Archive for May, 2010
Manila has been witness to the Philippines’ history and growth. It was palgued with bombs during the Second Wprld War, and has housed 14 presidents. Its beauty has withstood the test of time. At the heart of Manila’s history is Intramuros. It features the grand Manila Cathedral with its detailed stone carvings and stained glass mosaics; Fort Santiago, the site of torture chambers and dungeons; and a favorite wedding spot, the San Agustin Church. Greater Manila, made up of 11 cities and five towns, is where the country’s most prestigious business addresses and trendiest leisure establishments are found. Fashionable hotels, restaurants, discos, music bars, boutiques and specialty shops converge around the sleek Ayala and Ortigas Centers. Other major cities include Quezon City, also an entertainment hub as well as a government center; Marikina City, the shoe center of the Philippines; Parañaque City, known for its dry goods and seafood markets and restaurants; and Las Piñas City, which houses the world’s only bamboo organ at St. Joseph’s Parish Church. Calabaron, comprised of the five provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon, is only a few hours away from Manila. The area boasts of great destinations and leisure activities for day trips or overnight gateways as well as export processing centers.
How to Get There
International Flights to Manila are available from different key cities around the globe.
How to Get Around
Public utility vehicles such as buses, jeepneys, tricycles and cabs are available for use.
- National Museum – Located at the former Senate building, it houses many artworks by renowned Filipino artists,including Juan Luna’s
- Museum of the Filipino People – Located almost beside the National Museum, it houses artifacts from different regions of the Philippines displaying the diverse and colorful culture this archipelago has to offer.
- Intramuros – This walled city steeped in Old Spanish history is where several Spanish churches and other landmarks are located, such as the Manila Cathedral, San Agustin Church with its 4,500-pipe organ, and the parks such as the Puerta Real Gardens and the Baluarte de San Diego.
- Rizal Park (Luneta) – Here is where you can see the monument of National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal. A few meters away is a light and Sound Show, held at the exact place where he was executed. It is also a great place to stroll and enjoy picnics with your family.
- CCP Complex – Houses the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) that has a main theater (Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo), little theater (Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino) and experimental theater (Tanghalang Huseng Batute), the Philippine International Convention Center. This cradle of arts and culture is located along Roxas Boulevard. Ballets, symposuims, concerts and plays are staged here.
- Coconut Palace Complex – Come marvel at how the different parts of the “tree of life”-the coconut tree- are put to use in this abode by the sea.
- Museo Pambata (Children’s Museum) – Museo Pambata is the first hands-on interactive children’s musuem in the Philippines. It has an exciting learning center with six theme area, 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). It also has a reading resource center and children’s playground. It is also a venue for children’s activities such as storytelling, puppet shows and various workshops.
- Greenhills – It is an establishments bargain-lovers’ paradise with rows upon rows of stands selling almost everything, from jewelry and clothes to accessories and the latest electronic gadgets.
- Quipo Church – Home of the Black Nazarine whose feast is celebrated every January 9, and attended by millions of devotees who have been touched by the Nazarene’s miracles. The Black Nazarene is an image of Christ brought by Augustinians in the 17th century, and is said to grant miracles. Quiapo is also a haven for bargains.
- Las Piñas Bamboo Organ – Located in St. Joseph Church in Las Piñas, the bamboo organ gets full attention from musicians from all over the world during its annual festival.
- Malacañang Palace – The presidential home and seat of the government’s executive branch.
- Baywalk – Found along Roxas Boulevard, it is a perfect haven for lovers and families alike. It has a stream of all fresco restaurants serving fresh seafood and other Filipino cuisine. It is best to go here in the afternoon, just in time to see the spectacular sunset mirrored on the Manila Bay.
- Malate – Famous for its night life, where almost all bars, restaurants and clubs are located.
- University Belt – A hub of learning institutes like Far Eastern University, University of the East, Centro Escolar University, Mapua
University and San Beda College makes up the University Belt along Recto Avenue in Manila.
- Manila’s Chinatown – Located in the Binondo district, Chinatown symbolizes the long history of Chinese presence in the Philippine pre-dating the arrival of the Spaniards. The chinesse have been influential in business, culture, which have been absorbed into Philippine life.
- Chinese Cemetery – Members of the Filipino-Chinese community have mausoleums three stories high, complete with amenities like living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and even mailboxes.
