Manila’s rich history has resulted to a modern cultural soup that Filipinos welcomed and integrated in their lifestyle. It is evident in the enduring historical monuments sitting across modern structures offering contrast and a taste of cultural understanding about the developing city. Here are some must-visit places that will give an insight of the influences that Manila has acquired throughout its rich history.
The Coconut Palace
The Coconut Palace was commissioned by former First Lady Imelda Marcos in preparation for the late Pope John Paul’s visit in 1981. The $37 million lodging was graciously declined by the Pope, saying it’s too ostentatious a place in the poverty-stricken nation. The place has been turned into a lavish celebration grounds for newlyweds and sometimes it becomes lodging for a privileged few such as Hollywood celebrities Brooke Shields and George Hamilton. Aside from the seaside coconut garden, its highlights include the 101 coconut-shell chandelier, the dining table that’s made of 40,000 tiny pieces of inlaid coconut shells and other handicrafts shown in rooms that are each designed after a specific region of the Philippines.
The Ayala Museum is the newest gallery of historical pieces collected from the islands. The Zobel de Ayalas, a family that owns most of Makati City, possess artifacts from around the Philippines and combined it with the works of Filipino artists. The gallery also serves as a venue for foreign artists to display their talents. But the best pieces are the special items that show-off the colourful Filipino culture. There are antique and authentic tribal vestiges from the Igorot clan in the north to the ancient sultanate provinces of Mindanao in the South, coupled by relics brought about the Chinese, Spaniards, the Japanese and Americans.
There many ways and places to shop in Manila. If it’s high end fashion you want, a trio of interconnected malls in Makati is probably your cup of tea. The Landmark, Glorietta and Greenbelt malls are hard to miss when you’re in Ayala Center in Makati. Among the three, the Greenbelt mall is recommended to be your last stop so you can enjoy the gastronomic offerings neatly located around the mall’s garden and water fountains. If you’re up for a wild shopping adventure, China Town is where you should be at. The Filipinos’ Chinese heritage continues from the trading relations that started around 982AD. The place is like a trip back in time where Chinese families have owned businesses here for generations. It is also where the cheapest items are, along with delectable Chinese cuisine that has lingered in for centuries.