Top 5 Historical Places in Manila

When I was still a student, one of the things that I looked forward to in every school year was the field trip. It makes me happy and excited whenever I attend field trips. I find it fun because I get to spend time with my classmates while eating lots of food during those long stretches of travel. The eating and bonding are great and all, but the best thing about field trips for me is the destinations involved. I find it awesome to personally see places that remind us of the history of the Philippines.

Manila is the capital city of the Philippines, and of course, there are a lot of places in this city that have become a symbol of the country’s identity. It’s nice to have the opportunity to see those and discover things about our history. So let me go through the top 5 historical places in Manila for you to see what I saw when I had my field trips in school.

Paco Park

Paco Park

#5: PACO PARK

Located in General Luna Street, Paco Park was built by the Dominican Fathers in 1820 for the purpose of burying the dead of the Spanish elites. It was once the municipal cemetery of Manila for autocratic families who resided in old Manila or Intramuros during the Spanish colonial era. Dr. Jose P Rizal was interred there after his execution and was later exhumed and was buried back to Luneta a.k.a. Bagumbayan, where he was executed.

It is now a recreational area where, when Friday arrives, “Paco Park Presents” feature the finest musical talents and chorales. Local and guest stars perform for an evening of classical and traditional Filipino music.

The Malacanang Palace

The Malacanang Palace

#4: MALACANANG PALACE

This is where the current Philippine president during his/her term. The palace is located along the north bank of the Pasig River in Manila. The name came from a Tagalog phrase, “may lakan diyan,” which means “a rich man lives there”. But the Spaniards said that the name came from “mama lakaya”, which can be translated as “the fishermen who laid their catch there”.

Inside the complex of Malacanang Palace, you will find Bonifacio Hall. It is the Premier Guest house used by President Ferdinand Marcos, which later became the office of President Corazon Aquino. During the leadership of President Joseph Ejercito Estrada, this hall was again used as his residence. Aside from Bonifacio Hall, other places that you can see in Malacanang are the Kalayaan Hall, Mabini Hall and the New Executive Building. There’s also a Malacanang Park, which has a golf course.

Rizal Park

Rizal Park

#3: RIZAL PARK

Also known as Luneta Park, Rizal Park was named after the Philippines’ national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal. He was executed there on December 30, 1896, which sparked the Philippine Revolution against the Spanish colonizers. Also, the political rallies of Ferdinand Marcos and Corazon Aquino took place in Rizal. It is there where dictatorial government of Marcos ended.

Rizal Park is located at the heart of Manila, along Manila Bay, where the historical World War II took place. Because of its beautiful and garden and grassy lawns, it is a favorite spot for unwinding and socializing. It is also a bonding place for family picnics on Sundays and holidays.

The bronze and granite Rizal monument is among the most famous cultural land marks in the country, and underneath this monument are the remains of our national hero.

Fort Santiago

Fort Santiago

#2: FORT SANTIAGO

Here is a citadel built by Spanish conquistador, Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, for the newly established city of Manila. It was named after St. James the Great Santiago, the patron saint of Spain. Before the Spanish occupation, it was the settlement of Raja Sulayman, a Muslim Filipino.

Fort Santiago was used as the base of power. Now, it has become a tourist attraction, where you will see the shrine of Jose Rizal. It is also the place where you will see the museum that showcases a replica of Jose Rizal’s prison cell.

Intramuros, Manila

Intramuros, Manila

#1: INTRAMUROS

Sometimes referred to as “The Walled City”, Intramuros is the oldest district and core of Manila. It was the seat of the government during the Spanish colonial period. Its name in Latin literally means “Within the walls.” The city is located along Manila Bay and south of the Pasig River.

Before the Spanish colonization, Intramuros was called Manila itself. It was a large Malayan-Islamic resettlement named Maynilad (ruled by 3 chieftings – Raja Matanda, Lakan Dula, and lastly, Raja Sulayman). Its strategic location made it ideal for Tagalog traders to trade with other Asian civilization such as Chinese and Islamic merchants.

Like the other historical places in Manila, it has turned into a tourist spot, and if you want to have a tour around Intramuros, you can enjoy a two-wheel battery-operated chariot, a service offered by White Knight Hotel Intramuros!

Top 5 Street Foods in Manila

BalutFOOD TRIP! That’s what I always love to do, and the most delightful foods for me are the street foods around Manila. These types of cuisine tastes amazing, and what’s awesome is that they are all oh so cheap and affordable. There are several street foods to choose from, and if it will be your first to time to visit Manila, you should try all of them! As quality hotels satisfy your need for relaxation, so does these foods quench your craving for unique delicacies.

To guide you and to boost your appetite, here are the top 5 street foods in Manila that I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t want to miss!

1) Balut – It is a fertilized embryo duck that is boiled alive and eaten in the egg shell. Because it has a broth that should be sipped before peeling the shell, baluts tastes its best when eaten hot. It is known to be a high-protein, hearty snack. If you want to have a balut snack without visiting the streets, just keep your ears alert. Many balut vendors roam around villages and shout, “BALUT!”, in the evening with a deep, loud voice.

2) Ihaw-ihaw – These are foods that are cooked through broiling or roasting. The process of cooking is common, but some of the foods involved can be unusual. Ihaw-ihaw menus in the Philippines regularly include – pork barbecue, balun-balunan (chicken gizzard), betamax (chicken blood), isaw (chicken/pig intestines), helmet (chicken head), and adidas (chicken feet).

3) Tukneneng, Fishball, Kikiam, etc. – These are deep fried foods that are eaten with the help of a barbeque stick. Tukneneng is a hard-boiled quail egg coated with orange colored flour. Other vendors also sell squid balls and sliced hotdogs. Tip: pour lots of sweet sauce on your cup or paper plate!

Dirty Ice Cream4) Dirty Ice Cream – The ice cream itself is not really dirty; what makes it unclean is how the vendor sells it. That the vendor does all his selling without gloves makes me uneasy. But since I’ve never had contracted any illness from eating dirty ice cream, I still indulge myself in its pleasures.

5) Taho – While balut vendors fill the steets at night, taho vendors prepare for the morning, which is when they sell their sweet product. Taho is soy mixed with tapioca balls and vanilla sugar. When I was a kid, I always want to have this as my breakfast.

So these are the top 5 street foods in Manila. I hope you developed an appetite while reading about these scrumptious foods! Happy eating!