In the heart of old district Manila is Intramuros, the 64-hectare Walled City that was the seat of power during the Spanish conquest. Built in the late 16th century, the stone citadel was meant to serve as a fort against foreign invasions. Damages done by the Japanese Imperial Army during the Second World War brought it to ruins but efforts to salvage of what’s left made the historic landmark what it is today. Only two of the original eight churches remained namely San Agustin Church which was completed in 1607 and the Manila Cathedral that was built in the 1950s. Next to the old fortress is Ermita, a place that’s still reminiscent of the old Spanish neighborhood. Antique shops selling paintings and Spanish colonial items can be found mingled with bars and restaurants that perk up the night life in Intramuros. The whole place can be toured while riding the calesa or a horse-drawn carriage.
A few kilometers away is the Mall of Asia, located at the Manila Bay area where a stunning sunset can be captured. It features IMAX 3D theaters, an Olympic-sized skating rink, an open-air music hall facing the sea, numerous restaurants of with international cuisine and shops that carry local and imported brands. It is also home to the Science Discovery Center, a 180-foot tall Ferris wheel called Mall of Asia Eye, and the SM Convention Center where international trade shows are held.
If it’s just a modest-sized mall you’re after, tourists can enjoy three interconnected friendly malls namely Glorietta, Greenbelt and Landmark. They sit in the modern business community of Makati City which is an economic force in the morning and a big party place at night time. Visitors can also marvel at the artifacts collection at the Ayala Museum in Greenbelt. Jazz clubs and coffee shops offer down time to Manila yuppies who enjoy the beautifully lit Greenbelt garden at night. There are cheaper alternatives to the high-end shops. The Metro Rail Transit or a cheap jeepney ride can take one to China town where the famous Divisoria malls are located. Anything under the sun at unbelievably cheap price can be found in the old shopping district.
When you get tired of shopping, the newest attraction to hit the city is the Manila Ocean Park. The park is geared towards marine life attractions featuring an ocean-themed hotel, a musical fountain show at night, an educational interaction with dolphins and other sea creatures, an Oceanarium and many other family-friendly activities.
Photo Credit: Juan Lawig @flickr