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    METRO MANILA: Best of the Islands Philippines

    Manila City: Historical Tourist Attractions

    1. Plaza San Luis

    Location: Intramuros, Manila

    Description: Named after one of the old barrios of old Intramuros, this is a cultural-cum-commercial complex currently composed of five houses - Casa Manila, Casa Urdaneta, Casa Blanca, Los Hidalgos and El Hogar Filipino. Plaza Ruis 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 priviledged class home.

Philippine Travel Tips and General Informations

Metro Manila Information and Map

Source of Information: Department of Tourism, Philippines

    How to get there?: From Mabini and Pedro Gil Sts., hail a PUJ bound to the "Pier" and get off at the Bonifacio Drive intersection. From here, Plaza San Luis is a 10 minutes walk going towards Aduana St. As an alternative route, one can take any pier bound PUJ in Quezon City and get off at Aduana Street.

    Travel Time: Approximately 25 minutes (from Manila). Approximately an hour (from Quezon City)

    2. Fort Santiago

    Location: Intramuros, Manila

    Description: Which marks its entrance on the northwestern trip to Intramuros, started in 1571 and completed nearly 150 years later by Filipino forced labor. The pre Spanish settlement of Rajah Sulayman 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 is canons were trained to ward off pirates and invaders. Also known as the "Shrine of Freedom", in memory of the heroic Filipinos imprisoned and killed here during the Spanish and Japanes eras. Partly rebuilt from the ruins of World War II, it is now a park and premonade housing a resident theater company - PETA which has used ramparts, old garison and small chapel, as theaters for both traditional and modern plays.

    How to get there?: From T.M. Kalaw St., walk to Mabini or Pedro Gil Sts. and hail a PUJ bound for the pier and get off at the Bonifacio Drive Intersection. From here, Fort Santiago is a five minute walk going towards Aduana Street.

    Travel Time: Approximately 25 minutes.

    3. Rizal Shrine

    Location: Fort Santiago, Intramuros, Manila

    Description: The restored shrine inside Fort Santiago houses Rizaliana items in memory of the Phiilppines' national hero. Jose RIzal spent his last few days here before he was executed on December 30, 1896. Among the objects exhibited are various books and manuscripts by and about the national hero; sketches, paintings, wood carvings and sculpture done by the hero; paraphernalia and souvenir acquired during his several trips abroad; and a collection of colonial style furniture form his hometown in Calamba, Laguna.

    How to get there?: From T.M. Kalaw St., walk to Mabini or Pedro Gil Sts. and hail a PUJ bound for the pier and get off at the Bonifacio Drive Intersection. From here, Fort Santiago is a five minute walk foing towards Aduana Street.

    Travel Time: Approximately 25 minutes.

    4. Mabini Shrine

    Location: Pandacan, Manila

    Description: Apolinarion Mabini, the intellectual leader of the Philippine Revolution, lived in this house as a law student, a lawyer and worker who advocated Philippine Independence from Spain. During the American Occupation, it was much frequented by foreign correspondents who found Mabini both interesting and informative and became intellectual headquarters of the first Philippine Republic.

    The house was made of bamboo and nipa roof. the floors are polished bamboo slats and the walls are sawali. It is a typical lower middle income family house. The pieces of furnitures in the house are replicas of the originals.

    How to get there?: From PWU in Taft Avenue corner Gen. Malvar St., hail a PUJ bound for Paco and get off at the foot of the Nagtahan Bridge. From the bridge, a short walk towards the Presidential Security Group compound leads to the shrine.

    Travel Time: Approximately 20 minutes.

    5. Palacio del Gobernador

    Location: Plaza Roma, Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila

    Description: Formerly the home of Manuel Estacion de Venegas, a governors' aide, the two-storey structure was expropriated and subsequently made the official residence and office of the Spanish governor-generals in 1654 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 Intramuros Administration is presently housed here.

