For curious expats, let’s take a look at the capital city of the Philippines and some of the tourist activities and areas of the city that are widely touted for their historical significance and beauty.
Manila is the current capital city of the Philippines and is located in Luzon, the northernmost of the three archipelagoes in the Philippines. Manila is a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities and you can see this blending in the diverse architecture around the city, bearing Spanish, American and Chinese influences. The range of cuisines are also a prime example of the diversity brought into the Philippines by different ethnic groups.
The city is also home to a wealth of historical sites and in contrast to this these are the 5-star hotels scattered all over the city offering a luxurious experience for some tourists. The diversity of experiences is also what makes Manila one of the most wonderful and most visited tourist destination. On top of these, tourists come to Manila for the Filipino’s internationally known hospitability.
Rizal Park (or most commonly known to the locals as “Luneta Park”) is the most famous tourist spot in the Philippines. It is dedicated to the country’s National Hero, Jose Rizal. This is place where the country’s hero was executed by firing squad. This widely known park has Japanese and Chinese garden for the people who enjoys a private and quite stroll. It also contains the Manila Planetarium for the star gazers. For those searching a lively entertainment, they can go to the Quirino Grandstand where a lot of entertainment events are held. If you get lost, Rizal Park has a giant map of the Philippines to help you find your way.
Near the Rizal Park (Luneta Park) is another of the country’s most visited historical sites. Adjacent to Rizal Park is Fort Santiago; Fort Santiago’s historical significance also has to do with the country’s national Hero, Jose Rizal. This is where Jose Rizal was held captive during his last days before he was shot to death by the Spaniards. Today, Jose Rizal’s footstep (from his cell in Fort Santiago to Rizal Park) is marked in metal. There is also a museum inside the fort that features the hero. The fort is surrounded with ghost stories and if you fancy a scare, you can visit its many dungeons and cells where the ghost and scary stories is said to have taken place.
Another favorite tourist destination in the Philippines is Intramuros (meaning “Inside the Walls”). As the name suggests, Intramuros is surrounded by thick high walls and was the former headquarters of the Spanish colonizers. Intramuros was built specifically to fend off foreign invaders. Intramuros is a strategic point in warfare and it was used by the Japanese as their main headquarters and was taken over by the Americans during the end of World War II. Today, the fort is restored. Tourists that visit Intramuros hire a Calesa (horse carriage) to explore the city within the walls and the Calesa drivers proved to be good tour guides since a lot of them are natives of the city Manila. Some tourists just walk along its walls and enjoy the beautiful gardens.
Manila Bay attracts tourists for its widely touted beautiful sunsets. It is also considered to be one of the best natural harbors in Southeast Asia. Tourists enjoy a quiet walks along the bay as they bask in the bay’s golden sunset. Much of the bay is reclaimed to give rise to commercial and industrial building. Among them are the Philippine Senate and the SM Mall of Asia. The bay is most lively after the sun sets as spectacles of light and sounds arises from the nightlife hang outs around the bay. Tourists never ran out places to venture and activities in Manila Bay making it one the best tourist destinations in the country.
(Flickr CC photo: chadiephotograpy)