s time to see the grandeur the Americans left Manila.

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm – Head towards Baywalk, Manila Bay or to Ocean Park (go to the balconies) to enjoy the stunning sunset that Manila is proud of 🙂

6:00 – 8:00 pm – relax and enjoy while walking to the place where our National Hero Rizal was brutally executed by the Spaniards. They also have a newly built fountain that will totally amaze you 🙂

I guess you are really exhausted during this time, so allow yourself to rest

2nd Day—You want shopping but no budget? It’s okay, the bargains in your next destination is indeed a steal! 😀 Divisoria’s 168 mall! But be careful of your belongings there are a lot of thieves out this busy place!

Trivia: Divisoria is located in the China Town area of Manila. A lot of Chinese still lives there. And I selfishly proclaimed Divisoria as the little Bangkok of the Philippines. Why? Because of the crazy shopping!! 😀

Alternative:

2nd day—Corregidor Island—yeah, I know this shouldn’t be part of your Manila field trip since it is nowhere located in Manila, but this place is only 45 minutes by boat/ferry from Manila. and I highly recommend going here if you want to delve more on the history of the Philippines….

It is where a lot of ruins, guns, ghosts, and tunnels are located. It is a fortress so a lot of people died there regardless of nationality—Filipino, Spanish, Japanese, American— they all died by protecting their own countries’ interests.

Trivia: Well, the ruins looks like “well, somehow looks like” the ruins of Parthenon of Greece.

3rd day – Mall Hopping

9:00- 10:00 am — Visit the Cultural Center of the Philippines, take some pictures and enjoy the cool architecture created by one of the greatest artists in the Philippines, you can also visit the nearby Harbour Square– a gimmick place which has a nice view of Manila Bay.

The time frame can be changed/adjusted for your departure 🙂

10:00 – 3:00 pm: Go to the largest mall in the Philippines, the 6th largest mall in Asia—the Mall of Asia. Basically, it is a big mall where you can watch movies and party all night—this is the best place to go if you want to escape the frying weather in Manila

3:00 pm – whatever time you want – Head towards Makati and enjoy the little Singapore of the Philippines. Dine, Party and Mall-Hop. Whatever you want, you can do there! Head to Greenbelt 3,4,5 then the Ayala Triangle

TRANSPORTATION:

If you love adventure, you can ride the jeepneys, trains (LRT or MRT) or take the cab. The most convenient are the taxis/cabs since they are not that expensive in the Philippines.

Taxis in the Philippines starts at 40.00 pesos flag down rate and will add 2.70 afterwards.

Just a thought: the places in the 1st day itinerary is really Fare-friendly, they are close to each other, so if you want more adventure, you can just walk towards those places but it will  take you some 10-30 minutes of your travel time 🙂

I will add more places to visit here as soon as I can visit some places worthy of your time and money 🙂 By the way, I didn’t add photos because it will spoil your yearning for the places stated above… I will write about each and every single places in this itinerary, don’t forget to stay with me!

BUDGET:

1st day Itinerary: Intramuros, manila Hotel and Luneta

Transportation Costs: Maximum of P300.00 per person for the whole trip

Entrance Fees:  P250.00 for the whole day

  1. San Agustin Museum: P100.00 adults, P50.00 child, students and  senior citizens.
  2. Casa Manila: P75.00 adults, P50.00 child, students and senior citizens
  3. Fort Santiago: P75.00 adults, P50.00 child, students and senior citizens
  4. Manila Hotel and Luneta are free!
  5. Ocean Park: It’s free if you just wanna see the sunset 🙂 Just walk towards the mall not the aquarium

2nd DAY itinerary

1st option: 168 Mall –> P10.00 jeep from taft avenue towards Divisoria, so P10.00 per way (P20.00+2,000++ shopping money)

2nd option: P1500.00 for a day tour in Corregidor Island

3rd Day Itinerary

Mostly transportation costs: for taxi rides: P500.00 but you can opt to use the train P250.00 for transpo costs. 😀

TIPS while traveling in Manila:

  1. Wear comfortable, summer type of clothing. Philippines is hot all the time, so leave your thick jackets at home or else you’ll be sweating a lot.
  2. Bring umbrella especially if you are touring Intramuros, it is really hot so at least there’s something that will protect you from the sun
  3. Always make sure that taxi meter is on while riding a taxi, since taxi drivers in the Philippines love foreigners, because they usually ask more money from them 😀
  4. Always keep watch of your belongings, Manila is not as safe as other countries, you might be a victim of pickpockets and snatchers, so be careful, alert and be watchful

Manila, Philippines: An Introduction and a Historical background

It is one of the cities with the oldest history dated. A City full of battles, bloodshed and tears–A city that we now call Manila.

