One of my favourite things to do, was to go for a walk through GREENBELT PARK. It was such a wonderful green oasis among the hustle and bustle of a very busy city. And it was only a few minutes walk from our condotel. There were many benches to sit on and take in the beauty of the gardens, waterfalls and ponds. Swans could be seen gracing the ponds and colorful exotic fish could be seen swimming in the ponds.
Greenbelt also contains a lovely chapel dedicated to Sto. Nino de Paz. The Catholic denomination chapel is set amidst the beautiful gardens of GreenBelt Park.
Located in the central business district of Makati in metro Manila, the AYALA CENTER is a commercial complex comprising of business, shopping, dining and entertainment. The development originally started with a number of shops and Greenbelt Park, before expaning to cover over 50 hectares of facilities.
The complex also includes the Ayala Museum and a number of hotels. Hans and I stayed at a condotel Prince Plaza II in this area. For us it was the perfect location.
The present MANILA CATHEDRAL is the sixth to rise on the site since 1581. Previous structures were destroyed by either fire or earthquake. Rebuilt in 1958, the Cathedral incorporated the Rosette windows of the old cathedral.
This is really a spectacular Cathedral. We went inside to take in its beauty and there was a wedding going on. We sat in the back rows and watched the ceremony taking place (and bonus - it was cool and air-conditioned).
After the church ceremony, the wedding party walked across the street to take pictures at PLAZA ROMA with its beautiful gardens, a fountain and a bronze statue of King Carlos IV which was installed in 1824.
Thursday, January 12. 2012
Located in the northern part of the Walled City FORT SANTIAGO is one of the oldest Hispanic stone fortresses in the Philippines. The Spaniards, under the term of Governor General Gomez Perez Dasmarinas, fortified what was originally stone structures.
"Baluarte de Santa Barbara" was built in the 16th century It offers great views of the River Pasig.
It was interesting to see the same Spanish sentry stations that I saw at the fortresses in Spain.
We had some fun posing inside the concrete stations.
Fort Santiago open daily at 8:00 a.m.
Entrance fee: 75 Philippine Pesos
Formerly the home of Manuel Estacio de Venegas, the original 2-story structure was expropriated in 1645 and made the official residence of the Spanish government , until an earthquake brought it down in 1863. The site remained empty for over 100 years.
The present and very impressive 8-story building PALACIO DEL GOBERMADOR was built on the site in 1978 and houses government offices. It is located near Plaza Roma and the Manila Cathedral.
The oldest Church in the Philippines, SAN AUGUSTIN CHURCH dates way back to 1571 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This beautiful church features an intricately carved main entrance door, a Baroque Pulpit and an 18th century pipe organ. There is a replica sculpture of the "Black Nazarene" . The original is carried during a long parade throughout Manila and ending at San Augustin in Intramuros. Thousands of devotees participate in this parade.
Also found here is the Tomb of Manila's founder, Miguel Lopez de Lagaspi.
The day we were there, a wedding was taking place. I've been told that it is such a popular church to have a wedding, that the waits can be as long as a year, so it has to be booked long before the wedding can take place.
The PHILIPPINE PESO was very easy to use as you just multiply it times .02 to know what the costs are in American and Canadian. Also when I had some Pesos, I thought I was rich, as you got many pesos for a hundred dollars.
Currency is, as I said, the Philippine Peso (PHP) and the denominations are 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1000 pesos.
Foreign currency is best exchanged at banks or money changing outlets.
There are also ATMs, but I did not use one. I generally use Mastercard for ATMs, but what I found in Makati, that when you go to use them, there is a statement that you will be charged 200 pesos, which is about $4.00 just to get some money out of the machine. I was not happy about that.
I did bring US dollars as a back-up and that is what I used. Next to our Condotel, there was a Currency Exchange office that offered 44 pesos to the US dollar (or .022 cents per peso) which I thought was a very fair price. So, for example, for $300. US dollars, I received 13,206 PHP, which lasted for a very long time, as prices are so reasonable in the Philippines.
Before I left for the Philippines, I purchased 2,000 PHP and paid .026 cents per Peso which came to $52.59 CDN.