- Araneta Coliseum – Located in Cubao, Quezon City, it is the biggest covered dome in Asia. Beauty pageants, concerts and the games of the Philippine Basketball Association of the Philippines, to name a few, are held here.
- Tagaytay – Only a few hours’ drive from Manila is the refreshing wisp of a city that is Tagaytay. Located in Cavite, perched atop a ridge, Tagaytay offers the most splendid views of Taal Volcano- the world’s smallest.
- Corregidor – Aptly called “The Rock,” Corregidor lies at the mouth of Manila Bay. This tiny island was the scene of much fighting between the Filipino-American forces and the Japanese during World War II. Today, it is a hauntingly historic tourists attraction.
- Laguna hot springs – The area of Laguna around Los Baños trades heavily on the health properties of its hot springs, which bubble from the lower slopes of Mount Makiling.
- Mount Makiling – The dormant volcano of Mount Makiling is identifiable by its shape- like a reclined woman. The mountain is named after Mariang Makiling, a young woman whose spirit is said to protect the place.
- Pagsanjan – Francis Ford Coppola chose Pagsanjan Falls, 80 kilometers southeast of Manila, as the location for the final scenes of Apocalypse Now. Today, tourists come here to shoot the rapids, especially during the rainy season when they are most thrilling.
Feast of the Black Nazarene – January 9
Sto. Niño Fiesta of Tondo – January 15; A procession of a hundred Sto Niño images participated in by the people of Tondo. Street dancing is the highlight of the celebration.
Araw ng Maynila – June 24; the Manila Film Festival is usually held during this day.
La Naval de Manila – every December
Clark in Angeles, Pampanga was a former U.S. Air Force Base and has long been the principal aviation center of the Philippines. Since the American troops left, the Philippine government has been working hard to convert Clark into a vibrant economic Zone. It is 70 kilometers north of Manila and an hour set of Subic. It has become popular among tourists because it’s a center for some thrilling adventure sports, including parachuting, microlight flying and off-road motorcycling.
How to Get There
Clark can be reached easily from Manila. Victory Liner buses from Manila have trips to the Dau, the nearest bus station to Clark. From the bus station, a jeepney ot tricycle can be taken in order to reach the main gate of Clark Ecozone. There are also commercial flights that land at the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport found in Clark.
How to Get Around
Jeppneys and tricycle are available for tourists to use.
- Mt. Pinatubo – Filipinos have experienced the wrath of this active volcano on 1991. But despite the havoc it once sowed, tourists remain to admire it. Mt. Pinatubo’s summit can be reached in one full day via nearby Capas in Tarlac. Once at the peak, you’ll be able to see the majestic jewel-blue crater.
- Mt. Arayat – This is an equally attractive destinattion. This dormant voocano can be scaled even by the inexperienced climber.
- Expo Pilipino – The Philippine National Centennial Exposition is the centerpiece of the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the proclamation of Philippine Independence of June 12, 1898. It is a celebration of the Filipino’s history, culture, and achievements in the past 100 years, as well as aspirations for the next millennium. Its exhibits were discontinued during the administration of former President Joseph Estrada. Today, its 35,000-seat capacity amphitheater is a favorite venue for concerts, ecumenical services and political rallies.
- Mimosa Leisure Estate – Inside this estate is the Holiday Inn Clark that has a fitness center and jacuzzi, free-form swimming pool, tenis and table tennis, billiards and darts, and an adventure camp for kids.
- Fortana Leisure Park – Inside this resort is a casino and a swimming pool that is mechanically-equipped to produce waves.
Hot Air Balloon Festival – An annual festival where balloonists from all over the world participate.
- Angeles City Flying Club – Located about 45 minutes east f Clark. Here you can have a 30-minute trial of an ultralight flight for P1,600. The instructor flies you over the lower slopes of Mount Arayat before curving along the course of the Pampanga River at a speed that seems particularly horrifying when you’re sitting on a contraption that looks like it’s been made from beach umbrellas and old bicycle parts.
- Mt. Pinatubo Sky Tour – Omni Avaition takes visitors for a breathtaking view of the volcano that once ravaged Central Luzon.
- Clark-Arayat Ecotour – An exciting tour of Clark Ecozone coupled with a nature trip to Arayat National Park in addition to a tour of Gardens of the World in Pampanga.