Hey all, now Miss Hoggy thinks you all are mighty curious on “Where the heck did she go in the Philippines?”. Sadly to say, of so many islands in the Philippines, I managed only to explore one, measly one, the Luzon.
Cultural and Historical Sights.
Manila itself doesn’t have much of a sight, very busy and hazy, but the Old Manila is something to behold. The very center of the old town holds the former bureaucratic central of the Hispanic colonial times, Intramuros (literally means ‘the inner city’). The oldest university in the Philippines (I think) is founded within the walls of Intramuros.
Well, just outside the Intramuros, is Binondo, the Filipino Chinatown. It was built by the Spanish, to literally contain the Chinese immigrants, who then were outnumbering the Spanish by thousands. So the then-government built it to keep them in one place in the one time. To further cement their ownership, the Spaniards then built this cathedral to show the Chinese, who’s the boss.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful church, but the Chinese did make their mark here. Like this.
How did I know so much? Well, I had a walking tour with an amazing local tour guide, Ivan, who runs Old Manila Walks, who is a local Filipino-Chinese, with a passion about these historical streets.
Just outside Manila, is Makati City. Makati exudes a more Singapore-esque atmosphere, organised streets, shopping malls, a lot of business men in suits? I suppose, IT IS the BUSINESS district of the Philippines. But the smell sets itself apart from Singapore. You’ll know it, where you’re there. But isn’ t this about the cultural and historical sights of Luzon? You’re right, Miss Hoggy hasn’t gone off track. The best (to be disputed) Museum in the Philippines is in Makati City, which is the Ayala Museum. The collection is extensive and comprehensive. I think with this one trip to this museum, I’ve learned all I have to learn about the Filipino history.
Special recommendation: The Diorama section on 2nd Floor, with audio guide. (Too bad, no photos. Museum policy)
What to do:
Hmm, have I mentioned that there are a lot of shopping malls in the Philippines? Like A LOT? I’ve mentioned it in passing, once or twice, I think. Anyhow, even if you’re not a shopper, you’ll want to spend time in the malls, first of all, because they are Air-Conditioned! In this hot and humid weather, you would fall in love with them. Because after 2 and 1/2 weeks, I did. Here are the list of the ones I’ve been to.
Greenbelt, my favourite, Makati City
Glorietta, Makati City
SM Mall, Makati City
Mall of Asia, one of the biggest in the world, Pasay City
Alabang Town Center, Alabang
Where to eat? Well, really depends on what you like.
Street food wise, I recommend Binondo. There are plenty of street stalls with amazing Chinese-influenced tidbits here and there. Like the siopao, mentioned in the previous post.
Restaurant wise, if you’re in Makati City, you’re spoiled for choice, especially in Greenbelt. There are hundreds of restaurants of any cuisines here for you to choose. I’ve been living off Greenbelt for maybe a week. I wasn’t bored of it, when I left. My favourite was Masa’s, a Filipino fusion restaurant. This grilled tuna, was amazing, but the dish’s name escapes me.
And you’re lucky to be in Alabang for a day, then you should check Stadium Kitchen out. It’s creative and it’s yummy.
Was there for a friend’s birthday, and we’ve got complimentary dessert, for her birthday. Love complimentary dessert!
Well, this was just one week that I spent in Manila. In the next post, Miss Hoggy is going to tackle the nature and a volcano, yeap, a volcano. See you then.
Psst.. one last thing, I forgot, get your massages here in Manila. It’s affordable and so worth it after a hard day’s ‘work’ *clear throat*.
Recommendation: They are everywhere in any shopping centers, just pick the ones that you fancy, instinctively.