    How to get there?: From T.M. Kalaw St., walk to Mabini or Pedro Gil Sts. and hail a PUJ bound for the pier and get off at Bonifacio Drive Intersection. The Palacio del Gobernador is a 15-minute walk going towards Aduana Street. As an alternative route, hail any pier bound PUJ in Quezon City and get off at Aduana Street.

    Travel Time: Approximately 25 minutes.

    6. Plaza Samplucan

    Location: General Luna St., Intramuros, Manila

    Description: The site belonged to a Spanish merchant who became the paramour of Governor General Alonso Fajardo's wife in 1621. Legend has it that the house in this plaza was their trysting place, shunned as a place of sin and and demolished after their deaths at the hands of the cuckolded official. Tamarind trees spontaneously grew on the spot which, which according to many, is the symbol of their bitter-sweet love affair.

    How to get there?: From T.M. Kalaw Kalaw St., go to Mabini St. or Pedro Gil St. and hail any pier bound PUJ and get off at the Bonifacio Drive intersection. The Plaza Samplaucan is a 15-minute walk going towards Aduana St. As an alternative route, hail a pier bound PUJ in Quezon City and get off at Aduana Street.

    Travel Time: Approximately 25 minutes.

    7. Malacañang Palace

    Location: J.P. Laurel St., San Miguel, Manila

    Description: Seat of the head of Government of the Philippines since Spanish times; officially stands on the northbank of the Pasig river whose beauty has been said in legend and in song.

    Malacañang, from the vernacular "May Lakan Diyan" meaning "There lives a noble man," was built in the 18th century as a recreation villa for a Spanish aristocrat Luis Rocha. In 1825, the Spanish government bought the palace for P5,000.00 thus turned it into a summer house of governor generals. The earthquake which brought down the Palacio del Gobernador in Intra-muros officially designated Mala-cañang Palace as the permanent seat of the Head of State.

    How to get there?: From T.M. Kalaw St., hail a PUJ bound for "Quiapo". Get off at Quiapo and hail another PUJ going to "San Miguel". Get off at the J.P. Rizal Laurel Street and proceed to gate number 6 of the palace.

    Travel Time: Approximately 30 minutes.

    8. Rizal Park

    Location: Rizal Park, Manila

    Description: Considered as one of the largest parks in Southeast Asia. It has an era of 58 hectares which runs from Taft Avenue up to the walls of the famous Manila Bay.

    Known as the Bagumbayan field during the Spanish era since this was where the Filipino Moslems took refuge after the Spaniards occupied Intramuros in 1571. It was also called "Luneta" which means which means "Little Moon". For 74 years, it was used as an execution ground by the Spaniards for Filipino rebels and multineers. By 1902, Daniel Burnham, architect and city planner chose Bagumbayan as the site of proposed American government center. He designed a U-shaped position building, but only three were erected. These are the Executive House, the Department of Tourism building and the Department of Finance building.

    It is acquired its present name "Rizal National Park" in dedication to the Philippine national hero, Dr. Jose Protacio Rizal whose mortal remains were interred in the cornerstone of the Rizal Monument in 1912.

    How to get there?: Coming from the south of Manila, take any Taft Avenue bound jeepney. Get off right at the park. From Quiapo, one can take a PUJ bound fro T.M. Kalaw St. via Taft Avenue and get off right at the park.

    Travel Time: Approximately 30 minutes.

    9. Chinese Cemetery

    Location: South Gate on Aurora Avenue, Blumentritt, Manila

    Description: Founded in the mid 1850's by Lim Ong and Tan Quien Sien (Don Carlos Palanca) to accommodate the many Chinese, who were not allowed to be buried in Spanish cemeteries.

    The cemetery covering 54 hectares has streets lined with mausoleums which are richly adorned with marble and wrought iron, some with strained glass windows. Some imposing mausoleum serve the dual purpose of honoring the dead and exhibiting the socio-economic status of the family.

    The crematorium is opposite the temple. A nearby building houses ashes on 2nd Floors and on the 3rd Floor, the bones of those who will return to the mainland.

    The poor are buried in terraces to the left of the Buddhist Temple.

