Posted by: neblinoso | September 23, 2009

Intramuros and More

A holiday was declared on Monday in celebration of Eid’l Fitr, a muslim celebration marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.  Laura and I took advantage of this out-of-office day to do some historical sightseeing, guided by the ever-knowledgeable Rico.

approaching MOA

approaching MOA

We started our journey with a drive around the Mall of Asia, which is the largest mall in Asia.  Holy heck is it large!  It is situated right near the Manila Bay area and even has restaurants overlooking the water. 

We continued on to Roxas Boulevard, the main stretch along the bay.  The US Embassy is located here and we walked by it, but due to the holiday, it was closed.  We were also instructed by a security guard not to take any pictures, a policy put into practice after 9/11.

Another colleague, John, met up with us and he whisked us away in his air-conditioned car to an area by the bay.  The coconut palace was in the area, but closed, again due to holiday, though Rico tried to persuade them to let us in to take pictures.  IMG_3381

Instead, we drove to the nearby cultural center, where Miss Universe pageants have been held.  Some workers on the front lawn wanted their picture with us, and naturally we obliged.

Our next stop was Luneta, home of a washington monument-style statue of local hero Jose Rizal.  Not only was he known for his contributions to the revolution, but he was also a published writer and doctor.  He was executed by a firing squad.

rizal momument

rizal monument

Rizal Park is also home to Kilometer Zero, the point from which all distances are measured. 

After a refreshing lunch at Max’s (the house that chicken built), we walked around Fort Santiago, where Rizal was imprisoned, equipped with umbrellas and bottled water as it was a hot day.  So hot in fact, that half of my back got burned.  Only half, because by backpack, slung over my shoulder, covered the other half.  It’s impossible to put sun block on your back without help, and i inconveniently left it back at the hotel.  😦 

a hot day

a hot day

We stopped in the Manila Cathedral for a short visit and was delighted to be joined by Frances!  There was a large pipe organ in the balcony, however, it was too dark to really see it well. 

We ended the day by shopping at some handicraft stores, with some bartering help from Rico and John.  Frances stood guard, protecting me from an older lady who was begging for some change. 

For our ride home, Frances and Rico escorted us via the MRT (Metro Rail Transit) for only 15 Php, or around 30 cents! 

heading to the train

heading to the train

More photos of this hot, history-filled day can now be found here.

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