Manila, The “Pearl of the Orient,” will celebrate its 447th Araw ng Maynila tomorrow, June 24, 2018. Through the years, the city of Manila has been keeping up with the fast-paced economic developments of the world.
Being the capital of the Philippines and the first stop for tourists and other visitors, Manila has retained some of its historical landmarks to remind the people of the true Filipino identity – one the people of this land should cherish.
These top landmarks will make you feel Filipino on this special day:
1. Luneta Park.
What’s more Filipino than visiting the mausoleum of our National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, in his famous shrine in Manila? Although the execution of Rizal did not happen in the exact spot where the Rizal Monument now stands, this half-moon-shaped place (hence its name) was dubbed as the death penalty capital during the Spanish Era. Inscribed in Rizal’s monument is his famous poem Mi Ultimo Adios (My Last Farewell) and is guarded by ceremonial soldiers 24/7. This scenic landmark requires a good angle in your photos.
Going to the oldest part of Metro Manila is quite the feels. Seeing different buildings and structures preserved brings nostalgia as if you were transported in history. The “Old Manila” was the capital during the 16th century up until the late 1890s in the time of the Spanish East Indies. Inside this ancient structure found are most of the relics and things used by Jose Rizal and by the Spaniards during his time. The Rizal Shrine and Rizaliana Furniture Exhibit is also located inside Intramuros’ walls, making it more relevant for people who want to know Rizal more.
3. Fort Santiago.
Famous as Rizal’s prison before he was shot, details from its past remain, starting from the bridge, the arch, walls, and floorings. It is fascinating to witness how these were preserved over time and despite natural disasters. Fort Santiago has an entrance fee of 75 pesos.
4. Manila Cathedral.
Have you ever asked your parents where they wanted to be married with the love of their life? This ancient church was built in 1571 and has survived earthquakes, fire, and even war. The cathedral’s exceptional historical design nears distinct details such as creatively tarnished glass windows and reflective marble floors designed by Filipino artist Galo Ocampo in the 20th century.
5. National Museum.
Founded on October 29, 1901, throughout the years the main museum of the Philippines has undergone many phases of redesigning and repair. Originally, the National Museum had five galleries but now has four, all located here in Manila; the National Museum for Fine Arts, Anthropology, Natural History, and National Planetarium. The National Museum was restored lately, funded by PAGCOR worth 20 million pesos, and is now free to the public. It is open from Tuesdays to Sundays starting at 10 a.m.
6. San Agustin Church.
This church was named as a National Historical Landmark by the government in 1976 and was part of the four churches built during the Spanish colonial era that was selected as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO under the title of Baroque Churches of the Philippines in 1993. It is not called Baroque for nothing; according to thecrazytourist.com it has “marvellous interior where trompe l’oeil paintings on the barrel vault and pilasters mimic pediments, reliefs, rosettes, laurels and other intricate mouldings.”
7. Quiapo Church.
The home of the Basílica Menor del Nazareno Negro (Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene) and also canonically known as Parish of Saint John the Baptist, this best known for the people’s veneration to the Black Nazarene and for granted prayers of religious piety. Every January 9 annually, millions of devotees celebrate the feast of the Black Nazarene and spend hours on its 6.5 km traslación. Devotees also pay their homage to the icon every Friday – already known as “Quiapo day”—but like any other place in the metro, beware of traffic.
The Filipino culture has been enriched by Chinese culture, and is evident when you reach the Binondo area where numerous Chinese-Filipino friendships arches stand. These arcs symbolize the fusion of Filipino and Chinese in business over the years.
Although the Araw ng Maynila festivities last for a week, it is not the only opportunity for you to visit these places. Knowing, remembering, and searching for the Filipino identity does not stop with the numerous commemorations of holidays and nationally important dates. At the end of the day;, it is how the Filipinos protect and give importance to the motherland.