    How to get there?: From T.M. Kalaw St., proceed to Taft Avenue anf hail a PUJ bound for "Blumentritt / Dimasalang". Get off right in front of the SIlver Drugstore. A 15-minute walk towards the south gate on Aurora Avenue.

    Take the LRT at UN Avenue station or Pedro Gil station. Get off at R. Papa station. The cemetery is right down from the station.

    Travel Time: Approximately 30 minutes.

    10. Paco Park and Cemetery

    Location: Paco, Manila

    Description: Once a Spanish cemetery surrounded by a massive circular wall during the Spanish era. Intended for the victims of the cholera epidemic niches inside the cemetery were leased for P20.00 for three years, renewable. When all niches were filled, remains of occupants those leases had expired were transferred to the ossorio t allow for new burials. The last interment was in 1913.

    Remains of Spanish governors and the elite were laid to rest in the Chapel of San Pancratius. Today, only the remains of Governor-General Ramon Solano are still in the chapel.

    In 1996, the cemetery was declared a National Park which makes it a charming spot where visitors promenade.

    How to get there?: From Taft Avenue corner Padre Faura Sts., hail a PUJ ato Paco and get off along Padre Faura, and take a 7-minute walk to the park.

    Travel Time: Approximately 20 minutes.

    11. Ermita District

    Location: Ermita, Manila

    Description: Originally known as "Lagyo". In 1591, a chapel was constructed for Nuestra Señora de Guia. A Mexican hermit arrived in the place and lived in the chapel and people referred to ti as "La Ermita".

    Ermita was a fishing village prior to the arrival of the Spaniards. When the Spaniards moved out of Intramuros, they integrated with the Indios in Ermita and adjacent Malate and to a lesser extent, Paco. These became a fashionable residential areas in the Spanish era to the American era.

    Today, Ermita is the heart of the tourist belt area, with countless restaurants, bars, clubs, handicraft stores and art galleries.

    How to get there?: Along T.M. Kalaw st. or Maria Orosa St., hail a PUJ going to Mabini and get off right in Ermita.

    Travel Time: Approximately 10 minutes.

    12. Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila

    Location: General Luna Street, Intramuros, Manila.

    Description: Formally opened on July 17, 1967, is the first university in the country to have its official name in Filipino. The first and only tuition free institution of higher learning in the Philippines and perhaps in Asia. It is also the first and only university funded solely by a municipal government in the country.

    How to get there?: From Quiapo or from the Manila City Hall, hail a PUJ bound Mabini. Get off at the Round Table a 2-minute walk towards the university.

    Travel Time: Approximately 20 minutes.

    13. Plaza Dilao Paco District

    Location: Paco, Manila

    Description: On a patch of land across the road from the Paco Post Office building, is a statue of Japanese Feudal Lord Wukon Takayama, who was exiled to the Philippines in 1614 because he refused to disvow his Christian beliefs. At that time, the Spaniards referred to the Paco Area as the "Yellow Plaza" because of the more than 3,000 Japanese who resided there.

    Plaza Dilao is the last vestige of the old town of Paco.

    How to get there?: From the PWU in Taft Avenue corner Gen. Malvar St., hail a PUJ bound Paco and get off at the foot of Nagtahan bridge. From the bridge, take a short 15-minute walk towards the Plaza.

    Travel Time: Approximately 30 minutes.

    14. University of Sto. Thomas

    Location: España, Manila

    Description: The oldest university of the Philippines and in Asia that was founded on April 11, 1611 by Reverend Father Miguel de Benavides.

    Originally opened as the College of Our Lady of the Rosary - the university has been bestowed the title "Royal" by King Charles III of Spain 8n 1758, while Pope Leo XIII granted the title "Pontifical" in 1902.

    Located originally in Intramuros, it was only transferred to its present site in 1911. The university has 3 ecclesiastical faculties, namely: Theology, Canon law and Philosophy. There are 12 colleges and faculties as well.

    Owned by the Spanish Dominicans which is governed by the Board of Trustees. Until the late 19th century, the university only accepted students od Spanish parentage. Women were first admitted in 1927.