Manila has long been the capital of the Philippines. It started being the center of trade and industry centuries ago during the Spanish Colonization of the Philippines.

A Quick Historic View On the Creation of Manila:

Before the existence of the country we call as Philippines, and before the foreign Spaniards discovered the whole archipelago, the people of this “country” were living in the mountains with different kinds of life and leadership. Filipinos during those times have their own tribes; they are not addressed as Filipinos but only with their tribe names.. They are divided in thought, belief and manner– they thought that they are different with other tribes… So war always ensue…

However, when Spain saw the potential of this rich-in-natural resources chunk of land… Spain become the motherland while the Philippines became a colony. A bittersweet relationship between two countries had lead to the centralization and civilization of the Philippines.

The centralization lead to the creation of Manila, a city in the heart of chaos and misery. Cebu was the first city created and the first capital, but after some time the government decided to transfer it to Manila.

The Spanish government had set up Intramuros  (walled city)  in Manila itself and there they settled down while the rest of Manila suffers from various discrimination and other governmental problems…

During the 333 years of Spaniards hold in the Philippines, the Filipinos adopted the way of life of their conquerors… and became Spanish in way and in life.

Religion is one of the most well-engraved in the hearts of the Filipinos. Most of the population of the Philippines are Roman Catholics— this explains the existence of various century-old Churches in the Philippines

Manila as it is Now:

Nowadays, Manila or the Philippines as a whole became a flourishing city/country amidst the governmental problems due to various corruption made by public officials.

Manila might not be the same as Singapore or other beautiful cities in Asia, but always take note that the beauty of the Philippines lies within its natural wonders… Manila is just a gateway to see the beautiful hands of nature— the wonderful beaches, unexplored coves and jaw-dropping terrains..

However, if you are dropping-by the Philippines to jump-start your tour with nature, don’t forget that Manila also offers some historical places you might wanna visit, and you might like the busy night life and the big shopping malls that it offers 🙂

Manila Skyline — Photo from nairaland.com
Manila Skyline — Nairaland.com

Manila is a thriving city where huge shopping malls are located. You can opt to mall-hop or view the historical side of the city…

Mall of Asia– photo from Nairaland.com

Manila has also its fair share of beauty…. And stay with me as I present to you the beauty of Manila.

This will be my 1st post for my new series about Metro Manila 🙂

TO VIEW MY OTHER POSTS ABOUT METRO MANILA CLICK HERE FOR ITINERARY, REVIEWS, ETC.

CLICK HERE TO SEE 3-DAY ITINERARY IN MANILA

MV Logos Hope: World’s Largest Floating Book Fair

After deliberating which place to go this Sunday, I decided to go to the floating book fair, a ship docked in Manila that provides high quality books for a fraction of the cost.

The MV Logos Hope docked in South Harbor Manila

It will be docked in Manila until March 13, 2012. They are open Tuesdays to Sundays, from 10 am to 9 pm except for Sundays where they opens by 1pm- 9pm. It is docked in Manila Pier 15, South Harbor…at the back of Manila Hotel and Manila Ocean Park.

Coming in this floating book store made me reminisce about my childhood past.

When I was still a kid (about 5-8 years old), my mom and I came aboard the MV Doulos which was docked in Legazpi City Port–Mind you, I though it was a cruise ship, and my mom, brother and I will cruise together to see the whole Asia– LOL!– wishful thinking!  I remember that going inside that ship was my first time to come aboard a marine vessel— a huge one at that. I remembered walking the planks and looking at the yellow beam of lights inside the vessel–which resembles those found in coffeeshops LOL! Although the yellow lights makes you feel relaxed, the people inside were total chaos! Being a child with tiny little feet, I was confused on why there are a lot of freaking people walking here and there… and I was overwhelmed by the number of books being sold—although, honestly I don’t care a bit about them– I was still a child with no knowledge of the importance of books, I just held my mom’s hand to make sure that I won’t get lost…. My mom bought a book and I saw this huge giant pencil! And I clamored that my mom should buy me that– which she did… And It only costs P25.00. By the way, it was my first time to see those huge giant pencils (13″ in length) and it was first sold in Legazpi through MV Doulos. My mom also bought me a yummy ice cream on board– YUM!

