I am a certified Manila mommy, born and raised in the metro but for some reason I get lost in Manila. If by some bad luck I get left in the middle of Divisoria or Quiapo and there are no cabs, I'm totally done for. Expect my stupid face plastered all over next morning's tabloid. So, for what feels like a month-long Mother's Day celeb, my amazing, one-of-a-kind hubby decided to give me the grand Manila tour reserved mostly for tourists. FYI my husband was born and raised in Cebu, spent part of his childhood in Negros and Germany and only came here when we got married.
First stop: Casa Manila in Intramuros
We took a cab from our place to Intramuros (walled city) and the cab driver a.k.a "Manong" gave us a brief history lesson as we passed by the streets of Avenida. Apparently Manong was the former President of PASANG MASDA during Martial Law and he had loads to tell about picket lines, protests and pill boxes. The cab fare reached about Php 160 but when hubby handed Php200 Manong simply said "Thank You". Yeah, Php40 for the tip. I feel like a tourist already!
We decided to walk it out instead of getting the usual "tourist tour". A tour around Intramuros would cost around Php150 on a pedicab (a bicycle with a covered sidecar) and a whopping Php700 if you want to ride a kalesa (horse-drawn carriage), or you can opt for a discounted rate of Php350 for 30 minutes. There are also guided tours, the most famous of which is done by Carlos Celdran.
When we went inside Casa Manila I remembered being in this place as a kid to watch my sister's play, way back in the early 90's. The entire upper floor was turned into a museum that showcased colonial life, entrance for the museum was Php50 for students/kids and Php75 for adults. We spent most of our time walking around the courtyard of the casa. I had fun taking pictures with my new toy, hubby's Mother's day gift, an Olympus SP-800 Semi-pro digicam ;-)
Second Stop: Fort Santiago
After a few minutes walking around Intramuros and taking a bunch of practice shots, our tummies began begging for food. Hubby suggested we go to Fort Santiago first before we eat since I have'nt been there before. Again, you might be thinking that I should have been there during my grade school field trip but nope, never been there before, ever! The sun was already scorching mad at about 10:30 am so we decided to take a pedicab to Fort Santiago which cost about Php30 for two people. The entrance for Fort Santiago was again Php75 for adults and Php50 for kids.
Fort Santiago was a defense fortress built for Spanish conquistadors, this was also the place where Jose Rizal waited for his execution. Walking around and knowing that so much history happened on that place made me proud of my heritage. I was also amazed by the fact that there were actually a lot of trees, right smack in the middle of Manila.
Last Stop Before Lunch: Manila Cathedral
In my thirty something years, I have never been to a wedding at Manila Cathedral. For some reason my friends often opt to get married elsewhere, mostly in Cebu one was even in Tagaytay but never at the Manila Cathedral. I am not Catholic either so I have never been, but since we were already there, we figured we'd take a look. I didn't really go further in but from what I saw outside and the Pieta reproduction, the church was indeed magnificent. The photos do not really do it justice.
Hunger Strikes: Wai Ying
It was almost noon and our tummies were already begging for some dimsum. After all that walking and flirting with each other like co-eds hubby and I finally started to look for something to eat. I remembered that my foodie friend BisayainManila keeps mentioning this authentic Chinese restaurant in Binondo but we had no idea what the place was called and how to get there. We called her en route and she was able to give us super precise instructions of how to go around Binondo and grab some good eats. I will give a review of Wai ying on the next post.
So there I was, a Manila mommy lost in Manila with a Cebuano hubby leading the way and a Bisaya friend who became my instant Google Map of Binondo. I am most definitely a tourist no more. If I were to rate the day as well as my tour guide, I'd give it five stars!!! Not so much for the tour or food but mostly for the flirting. Yeah, definitely liked the flirting!