One day as a tourist in Manila

MARIKINA, May 31, 2014 – There is a saying in Filipino which states “Do not be a stranger to your own land.” We, the first year scholastic Brothers, as new residents of Metro Manila (excluding myself), toured around to familiarize ourselves with the place where we will stay in for two years and a half (from May 2014 up to October 2016). As tourists of the National Capital Region, here is the list of our destinations in our one day journey:

1. Intramuros

Inside the walls, we visited three sites: San Agustin Church, Manila Cathedral, and Fort Santiago. As tourists, we were not alone as some foreigners, Caucasians, Chinese, and Koreans walked along with us taking pictures.

The Manila Cathedral, renovated and closed since 2011, opened to the public at the start of the month of May.

Me with the Our Lady of the Philippines

Me with the Our Lady of the Philippines

Manila Cathedral

The scholastics and the Manila Cathedral

Fort Santiago is a Spanish citadel preserved and dedicated to keep the memories of Jose Rizal, our national hero.

The Illustrados

The Illustrados

Jose Rizal

Jose Rizal

We skipped going to Luneta Park since it’s already noontime and the temperature is getting hotter.

2. Bonifacio Global City

It is already lunch time and we are heading towards the urban district of Fort Bonifacio. We parked in Market! Market! and we were free to choose where we would like to take our lunch. As for me, I just ordered some Chicken Inasal in the food court.

Fort Bonifacio

Traffic in Bonifacio Global City

After eating, I decided to bring along some of my new friends to SM Aura just to see the San Pedro Calungsod Chapel. Located in the 7th level, I wonder if it is only in the Philippines where we have chapels and churches inside the shopping mall. I heard there’s a chapel in NAIA but I have not seen it.

San Pedro Calungsod Chapel

San Pedro Calungsod Chapel

American Cemetery and Memorial

A rest in the American Cemetery and Memorial

Afterwards, we headed to the American Cemetery and Memorial, a site honoring the heroes of World War II. It was a refreshing site and a breathe of fresh air for our polluted lungs and tired eyes.

Before going back to MAPAC (Marist Asia-Pacific Center), Br. Romy asked us if we still have the energy to walk through our last destination. Though it was optional, we decided to continue since it will be the first time for most of us to see the biggest pair of shoes in the world.

3. Riverbanks Mall, Marikina City

Here, those who purchased items were given paper bags instead of the plastic, one thing I really appreciate in the effort to cut the pollution in the region. I think it is an ordinance now for establishments to give paper bags as a replacement for plastics.

I remember reading in a newspaper quoting Jessica Hagedorn, an American author, who was here promoting the book Manila Noir when she said that Manila is a mysterious woman. For us new student Brothers, Manila’s mystery is something that we need to discover. And we have two years just to do that.