I was actually saddened when I heard the news that the MV Doulos which I have thought highly of, had already retired due to old age… And what made it worse is that it visited Manila a couple of times in 2007-2009 yet I’ve never went to see it (Mind you, I didn’t visit it because I don’t have any news about it!)-– I was saddened because a memory of my childhood was also embedded on its planks— I really wanna catch a glimpse of what it looks like in this adult eyes of mine.. and to walk there using this adult feet that I have now 😦

Anyway, here I am, wandering around the new ship, the successor of the beautiful and mighty MV Doulos– the MV LOGOS HOPE!

Places where the MV Logos shared Happiness 🙂
And Now, It's in the PHILIPPINES!!!

The MV Logos, just like its predecessor, consists of a lot of unpaid volunteers– 400 in number– they came aboard this ship to share and give knowledge to the world! There is 5000 book titles to choose from… which I think is overwhelming! Isn’t it? It was said to be the largest floating book fair in the world!!

You can see that this ship is a melting pot of different nationalities with only one goal– to help the needy by providing cheap priced quality books… so that people, rich or poor, can have access to information and knowledge without spending too much…

If only I have time, and with no pressures from my parents…I can volunteer myself to this wonderful organization with a wonderful cause. I love their cause and I hope they continue providing a smile to different countries and various nationalities of this big round world… More Power for MV Logos Hope!

So, here is my experience to this new MV Logos Hope:

It was a Sunday afternoon, around 1 pm, when I decided to take a peek of this widely talked about Floating book fair. I was one of the first few people who boarded the ship…

But, what I hate about this experience is the long walk from the gates of the pier to the ship itself.. It took me a 20-30 minute walk— since I don’t have a car and the taxi driver dropped me off the gate!– which I think is a very wrong move, anyway, I acquiesced so it’s partly my fault…  It was hot and humid that time… I totally sweated like a pig!

Almost there!

Anyway, After a long walk, I arrived in the MV Logos, there is an entrance fee of P20.00 for adults, and children (12 years old below) are free of charge! 🙂

Entrance booth= P20.00 per person
Now, I'm entering the MV Logos Hope
Upon Entering MV Logos Hope

The books are priced in units– not in Pesos. 1 unit is equal to 1 peso {1 unit= 1 peso}

Price Guide in MV Logos Hope

The books are totally cheap!!! I was really amazed!!! Children books which are sold for P300-500 in local bookstores are sold in MV Logos for only P100.00… Isn’t it a steal? Moreover, they sell Fiction Novels, children books, Bibles and other stuff for a really low price.

Children Books in the Fair

Nancy Drew in MV Logos Hope

By the way being the travel junkie that I am, I easily spotted the travel section– It has 3 shelves, so basically there’s a lot of travel books….Although it doesn’t have the usual “lonely planet” “globetrotter” travel guides, what they have will still suffice for my relentless hunger for travel!

My Section 🙂

I came across this two books which I totally love. This is the only thing I bought! I bought these 2 babies for only (P350.00). If I’ll buy this in local bookstores maybe I cannot even afford it! P350.00 is totally low compared to the usual prices of travel guide books which is usually P500 to P1500!

My Lovely Babies 🙂

If you are thinking, why is it that this is only the thing I bought during my visit, it was because I only have a meager P500.00 in my wallet! I totally forgot to withdraw money!!— So, how can I afford to buy other things if I don’t have the money to exchange for them??? hahaha.. so, I’m planning to go back there and hit the racks once again!

By the way, they accept credit cards– Mastercard and Visa!! Good Lord, I hope I knew of it earlier so I had shopped till I dropped!— naahh, I don’t know if I still have money in my credit card — I think it is full of airline and hotel ticket bills for my travel this April and May 🙂

After payment, you will see paintings/life-sized pictures depicting the Prodigal Son…. It completely covers the story from end-to-end…  It was such a wonderful experience walking down the hall while a recorded sound plays in the background and tells you the story of The Prodigal Son….

After the winding walk in the Journey of Life, I was greeted by the sweet aroma of coffee in the International Cafe… I didn’t buy anything though since I only have P150 in my wallet:( But, I’m sure that I’ll be coming back!

At the end, I saw a Sticky Notes Board—  I thought that I was also in N tower in Seoul– looking at it made me remember the Love wall inside N tower, anyway, this is not a Love wall but a wall to remember us to be safe and be scared of AIDS. This is an AIDS prevention and counseling booth 🙂

The Sticky Notes Wall

After that, I’m now at the exit and needs to go… Bye Bye MV Logos see you again!!

It is a good place to buy books since the price is really really low and the kids would love the idea of getting on-board a ship! Well, being a child-at-heart makes me say that I really loved the experience, since I felt like I’m reliving Rose from Titanic! If only I can get on the decks I will totally imitate the “flying” scene of Jack Dawson 🙂