As with many other countries in the world, the Chinese have found a niche in the
Philippines. It is apparent in Binando, where Chinatown is found.
Situated in this bustling area, Chinatown is filled with all things Chinese from
Peking duck and Buddhist temples to gold watches, snake soup, and wonder
herbs. The beauty of Chinese songs and the permeating scent of incense
complete the ambience of Chinatown.
Known as "the Rock," Corregidor Island is about 3 kilometers long and
is about one hour from the CCP Complex in Roxas Boulevard by cruiser boat.
The island was the last bastion of the Allied forces in the Pacific during World
War II. The ruined barracks and artilleries are evidence of the intense
fighting between the Philippine/American force and the Japanese. The many
historical landmarks on the island can all be reached by foot. For those
staying overnight, there is a 15 cottage beach resort and a 31-room hotel.
Picnic grounds are available and are ideal for camping. Today,
"the Rock" is a Memorial to Peace, Valor and International
Taking a walk through cobbled streets paved with Spanish colonial buildings and
old church plazas, transports the visitor into 16th century Manila.
Puertas (gates) and baluartes (battlements) have been heroically restored to
preserve the charm and historicity of this once-upon-a-time bastion of Spanish
culture. Within Intramuros complex lies the Fort Santiago (one of the
oldest fortifications within the walls), the Manila Cathedral (a magnificent
architectural feat with its intricate stone carvings, stained glass mosaics, and
rosette windows), and the San Agustin Church (the oldest structure in the
country with its Baroque interiors and trompe l'oeil murals).
Las Pinas Bamboo Organ
Made of bamboo, this organ is the only one in the world and is found in Las
Pinas. This beautiful piece of musical instrument is housed in an old
church made of cobbled stones and takes center stage every year in the Bamboo
Organ Festival. Both local and international artist have shared the
spotlight with Las Pinas' pride over the years.
A refreshing patch of blues and green can be found in the midst of Manila's
hustle and bustle in the form of Rizal Park or, as it is commonly known, Luneta.
This park is a tribute to the country's national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. A
refuge for early morning joggers and those practicing tai chi, it is also a
place where mothers walk with their babies for some sun. Luneta enables
even the busiest person to pause for a moment in the afternoon for a glimpse of
the beautiful sunset and transforms at night into a romantic rendezvous for
lovers. It is also home to a planetarium, fountains, a light and sound
sculptural show, an amphitheater and a children's playground. In addition,
Luneta has Chinese and Japanese gardens.
Sports and Clubs
In Manila, the greens beckon with 11 available in the metropolis of
Manila. There is also something for yacht fans at the Manila Yacht
Club. Also popular are sports facilities - swimming pools, tennis and
basketball courts, billiard halls and bowling lanes.
Making their way into Manila are crafts of various regions an provinces.
In any department store in Manila, visitors can look at the Filipinana section
and marvel at the diversity of handicraft selection. There are
malongs and brassware from Mindanao, hand-embroidered pina cloth from Batangas,
wood figurines from Paete, and all sorts of basketry products made of rattan,
bamboo, vines and leaves. There are a number of stores which specialize in
Philippine handicrafts such as Tesoro's Silahis Arts and Artifacts and Manazan's.
At Manila's frenzied, frantic flea markets, bartering is the operative word
while shopping. The bargain basement prices of fabrics, clothes, shoes,
houseware and produce will have bargain hunters in love with the great
deals. The best places to go are Baclaran, Divisoria, and Quiapo.
Baclaran, at the southern tip of Roxas Boulevard, is the place to go for
practical clothing. Divisoria is the wholesaler's paradise for clothes,
home decor, watches and just about everything else under the sun. Hunt
down lovely wood carvings, capiz shell items, buri bags, and embroidered napkins
under the Quezon Bridge in Quiapo.
Religious icons are the most popular antique pieces in Manila, specifically the
image of Baby Jesus (Santo Nino). Along the Padre Faura, religious
articles such as altar pieces are available at antique shops. In
Ermita's antique shops, Chinese ceramic and jars can be found dating back to the
barter trade era.
Manila is one of Asia's premier cities and an international gateway city.
Servicing over 25 international airlines, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport
has duty-free centers, tourist information centers, banks, postal services, car
rental and chartered flight services, hotel and travel agency representatives
and a medical clinic. For visitors going to Manila on cruise ships, the
ships dock at Manila Bay.
The main routes are plied by the Light Rail Transit (LRT), cabs and buses as
well as the colorful jeepneys. They particularly cover the areas of the
historic Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), which goes through the
metropolis from Monumento in the north the Baclaran in the south. A
tricycle (motorcycle with side cars) can always be taken for inner city roads or
a pedicab (bicycle with side cars). In Binondo and Intramuros, the little
horse drawn carriages (kalesas) can still be found. Or, if preferred,
rentals are always available from any car rental agency.
Excellent service and amenities can be found in Manila's many hotels from Roxas
Boulevard and Ayala Avenue to Ortigas Center. For the visitors on a
tighter budget, they can take advantage of the metropolis' many inns,
apartelles and pension houses.
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