Thursday, January 12, 2012
The oldest district and historic core of Manila, INTRAMUROS is also known as the "Walled City". Guarding the Old City is Fort Santiago, a citadel located at the mouth of the Pasig River. Construction of the thick defensive walls were started by the Spaniards in the late 16th century to protect it from foreign invasions (e.g. British and Dutch) and raiding Chinese sea pirates.
Inside the walled city of Intramuros, some of the sites that we visited are Plaza de Roma, Manila Cathedral, Governor's Palace, San Augustin Church and Barbara' s Restaurant. where our VT Dinner Meet was held.
So pleased that we had the opportunity to visit Intramuros, thanks to friends Chelli, Jun, Claus and all the local Philippine Members who put all this together. You're all wonderful.
Sunday, January 9, 2012
VT Friend I_S_A offered to take us on a tour to the Island of Corregidor. We were thrilled with the idea, so we made plans to visit this historical island. VT Friend planxty - Fergy - also came along with us. Isa picked us up at our Hotel at 6:00 a.m. by taxi and we went to the Ferry Terminal. Fergy joined us with us there.
We signed up for the CONQUER CORREGIDOR TOUR. Sun Cruises provide 2 fast ferries to cater to the daily round trip transfer to and from Coregidor Island -- Baycruiser II is a 145-seater fast ferry: Suncruiser II, the one we went on, can accomodate as many as 285 passengers and has bathroom facilities and snack bar. Both are docked at the CCP Bay Terminal A, inside the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) complex.
Check In - 7:00 a.m. - Tickets purchased and ID tag with seat number handed out
Boarding: 7:30 a.m.
Departure: 8:00 a.m.
Arrival on the island: 9:15 a.m.
Departure: 2:30 p.m.
Arrival to Terminal: 3:45 p.m.
Cost of tour -- 1999 Pesos (I_S_A got us a price of 1900 Pesos each)
Tour includes round trip ferry - guided island tour on a trolly - buffet lunch at La Playa
For more information see my Corrigidor page.
Also I want to take this opportunity to thank I_S_A for arranging this wonderful day.
In the old section of Makati called Poblacion, there is a 17th century church called St Peter and Paul Church. Many tourists cannot believe that Makati, which is known for skyscrapers and modern malls, has a Spanish colonial- era church. Inside, the altar and the "retablo" is gilded with gold leaf.
It is the start and finish for many religious processions in Makati.
Walk down Ayala Avenue and experience the financial buzz of the Manila's Central Business District. You'll see guys in barong (which is the formal wear in Manila) or even the occasional dark suits rushing from one building to another. Office women in smart attire everywhere. The Makati Stock Exchange is located here and at the end of the Avenue is the commercial centre of Makati. It will give you a different perspective of Metro-Manila, because of it's more organised and clean.
The NAIA airport is not Manila's first/oldest commercial airport. That distinction belongs to the Nielson Tower, a 2-storey edifice made obscure by the surrounding buildings of Makati's commercial & business district (CBD) . Before WWII, the area of the present day CBD was open field for miles around, so was deemed suitable to put up an airport for civilian use. The airport took six months to build. The principal runways were laid out on what are now Paseo de Roxas and Ayala Avenue. The passenger depot was constructed on what is now Pasay Road. Between the two runways was the airport tower and passenger station, designed in the shape of an airplane. It was named after its builder and principal investor, Laurie Neilson, a businessman from New Zealand.
It was here that Asia's first airline, Philippine Airlines, launched its maiden flight on March 1941 with a daily service between Manila and Baguio City. After the end of WWII, the heavily damaged airport was rebuilt and operated for 3 years until airport operations were transferred to the NAIA. Since then, the tower has been used as a police station while the CBD slowly evolved around it as years passed. The tower was later converted into a restaurant and today it houses the Filipinas Heritage Library.
(Photos courtesy of various websites)
Another memorial for World War II soldiers is the Manila American Cemetery, located just a few minutes away from Makati. With the manicured lawns, tall trees, vast plateau and numerous headstones, I momentarily forgot all my worries away.
Amidst the 17,206 crosses, stands the tallest structure in the cemetery which serves as the chapel. There are large mosaic maps about the achievements of soldiers assigned in the Pacific, India, Burma during World War II. Names of 36,282 missing soldiers were inscribed in limestone piers that form two large terrace of hemicycles.
Cemetery is open from 9am-5pm.
Do you know you can have a Baby Shower at any of the food outlets in Glorietta? I had the opportunity to attend a Baby Shower in a McDo outlet. It was my first time to attend such activity in the commercial center. (Other Baby Showers are usually held at hotels/function rooms if not at the mother's house.)
I've always associated McDo & Jollibee with children's birthday parties. Perhaps other people were like me, who are not used to seeing such an event at McDo. I noticed a lot of folks passing by were peeping through the glass wall, perhaps curious about the presence of adults playing games instead of children.
Games for the Baby Showers were arranged by the hosting party with the staff, and relatives/personal friends of the mother acted as co-emcees of the program. Freebies (non-McDo stuff) were brought and distributed to guests by the hosting party instead of instore loot bags. McDo Mascots later joined the party for some dancing and picture taking. It was amusing to see how the presence of said mascots unleashed the "little child" in each of the adult guests as they had their own pictures taken with them.
every red blooded meat loving male should come to this once yearly deal at the powerplant mall in makati city to savor assorted cuts of steak at discounted prices of only 200 pesos per 100 grams brought by the top steakhouses of manila like Elbert's Steak Room, Myron's Place, Bistecca, Mamou's, 22 Prime and other independent players (an average USDA Prime or Black Angus steaks costs about 300 pesos per 100 grams in these parts). So As a tribute to father's everywhere who long for imported, succulent, fork tender steaks for just 1 day on father's day and you should see my pictures to drool and seek the wonderful steaks!
