by Marcela Dias
If you’ve never been to the Philippines, then you might want to take it into consideration for your next vacation in Asia. It has very interesting culture, and amazing sights. Don’t forget that whenever overseas, get yourself a travel insurance; you don’t want to be caught with a health problem and no way to pay for it. Here is a short list of some of the sights you can visit in the Philippino capital, Manila.
A favourite spot is the 0km Point, from which all distances are measured in the country. It has an interesting history: the first 0km Point was the Manila Cathedral, but when the Americans took the country under their protection, they moved it to a secular point, just across the Rizai Monument.
Speaking about the Cathedral, it’s another great spot to visit in Manila. The original cathedral was destroyed during the Second World War, and it was rebuilt in 1951. It looks suitably old: the architects reproduced a Romanesque architecture with proper sculpture and stonework. The inside is as beautiful: there is an enormous pipe organ, a beautiful rosette stained glass window, and a gold gilded altar. It’s the perfect spot for fans of religious architecture.
If you like civic buildings, you will find Malacanang Palace fascinating. It is the current residence of the President of the country, Tours of the palace are no longer available, but you can still see it from the outside. It is a palace of traditional Spanish colonial architecture, and is suitably big for the grandeur the Spanish lavished on their governors. There is a museum outside the grounds to inform you of its history; you should be careful about wandering too close to the building since civilians used to mass in front of it to request changes in policy and government. Just be safe, and ask before doing anything that might be construed as suspicious by the authorities.
For history buffs, the Intramuros is the best spot. It was built in the 16th century for the Spanish ruling class, on the ruins of an Islamic settlement. The populace settled around the fortress. It is basically a small walled city, enough to house a few thousand people; it had a size of 64 hectares. Today you can only see the ruins, as it was destroyed during the Second World War, but there are still enough traces of it to be interesting. You can even walk on the rampart. Visits are recommended during the day, as the place is badly lit and is rather seedy at night. There are some guided tours; you can request information at the visitor’s center.
These are only a few of some of the amazing sights you can see in Manila. The city is full of historical monuments and sights; you’ll definitely have a handful. You’ll need to spend a lot of time if you want to visit everything! Just make sure you have a cheap travel insurance, and buy some tickets for Manila. You won’t be disappointed!