|The Manila Catheral|
I can safely say that I have been to at least 40 countries in my lifetime but I am ashamed to say that I have not traveled around my own country as much as that. There are sooo many places all over the Philippines that I have yet to explore and discover. I mean, I've already known all along that my country has the most amazing beaches and magnificent nature spots. I always used to think that it is only known for jusst these kinds of spots and that we don't really have any old buildings and palaces and monasteries like other countries do. Last Weekend, my sisters and I decided to hire a car and driver and tour Old Manila, The oldest part of our capital. I was pretty surprised to see that we also had our own kind of old cultural spots that had nothing to do with beaches!
The very first place we visited was China town, Binondo as it's called here. We drove down Ongpin, one of the well known streets. I didn't really take any pictures as we just drove through and only got out once to purchase Hopia, a kind of mongo bean pastry and cake. Anyway, driving down this road I was already amazed. I mean, I felt like I was in Hong Kong or something! It was so fascinating to watch the daily lives of everyone who lived in this part of town! We also drove past several old streets and churches. We then had lunch at Ambos Mundos, one of the oldest restaurants in Manila. They had a huge, pet pig right outside their door! It was really cute! Apparently, it was for good luck.
|Pet Pig for goodluck right outside the Ambos Mundos Restaurant|
Finally we drove to Intramuros and spent most of our tour here. Intramuros is a walled city that is the oldest district of Manila. We visited the Manila Cathedral which is a beautiful big church. We also visited San Agustin Church, one of the most beautiful churches in the country. The streets along it were all cobbled and they just looked so quaint and pretty. Along those cobbled streets was Casa Manila which was a big old house. We went inside and checked out the house to see how the people (who were probably extremely wealthy in their time) used to live before.
|The Manila Cathedral inside the walled city of Intramuros.|
|Another view of the Manila Cathedral|
|Buildings surrounding the Cathedral|
|Details at the Manila Cathedral|
|Inside the beautiful San Agustin Church|
|San Agustin Church.|
|San Agustin Church|
|Right outside Casa Manila|
|Cobbled Streets inside Intramuros|
|Beautiful Courtyard of Casa Manila|
|Inside the courtyard of Casa Manila|
After Intramuros, we visited the National Musuem of Manila. The place was humongous and pretty amazing. I know I sound so ignorant and so not nationalistic when I keep saying this, but seriously all the places we visited kept surprising me and I always had this thought in my head : I can't believe we have something like this in our country! The National Musuem had a very European vibe, was very old fashioned inside with huge rooms and had art deco style architecture. We saw the Spolarium which is the most famous painting in the country by our national artist, Juan Luna.
|The Spolarium by Juan Luna|
|Close-up of the Spolarium|
|A bust of our national hero, Jose Rizal|
|Winged Statue right when you go inside.|
After the musuem we decided to stop by Paco Park. It is a small chapel that is located inside a park. it looked so pretty and whimsical with all the plants and trellised stone walls! Did you know this place used to be a graveyard? This place also happens to be where my sister is getting married this December.
I am so, so glad that I did this tour of Old Manila. Never again will I underestimate my own country. I can't wait to discover more places around our archipelago and become a local tourist again!
Wishing everyone a happy Travel Tuesday!
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