    UST campus served also as an interment camp for American, British, Canadians and other allied nationals by the Japanese Occupation Forces from January 1942 - February 1945. More than 10,000 people were imprisoned although it never held more than 4,000 at one time.

    How to get there?: From T.M. Kalaw St., hail a PUJ for "Fairview". Get off right in front of the university along España.

    Travel Time: Approximately 20 minutes.

    15. San Miguel District

    Location: San Miguel, Manila

    Description: During the 18th century, the place developed into a fashionable summer resort area because of its nearness to the once clean and non-polluted Pasig river. Elegant villas fringed the river, streets lined with flamed trees, and occupants commuted by carriage going to the place.

    How to get there?: From T.M. Kalaw St., hail a PUJ bound for Quiapo and take another PUJ bound to San Miguel. Get off at San Miguel.

    Travel Time: Approximately 25 minutes.

    16. Isla de Convalencia (Hospicio de San Jose)

    Location: San Miguel, Manila

    Description: An orphanage which was established in 1782 by Don Francisco Gomez Enriquez and Doña Barbara Versoza in pious gratitude for Don's recovery from illness. Now known as the Hospicio de San Jose and is under the management of the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul. The orphanage accepts "Abandoned babies and children."

    How to get there?: From T.M. Kalaw, hail a PUJ bound for Quiapo. Get off at Quiapo. Take another PUJ going to San Miguel. Get off half-way of the Ayala bridge.

    Travel Time: Approximately 25 minutes.

    17. Pasig River

    Location: Manila (a portion)

    Description: Considered as the "Cradle of Civilization" in Manila, 1 16-km. long river. Great communities have always sprung along waterways and that was how Maynilad must have begun.

    How to get there?: One can have a joyride in Pasig river by taking the metro ferry down MacArthur bridge.

    Travel Time: Approximately 25 minutes.

    18. Manila Bay

    Location: Manila (a portion)

    Description: Considered the finest harbor in the Far East, where the famous "Mock Battle" occured. This was the battle between the Americans and the Spaniards in 1898.

    Many historians believed that the Manila-Acapulco Galleon Trade between Philippines and Mexico thrived principally because of the strategic location of Manila Bay. The Galleon Trade lasted for 244 years.

    How to get there?: One can start the tour from Rizal Park going towards the Bay.

    Travel Time: Approximately 30 minutes.

    19. Escolta

    Location: Escolta, Sta. Cruz, Manila

    Description: The elite shopping center during the Spanish and American regimes.

    How to get there?: From T.M. Kalaw, proceed to Taft Avenue and hail a PUJ bound for Sta. Cruz. Get off right in front of Sta. Cruz Church. A 5-minute walk towards Escolta. From Ma. Orosa St., hail a PUJ going to "Divisoria". Get off at Escolta.

    Travel Time: Approximately 15 minutes.

    20. Philippine Normal College

    Location: Taft Avenue corner Ayala Boulevard, Manila

    Description: The first college institution founded by the American Colonial Government in 1903 specializing in the field of education.

    How to get there?: One can start from RIzal Park going towards P. Burgos St. Cross Taft Avenue and the college is right in front of the Executive House.

    Travel Time: Approximately 25 minutes.

    21. Chinatown

    Location: Binondo, Manila

    Description: The Chinatown which is located along the northern bank of the historic Pasig river symbolizes the long history of the Chinese people presence in the Philippines; long antedating the arrival of the Spaniards. The Chinese had been much involved in business, especially the retail trade and have been absorbed into a Philippine life-style.

    How to get there?: From Taft Avenue or Ma. Orosa St., hail a PUJ going to "Divisoria". Get off at the "Arch of Goodwill" which is the main gateway to Chinatown.

    Travel Time: Approximately 10 to 20 minutes.

Manila Travel Information
Brief History
- Geography / Political Subdivision - Climate / Population / Language - Historical Tourist Attractions - Cultural Tourist Attractions - Religious Tourist Attractions - Man-made Tourist Attractions - Festivals - Manila Map

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