Infamous from its monstrous traffic jam, pollution and over-population, Manila has its own charm from its Old Spanish era that is still evident from different places in Manila like Malate and Intramuros. There are some places like Makati, Taguig or Fort Bonifacio that are modern and advanced, while there are some parts that are still impoverished. Manila is one of the top destinations to visit among foreigners and locals. Because of its interesting places, most tourists opt to stay for a couple of days to explore the heart of Manila before their flight to other destinations.
There are tons of fascinating places to visit like Mall of Asia which is one of the biggest malls in the world. If you want entertainment, you could also include in your list the Manila Ocean Park, Star City, Resorts World Manila and taverns in The Fort, Ortigas or Eastwood. But if you just want to go for a walk, you need to put on top of your list are Manila Bay and SM Mall of Asia’s SM by the Bay. And if you have a heart to know more about Manila and its beautiful history, you need to visit the historical places in Manila like Rizal Park, Fort Santiago, Cultural Center of the Philippines, Museums, Churches, etc.
Since it was a holiday here in the Philippines last Monday in celebration of National Heroes Day, I had an opportunity to visit Manila. It was just a spontaneous decision out of my longing for travel. But since I need to save up money for my tour in Malaysia and Singapore in two weeks time, Manila is the perfect place to visit for a budget traveler like me. I have allot Php500.00 for my Manila tour.
Chinatown in the Heart of Manila
It was 11 in the morning when I left home. From Makati City, I took a jeepney going to LRT Taft Station, took a train from LRT Taft Station going to Carriedo Station, then get off the train and that was the start of my Manila tour. Without any itinerary and being unfamiliar with the place, I just walked around Carriedo, then Escolta to Ongpin until I saw the familiar welcoming arch of Chinatown. Since it was 12 noon already, my goal was to find the best Chinese restaurant on that street. I randomly asked 3 persons of where they think was the best and inexpensive Chinese restaurant in Chinatown and two of them suggested the Lan Zhou La Mien. I went there and tried their best-seller noodle, Beef LaMien, and a half dozen frozen dumpling.
Chinese Restaurant: Lan Zhou La Mien
Address: 1354, Masangkay Street, Benavidez St. Binondo, Manila
Phone: (02) 559 9466
After my Zhou La Mien experience, I toured around Chinatown for more than an hour then went straight to my next destination: Intramuros.
Intramuros: A Walk to Remember
From Chinatown, I continued walking until I reached Recto Avenue. From there I took a jeepney with signboard going to Pier until I reached Intramuros, a trip that lasted less than 10 minutes. From Bonifacio Drive, I started my journey in Intramuros searching for historical landmarks.
When I reached General Luna Street, I saw a stone-wood structure old house across San Agustin Church. I entered it without even knowing that it was Casa Manila, a museum depicting Colonial lifestyle during Spanish colonization of the Philippines. As I entered the building, the first thing I noticed was the architecture. The furniture, artwork and even all the fixtures of the house are authentic antiques. When I was inside Casa Manila I felt like I was brought back in time. I was imagining what it was like before, how was the family lived there doing that time. I was picturing every corner of the museum and all the stories behind that house with only those walls and furniture was the only witnesses.
Here are the things you will see in every part of the museum. I don’t have any photos because it’s not allowed to take photos inside the museum.
Puerta Principal – main entry gate made of heavy wood
Zaguan – Corridor
Caballariza – framed by brick arches where carriage is kept.
Oficina / Biblioteca – Office/Library
Caja De Hiero
Dormitorios – bedrooms
Antesala – also known as the Caida
Sala – living room
Oratorio – Prayer room
Dormitorios – Bedrooms
Comedor – Dining
Punkah – manually-operated fan
Cocina – kitchen
Azotea – roof
Casa Manila Museum, Intramuros
Address: Plaza San Luis Complex, Corner Real & Gen. Luna Streets, Intramurous, Manila
Phone: (02) 527 4084
Admission Fee: Php50 for children/students/senior citizens and Php75 for adults
Right after my visit at Casa Manila, I spent an hour walking along Intramuros. It was a great experience to see with your own eyes the beauty of Manila; it is still visible now even if so many generations have already passed. My experience in Manila has opened my eyes to know more about Manila and its history. I’ll definitely come back one of these days with my own itinerary to visit other historical places in Manila.
Casa Manila Entrance: Php75.00