Some say it’s boring traveling to Manila, there is nothing you can see there. For the traffic conditions, I might agree. Unless they are a bit more orderly even though the streets are in heavy traffic conditions. Minimum no motorcycle bell ringing all the time like many vehicles in Jakarta. Manila is still largely free from noise pollution.
If you know how to enjoy Manila which is the capital city of Philippines, the city is quite pleasant. Especially for historical destinations lover also for who like buildings with unique architecture. The city of Manila which is only a 4 hour flight from Jakarta with Cebu Pacific, provides several major attraction for visitors. Such as Intramuros, Malacanang Palace which is the palace of the Philippines, Manila Ocean Park, or you might just strolling around in the Makati district.
Interesting enough for traveling to Manila Already? Relax, there are many flights to Manila from Jakarta every day. The most saves time is with Cebu Pacific, especially it’s evening direct flight. At least, I can save the cost of an overnight hotel because I could sleep on the plane. As soon as landed in Manila, I can immediately explore historical appeal of the city of Manila. For example the Intramuros.
Intramuros is the oldest district there and it is at the heart of the historical city of Manila. A bit similar to the old city-owned by Jakarta. I know the existence of Intramuros because I’ve been watching a video documentary of the second world war. That is when Americans are trying to take over the city of Manila. At that time, most of the Japanese forces had been pushed back and setup devensif position inside Intramuros. Ultimately, all of them are not surrender to American and end their life there.
However Intramuros is not only contains the history of the second world war. The beginning of it’s existence began long before the outbreak of the second world war in the Pacific. The construction of a defensive wall of Intramuros itself started by the Spanish colonial government in the late 16th century to protect the city from foreign invasion. Because of the wall, until now Intramuros still known as a city within the city. The difference is, now is not used for a defense. But it has become one of the main attractions of historic destinations in Metro Manila.
Another interesting destination is the Malacanang Palace which is the palace of the Philippines (ng Palasyo Malakanyang). Okay, this is my first experience visiting a palace, even I have never visit my own country palace. Not because I don’t want to visit my own country palace, but I do not know the procedure for visiting the Indonesian State Palacethat located near Jalan Merdeka.
Because Malacanang palace is a state, so it also needs a rather complicated process to ener. As I have to change pants in the car because it was not allowed to wear shorts and sandals in the palace. In one group are also only allowed to carry only one camera.
That’s make me bi sad, because I elected not to bring a camera inside the palace. I usually always hyperactive squeezing the shutter of my camera, this time I just bite my finger while listening to the guide explain the fascinating historic Malacanang Palace. Next time I will definitely come back here with a camera and a notebook. :)
Also, Manila is not only have a specific destination about history. Yeah, in here, I can also enjoy wide sidewalks in the district of Makati. I walk around for a bit, enjoying a city of Makati which is one of modern designed city in Philippines.
I envy Makati that have wide sidewalks for walking, they also have underpass which makes it convenient for pedestrians crossing the road. Although unfortunately this underpass just opened at 06.00 AM – 10:00 PM. So, who likes night life and party until drop, please a little bit confused when returning to the hotel after ten.
In addition to Makati, Metro Manila can also be an enjoyable place for underwater animals enthusiasts. Because the city has an artificial underwater park, the Manila Ocean Park. Okay, for me who does not have a diving license, this place is very pleasan. I do not need to pay expensive diving liscense, or wear a little bit annoying wet suit to be able to meet with the Manta Ray, also it’s few close relatives.
Mentioned that Manila Ocean Park is the first world class marine theme park in the Philippines. Which of course is also an educational center that is fun to know better about the marine animals.
There are lots of cute sea animals that I encountered during the tour at the Manila Ocean Park, ranging from the small to the large one like the shark family. If you want I can also try to actually dive in an aquarium which is home to the Sharks earlier. Unfortunately because it was too late, I can’t do that.
I also did my first fish spa sensation ever in Manila Ocean Park. And turns out it can really make a foot amused. It is really ticklish when your feet surrounded by dozens of small fish which seems not to be fed for months. They are really aggressive!!