In the accompanying pic, I show a 20 Peso note and some coins.
is is the main nerve center of Philippine Business, it houses most of the philippine companies headquarters at the Ayala Avenue and the Philippine Stock exhange and a lot of multinational companies as well. Anchored by Ayala Avenue, Makati is the financial capital of the Philippines and is the home of the Philippine Stock Exchange and the Makati Business Club, one of the most important economic hubs in the Philippines (but the de facto economic hub is the Binondo Districtn of Manila in the Manila Chinatown where the Philippine Taipans have their Conglomerates). The financial district has come alive 24/7 or 24 hours daily, 7 days a week; with the lights and bustle of mostly upwardly mobile young professionals working and enjoying life at all levels of functionality, flexibility and sustainability.
Fondest memory: makati is such a city of extremes!
Assorted Makati Views taken from several locations in the Makati Area since the place is the nerve center of business in the philippines and also one of the major watering holes in the sprawling metropolis and Makati has everything for everyone like shopping for all kinds of budgets, Business for the Business people, Parks like the Ayala Triangle and Greenbelt Park, international ecletic food for all budgets (see my separate restaurant tips) and a vibrant nightlife of Bars, Lounges, Discos and even Strip Clubs at the Burgos Area.
Fondest memory: the various facets of the Makati area
Ah Makati, A Party Place especially at Night, So much Memories and endless partying, binge eating, group gatherings, dates, get togethers, shindigs and lots of nightlife activities in the Glorietta Area, Greenbelt Area, Rockwell Area, Burgos Area, Arnaiz Avenue Area, Makati Cinema Square Area, Reposo Area, Makati Avenue Area, Ayala Triangle area and the various Hotels like the New World Hotel or Dusit Hotel or the Makati Shangrila and Manila Peninsula and It really earns the Monicker, Night Spot Capital of Metro Manila Area!
Fondest memory: the assorted nightlife activities all around the makati city area
Favorite thing: My favourite thing about Makati is hanging around the Ayala Triangle Park, sipping coffee and reading the papers while watching the world go by. This well manicured park has a row of kiosks and cafes overlooking lush trees and greenery which is rare in Makati. The park is surrounded by skyscrapers giving a "Central Park" feeling and there are many joggers taking advantage of the open air running facility.
Ayala Center is a city within Makati City simply because it’s got everything a tourist needs: malls, restaurants, cinemas, gym, spa, museum and even a chapel. I call the Santo Niño de Paz Chapel a sanctuary in the city because it’s perfectly located right in the heart of Greenbelt, situated amid tall structures, lush greeneries and landscaped gardens.
If, in the middle of the day, you suddenly feel like getting a spiritual reprieve, take a walk along Greenbelt Park and make your way to the chapel. It’s always a refreshing feeling to spend a moment with Him. Masses are also celebrated at the Sto. Niño de Paz Chapel everyday with lively songs of praise.
Fondest memory: The Chapel has always been a sanctuary. I pay a visit whenever I can just to say a prayer or experience silence when the world seems “too loud” for me.
Favorite thing: If you feel like relaxing, catching a flick and getting out of the hot weather, check out the theatres at Greenbelt 3. They are up on the 3rd floor. Its a very nice theater complex. Its around 200-300Php per person. In the lobby is a little food court for snacks. The orders are a bit different here. i ordered nachos thinking i was gonna get a big box like you do at the theatres here in LA, but it came in a little 2 x 2 box with like 10-15 chips and cheese inside, it was pretty funny. I guess thats why it was only around 40Php. Inside the theatres they have Stadium seating, the seats recline and the armrests go up. Its pretty clean too. Most blockbusters are released at the same time around the world but other movies are released on different dates. First movie i watched at the theatres was Closer, which i already saw on video here at home. I also saw The Interpreter which was released at the same time. Many people like to watch movies because its air conditioned!!!
Favorite thing: On P. Burgos street, next to 7/11 across the street from Makati Palace hotel there is an internet cafe. This is where i normally go to check my email. Its pretty cheap, i think its like 40Php an hour. They have an ample amount of computers there. You can also use your own laptop. If i have to do more than just check email, i like to go over to Coffee bean at Powerplant mall with my laptop. Here you can buy a card and log onto their wireless network. For some reason i just feel a little safer bringing my laptop to this part of the city.
Fondest memory: Every year it's fun to celebrate Chinese (Lunar) New Year in Makati City...there's the traditional Lion/Dragon dance...fireworks at night...lots of goodies/treats