Manila is the capital City of the Republic of Philippines. It is the economic hub and thus has developed greatly  in various sectors like infrustructure, education, financials and general lifestyle of the people. I however was overwelmed and happily so, with the history and culture that they appreciate and continue to maintain to date. I enjoyed the following activities and highly recommend the same:

1. Walk around Intramuros:

Intramuros is Spanish for “Within the Walls” as this town is fortified by high walls. The walls were built to protect the residents from invasions and still stand strong.

Historic walled area in Intramuros,Manila, Philippines
The Intramuros “historic Walled City” in Manila, Philippines

As I walked through the town, I felt like I had been teleported into the Spanish colonial times or what I think they may have looked like. On the walls, cannons stand ready to fight off any threat, the infrastructure is dominantly Spanish inspired with brightly coloured buildings and narrow streets. The soldiers protecting the residents are decked in uniform that is reminiscent of the Spaniard soldiers uniform.

Wangechi at Intramuros, Manila, Philippines
Observing the Intramuros “fortified wall’ in Manila, Philippines
Beautiful coloured buildings in Intramuros, Manila , Philippines
The Spanish influenced brightly coloured buildings in Intramuros, Manila, Philippines

It is also home to the first church ever built in the Luzon Isand-San Agustin Church. It was destroyed but later re-built in 1787-1797 which makes it a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a beauty to behold and a masterpiece to marvel at as you walk through, make sure you say a prayer.

St. Agustin Church in Manila, Philippines
At the beautiful St. Agustin church, a UNESCO site in Manila, Philippines

2) Attend a Celebration

I had the privilege of attending a religious ceremony-The Grand Marian Procession . It is a Catholic ceremony and is held in honour of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, which celebrates the belief in the Immaculate Conception of Jesus by the Blessed Virgin Mary. It takes place every first Sunday in December and has been held annually since 1978. The event is held in the streets of Intramuros and is open to the public.

Wangechi in Manila, Philippines
At the Grand Marion Procession in Manila, Philippines

The followers are dressed to impress, with each of their clothes showcasing the different regions of the Philippines that they hail from. The air is filled with beautiful music in the form of hymns and choruses, different instruments accompany this and the people dance and pray.

Christians atthe Grand Marion Procession
Catholic faithful dressed in regional traditional wear at the Grand Marion Procession in Manila, Philippines

The main showstoppers however are the different Christian artifacts that are on display. These are mainly sculptures of Mary and Jesus bedecked in shimmering jewellery, The Cross and the Bible. These are carried atop heavy podiums that are then carried on the shoulders of the church members. The feeling is overwhelming, the glow on the peoples faces, the emotions that fill the air,  the joy, the prayers, the songs, a must attend experience.

Christian Artworks on Display at the Grand Marion Procession, Manila, Philipppines
Catholic Artworks on Display at the Grand Marion Procession, Manila, Philippines
Christian Artworks on Display at the Grand Marion Procession, Manila, Philippines
Catholic Artworks on Display at the Grand Marion Procession, Manila, Philippines

3) Visit the Rizal/Luneta Park

It is an urban park that is located a few meters from Intramuros and shares stories of Philippines history. The park has lots to both educate and entertain any and all visitors. The Rizal Monument holds the remains of Dr.Rizal who is a national hero, the Japan Garden and Chinese Gardens showcase the friendship and culture of the countries, the colourful dancing pool is a spectacle and the variety of attractions will keep you there for several hours .

Wangechi at Rizal/Luneta Park, Manila, Philippines
Enjoying the dancing pools at Rizal Park, Manila, Philippines

4) Go dancing

I had the chance to sample the party scene which is diverse and caters to different tastes. I got the chance to sample samba and salsa and now I have decided I need more lessons to become a pro.

Wangechi enjoying the party scene in Manila, Philippines
Enjoying the party scene in Manila, Philippines

5) Visit Resort World

This resort is not only beautiful from the outside, but amazing on the inside. It is a luxury resort and the shops, design, decor and service reflect the same.They even went out of their way to remind me that I am a Cinderella:-).

Wangechi at Resort World, Manila, Philippines
Enjoying being Cinderela at Resort World, Manila, Philippines

6)Make Friends

Always, always be open to make new friendships whenever you travel. I made friends who enabled me to learn more about Philippines, take pictures of me as I was travelling solo as well as interactions  to empower my life. I was grateful to have an old friend assist and add flavour to my trip-Thank you Miano.

 

Wangechi with friends in Manila, Philippines
Enjoying a night out with friends in Manila, Philippines

7) Ride a Jeepney

Jeepneys are the most popular means of transport in Philippines. They are brightly coloured, they are funky and  most are face me, which means you and the other passengers face each other and they are affordable.

Wangechi riding a Jeepney in Manila,Philippines
Riding a two seater Jeepney in Manila, Philippines

8) Let your inner child loose

a)Go in search of the boodlers,

These chaps always bring a smile to my face. Choose your fancy-Gold or Silver 🙂

Wangechi having fun in Manila, Philippines
Having fun in Manila, Philippines

b) Go in search of cute statues

Wangechi having fun in Manila, Philippines
With new friend in Manila, Philippines

c) Enjoy a train ride

This train allows you to sight see parts of Intramuros, without getting tired on foot. It is also quite cute so, take a ride.

Trains in Intramuros, Manila, Philippines
Enjoy a train ride in the cutest adult train in Intramuros, Manila, Philippines

9) Enjoy the delicacies

There is a great array of local dishes that will have you licking your fingers. Rice seemed like the staple food and then everything else. Their food is really delicious , thus go out and try. I ate a meal that seemed to be dancing on my plate-literally. Once it was put before me, it seemed like a vegetable but continuously the leaves would open and close. Now, that’s what I call a unique meal.

Food

10) Go shopping

Philippines has shopping options for all types of tastes and pockets. I shopped, shopped and shopped. They are also quite liberal on matters dressing in most places. I was fascinated when I saw women in sometimes very short outfits, yet the men would in no way harrass them with cat calls or the like, as is common in some areas world wide.

 

Manila is an amazing place with a great mix of modernity and history. I truly enjoyed my stay here and I hope to return to experience more including the language.For more on Philippines experience, check out:

Baguio: http://79.170.40.46/wangechigitahi.co.ke/the-mysterious-baguio-exposed/

Bohol: http://79.170.40.46/wangechigitahi.co.ke/bitter-sweet-experience-in-bohol/

Philippines 101: http://79.170.40.46/wangechigitahi.co.ke/philippines-101/

 

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