20 December 2016
Pearl Of The Orient
Manila is the second most populous city in the Philippines and is also the nation's capital. Compared to Kuala Lumpur, Singapore or Bangkok, Manila is a less popular tourist destination. However, this certainly doesn’t mean Manila has nothing to offer.
Located on the eastern shore of the Manila Bay at the mouth of the Pasig River in the Luzon Island, Manila has grown into an Asian megacity. Skyscrapers and malls blend with the National Museum of the Philippines and the green spaces of Rizal Park. Further historical landmarks remind visitors that Manila is much more than just a modern metropolis.
The city, which was founded on June 24, 1571, has a unique cultural mix of East meets West. The strong influence of the Spanish, who colonized the area more than 300 years ago, has enriched the indigenous culture. Manila was the control center for the country's Spanish colonial rulers. Since those first colonists, Manila has continually attracted the attention of immigrants. So, it’s no wonder that the city was later dubbed the Pearl of the Orient.
Spanish colonization, American occupation, and a strong Malay heritage have all greatly shaped the culture in Manila along with the character of the people in terms of their spirit, resilience and hospitality. And don’t forget, Manila’s delectable traditional foods that have both Spanish and Chinese influences.
To discover the traces of history, take a stroll around the famous Intramuros (old walled city), which was the center of the Spanish colonial rule, or visit the National Museum of the Philippines. Visitors can also take a jeepney, Manila’s most popular form of public transportation, to have an exciting look around this exotic metropolis known as “The Paris of Asia.” Finally, make sure you treat yourself to tea and a feast of dim sum in Chinatown before enjoying a glorious sunset along Manila Bay.
PLACE TO VISIT
Intramuros (Spanish: within the wall) is the city's oldest district which is fortified by wall. The wall was established in the 1570’s to defend the city which has an area of 0.67 km2 from foreign invasion. Today, by walking tour, you’ll find ancient colonial Spanish ruins in Intramuros including UNESCO World Heritage-listed San Agustin Church and Fort Santiago, where the country’s national hero Jose Rizal spent his last days in imprisonment.
Rizal Park is one of the major tourist attractions of Manila. Taken from the name of the national hero, Jose Rizal, this park, which has an area of 58 hectares, symbolizes the Philippine’s revolution to nationhood. Rizal Park is great spot for relaxation and fun. The park comprises gardens and dozens of fountains, historical markers, plazas, a grand stadium, an observatory, an open-air concert hall, restaurants, food kiosks and playgrounds.
The Baywalk is a seaside walkway area spanning 2 km along Manila Bay. In the morning, you can enjoy a fresh air with a beautiful view on the bay. In the evening, in addition to witnessing the beautiful sunset over the bay, you can watch various night entertainment whilst enjoying local cuisines.
TOUR THE CITY
The best way to learn about the local scene is by touring the city. Hop on a Jeepney (jeep style buses), the most popular public transportation in Manila and other places in the Philippines. Jeepneys are easily recognizable because of their colorful, kitsch designs, and they offer one of the cheapest ways of getting somewhere. Jumping aboard one is the best way to get talking to the locals and dip into real life.