Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Philippines. Manila

Manila is a huge city full of people and traffic jams everywhere, but it is quite interesting: a blend of Spanish + South East Asian + American cultures.

Our second day in Manila, after our visit to Cordillera region (rice terraces), started in Rizal Park, Manila's main park. On the North end, there is a nice square with the museum of the Filipino people...

... and a 3-D representation of the country in a huge pool.

Next to it, the historic district of Intramuros, which is the place where Spanish people used to live. Everything there looks Spanish... It feels like going to some little town in Castilla.

Of course, if it is Spanish, there are churches. This is the Church of Santo Tomás, which is UNESCO World Heritage.

And Santo Tomás Monastery next to it.

Nearby Casa Manila is the perfect example of colonial Spanish house, which could well be in Mexico or Cuba. ;)

And the nice Cathedral of Manila, also World Heritage.

The highlight of Intramuros is Fort Santiago, next to the sea, and the original Spanish settlement.

José Rizal, a writer and symbol of the Philippines struggle for independence, was held prisoner in here, until he was killed in Rizal Park in 1896.

Another view of Fort Santiago:

After visiting Intramuros, we came back to Malate, the touristic center, and went to San Andrés Market to see local products.

And also visited Malate Church (once again World Heritage)...

... before watching the sunset by the sea.

Then, back to Rizal Park, to see the place where he was killed...

... and the monument to commemorate his struggle to defend his nation.

At night, we went for dinner to an amazing luxurious restaurant where Filipino traditional dance and music was performed.

Philippines was a really nice destination for a long weekend from Japan. If you have visited South East Asia and think you have it all figured out... well, just go to the Philippines!! ;)

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