The Filipinas Heritage Library is a one-stop electronic research center on the Philippines. It is a division of the Ayala Foundation, Inc. (AFI).
Starting with donated materials from Ayala Corporation and the Zobel de Ayala family, the Filipinas Heritage Library was initially a part of the Ayala Museum. Then, the collection was transferred to the historical Nielsen Tower in 1996. The transfer heralded the library’s mission to become a knowledge network in the Philippines, serving as a "catalyst for culture".
Today, the library contains a good inventory of resources on Filipino history, art and culture, and is also the repository of thousands of images/references related to the Philippines. Interesting artistic and historical photos are on display, and there is now also a bookstore.
The Sto. Nino de Paz Chapel or Greenbelt Chapel for short, is a brainchild of the late Fanny del Rosario Diploma, then Dean of the Institute of Social Work and founder of Centro Hispanico (now Languages International). She was so inspired by the New York City’s Saint Patrick’s Cathedral during a visit in 1977 with her husband, Atty. Nordy Diploma, that she envisioned a chapel for “the busy office employees and working people, right in the heart of Makati’s Business District ”. Through divine providence, the proper contacts and her strong will, the Greenbelt Chapel was born, and for the past 25 years, Sto. Nino de Paz Chapel has served as she envisioned, as an "oasis of tranquility and spiritual sustenance" and “home of spiritual communion and celebration with God, self, family, and the society”.
The prayer vigil and healing masses for former President Corazon Aquino were held at Greenbelt Chapel until she passed away last August 1,2009.
Kids are sometime left by parents at the playground in the Activity/Events Area in Glorietta while they shop at Ayala Center's Malls. Another option is to bring your kids to Kevin's Toys & Library. There, they can hang out and play, and learn a lot of things, too. At Kevin's, they have the latest toys, and there are many books and fun stuff to make the kids busy.
Kids below 3 years old have to be accompanied by a nannie or guardian inside the premises, while the the older ones may be left to the supervision of attendants.
For your peace of mind and security reasons, you or a guardian will be required to have your fingerprint scanned, so only the one who registered his/her fingerprint will be allowed to claim the child.
1 hour playtime - P165 on weekdays; P185 on weekends
30 minutes extension - P60 on weekdays; P70 on weekends
Unlimited stay - P300 on wekdays; P350 on weekends
Guardian - P20
Socks (socks are required inside, but you can buy if your child doesn't have socks) - P 25
At the Ground Floor of RCBC Plaza in Ayala Avenue, you can't help but notice the unique structure of the Yuchengco Museum. The Yuchengcos opened its museum's doors to the public in September 2005.
The Museum showcases the precious paintings of the masters and other art collections of the former Secretary Alfonso T. Yuchengco, a respected diplomat, businessman, patron of the arts, arts collector, philanthropist, and advocate for education in the Philippines and abroad.
The Masters Gallery features three of the most famous Filipino visual artists: Juan Luna , whose "academic-classical style represents a high point of western influence in Philippine visual arts"; Fernando C. Amorsolo, whose forte was "Filipino genre painting, celebrating key features of high and popular culture—beauty, nostalgia, pageantry, the fantasy of how the Philippines was, and the dream of how it should be"; and Carlos “Botong” Francisco, known as "the greatest muralist and modernist the country has produced".
Understandably, you can't take pictures inside, as in other museums.
Makati's version of Mardi Gras is its Caracol Festival. The City Government of Makati and the Museum and Cultural Affairs Office (MCAO) envisioned this festival as the city government’s way of showing its commitment to instill awareness, and in the process, preserve our cultural heritage, environment and natural resources.
Traffic is diverted as Makati "paints the town red" with its colorful parade and street dance participated in by all the schools and barangays. Participants are dressed in nature-inspired costumes, and they express their love for nature through choreographed ethnic/tribal dances.
This year's Caracol Festival was held last January 18, 2009. My husband was lucky to have been allowed to take pictures within the cordoned area of the parade and near the stage where the dance exhibition/competition took place. He has given me permission to post some of his pictures.
Greenbelt Park is a popular destination for tired shoppers, weary Makati employees, and nature lovers who find rest at the beautifully landscaped gardens and well-manicured lawns, with refreshing sight of ornamental plants, huge trees and bamboos, koi pond, garden fountain, sculptures and other art pieces. There are also playgrounds and resting benches all around, and nearby coffeeshops and restaurants.
The Central Business District (CBD) is the area bounded by EDSA, Antonio Arnaiz Road (formerly Pasay Road), Chino Roces (formerly Pasong Tamo), and Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue (formerly Buendia). To have a feel of the progress of Makati City or sense the pulse of the Central Business District (CBD) and simply see for yourself the modern skyscrapers, take a leisurely walk along Ayala Avenue, or drive through the heavy traffic around CBD.
Aside from the offices or headquarters of multinational companies, major financial institutions and the bustling call center companies, CBD is home to the Philippine Stock Exchange and the Makati Business Club. Many of the country's tallest skyscrapers are located at the CBD. In fact, you'll find here the tallest building (currently holds the title, since 2000) in the Philippines. PBCom was listed as the 99th (as of 2008) tallest building in the world, with 52 storeys plus an 8-level radio tower, and with a total ground to architectural top height of 259 meters (850 ft).
My husband used to work with a Japanese multinational company occupying 2 of the top floors of PBCom, and they could see Manila Bay and nearby cities. My eldest daughter who works with a British multinational firm also goes to PBCom to supervise some of her staff, but she holds office at the Philamlife Bldg. in Paseo de Roxas. My youngest daughter who works with an American multinational company holds office at the Corporate Centre.
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