- Cosmopolitan Capital Of The Philippines
Fascination is an understatement
of the feeling that one gets by visiting Manila , a lively metropolis
commanding a magnificent view of the world-famous Manila Bay and
its golden sunset. Historic, bustling, awe-inspiring, the “Philippine
Cosmopolitan Capital” is a blend of cultures and flavors
that offers an endless serving of places to see, sights to behold,
and experiences to never forget.
Right in the heart of Manila is found the “ Walled
City ” – Intramuros. Constructed in 1571, during the period of Spain
's colonization of the Philippines , it comprised of European buildings
and churches that have been replicated in different parts of the
archipelago. It had been one of the world's best preserved medieval
cities. Here, dungeons and old churches share space with art galleries,
theaters, a nature park.
At the center of Intramuros is the grand Manila
Cathedral, the seat of the Catholic Archdiocese of Manila. Then
there is San Agustin Church, the oldest stone church in Metro Manila
and one of the four Philippine Baroque Churches inscribed in UNESCO's
World Heritage List. Marking its entrance at the northwestern tip
is Fort Santiago , one of the oldest fortifications of Intramuros.
Built in nearly 150 years through Filipino forced labor, it now
houses a lush park with flowering trees, homing pigeons, and rides
aboard horse-drawn carriages.
Manila is home to Malacañang
Palace , the official residence of the highest chief executive
of the country and one of the most historic structures in the Philippines
, and the National Museum of the Philippines , the official repository
and guardian of the Philippine cultural, historical, and natural
heritage. Along the northern bank of the historic Pasig river is
Chinatown , a symbol of the long history
of Chinese presence in the Philippines long antedating the arrival
of the Spaniards. Today it is an important trade and business center,
and a primary bargain shopping destination.
Things to see in Manila
Plaza San Luis
Named after one of the barrios of old Intramuros, this is a cultural-cum-commercial
complex currently composed of five houses: Casa Manila, Casa Blanca,
Casa Urdaneta, Los Hidalgos, and El Hogar Filipino. Plaza San Luis
will eventually consist of 9 houses representing different eras
in Filipino-Hispanic architecture. Aside from gift and specialty
shops, the complex has a museum at Casa Manila, containing late
19th century and early 20th century furniture found in a typical
Filipino illustrado, or the privileged class, home.
Marking its entrance at the northwestern tip to Intramuros, Fort
Santiago was one of the oldest fortifications of Intramuros started
in 1571 and completed nearly 150 years later by Filipino forced
labor. The pre-Spanish settlement of Rajah Sulayman, the last Filipino
ruler before the coming of the Spaniards, was a wooden fort, on
the ashes of which was built the Spanish fortress which was Spain
's major defense position in the islands. It looked out on the sea,
towards which its canons were trained to ward off pirates and invaders.
It is also known as the “Shrine of Freedom,” in memory of the heroic
Filipinos imprisoned and killed here during the Spanish and Japanese
eras. Partly rebuilt from the ruins of World War II, it is now a
park and promenade housing a resident theater company, PETA, which
used ramparts, an old garrison, and a small chapel as theaters for
both traditional and modern plays.
Palacio del Gobernador
Formerly the home of Manuel Estacio de Venegas, a governor's aide,
the two-storey structure was expropriated and subsequently made
the official residence and office of the Spanish governor generals
in 1645 until an earthquake brought it down in 1863. It lay in ruins
for almost a century until the Land Bank of the Philippines built
an 8-storey building on the site in 1978. The office of the Intramuros
Administration is presently housed here.
It showcases selected periods of Bonifacio's biography, which represent
the events and personalities involved in molding our history.
The seat of the Catholic Archdiocese of Manila, it is presently
the 6th cathedral to rise on the site since 1581.
Malacañang Palace is considered to be one of the most historic
structures in the Philippines . It has been the official residence
of the highest chief executive of the country since 1863. Located
next to the Pasig River , it served as a summer residence for the
Spanish governor-general during the early 1800s. Governor-General
Rafael de Echague moved the seat of government to Malacañang
Palace after an earthquake devastated the Palacio del Gobernador
in Intramuros. Since then, it has been witness to the numerous challenges
that have faced the nation and the events that have defined our
history. President Glorial Macapagal Arroyo holds office in the
Palace and receives her official callers and state visitors at the
Presidential Function area. A wing of the Palace is open to the
public as a Philippine Presidential Museum. Under the management
of the Malacañang Heritage Foundation, the palace tour focuses
on all former Presidents of the Philipines. On exhibit are presidential
memorabilia which highlight the terms of office of the country's
former chief executives. It is one of the most visited historical
landmarks in the country today.
It is the first hands-on, interactive children's museum in the Philippines
. It is an exciting learning center with six theme areas, namely:
Kalikasan (Environment), Maynila Noon (Old Manila), Tuklas (Science),
Paglaki Ko (Career Option), Katawan Ko (Body Works), and Bata Sa
Mundo (Children in the Global Village), a reading resource center
and children's playground. The museum is also a venue for programs
and activities for the public, especially for underserved children,
such as storytelling, puppet shows, workshops on visual arts, health,
The Japanese Garden Project was initiated by the National Parks
Development Committee together with the Japanese Community. The
9,000 square meter garden is an authentic Japanese Garden in miniature
where one can likewise view rare local foliage, vines, trees, grasses,
hedges, and other ornamental plants such as camias, camachile, and
bituing marikit endemic to Philippine soil. The garden not only
gives us a glimpse of Japanese culture but also promotes friendship
and mutual understanding between the Japanese and the Filipino people.
Source: Philippines Tourism Official Website