Wednesday, August 01, 2007


Most Entries are Google-able..


From within it’s walls Manila springs forth. From Fort Santiago (the former bamboo palisaded fort of Rajah Sulayman) to Casa Manila (Imelda Marcos’ recreation of a 19th century nobleman’s home), from the baroque UNESCO treasure that is the San Agustin Church (the only survivor of World War II), to the ramshackle aesthetics of its sidestreet shanties, one can fully see and experience the history of the Philippines in just one location.
Fort Santiago and the Jose Rizal Shrine
Casa Manila
Bahay Tsinoy (Museum of the Chinese)
The ruins of St. Ignatius
The San Agustin Church and Museum
The National Museum of the Filipino People (Across Intramuros at Luneta)
Ilustrado Restaurant
Silahis Handicrafts
Trade Winds Bookstore

The core of Chinese culture and influence in Manila. Starting from Binondo Church (check out it’s converted pagoda belfry), explore the streets of Paredes, Carvajal, Ongpin, Salazar, and Benavidez until you reach Santa Cruz Church. All along the way you shall find quaint shops, herbal drugstores, and some of downtown Manila’s best Chinese cuisine.
Binondo Church and Plaza Ruiz
The Chinese temple on Kipuja St
Sidestreet markets of Carvajal
The Sto. Cristo de Longos on Nueva Street
Madrid, Barcelona, and Jaboneros Sts. in San Nicolas (old houses)
168 Mall
Suzhou Dimsum
Lailai Palace
Po Heng Lumpia House
Sincerity Restaurant (Nueva St.)
All along Ongpin Street
(mahjong tiles, cheongsams, gold jewelry, hardware, and chinese traditional medicine)
La Resureccion Chocolate Tablea
Eng Bee Tin Hopia
Tai Shing Bakery (Salazar St.)
Salazar Bakery (Ongpin St.)

From Jones Bridge, take a stroll down Escolta street and admire an impressive collection of the city’s remaining pre-war Art Deco architecture. After passing through Santa Cruz church and gazing at the Carriedo fountain, check out all the mid-20th century architecture and discount stores of Rizal Avenue before capping the trip off with a visit to Quiapo Church (be sure to go behind the altar and touch the feet of the Nazarene for good luck).
Quiapo Church,
The Escolta Museum
The San Agustin Church
Herbal Market on Evangelista Street
La Cocina De Tita Moning (Rafael St., San Miguel)
Wah Yuen Restraurant (Escolta)
Polland Hopia Cafe (Escolta)
Rizal Avenue
Carriedo Street
Villalobos Street
Underneath the Quezon Bridge (Ilalim ng Tulay)

This section of Manila reclaimed from the South China Sea was all part of a master-planned complex of convention centers, exhibition halls, and art institutions designed by National Artist for Architecture Leandro Locsin and commissioned by former Philippine First Lady, Imelda Romualdez Marcos. From the galleries of the Metropolitan Museum in the Central Bank Complex, cross Roxas Boulevard and enter the modernist masterpiece that is the interiors of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. Don’t forget to tour the Coconut Palace next door to the Sofitel. With walls made of inlaid coconut and built for the pope by Imelda, it’s a kitsch lovers delight. End the day by choosing your own dinner from a wet market at the Seaside Paluto on Macapagal Avenue.
The Cultural Center of the Philippines
The Coconut Palace
The Metropolitan Museum
Design Center of the Philippines
Star City Carnival and Ballet Theater
GSIS Museum
Hall 6 and 7 Antique Flea Market Philtrade
Seaside Paluto Tiangge Macapagal Avenue
Jumbo Floating Palace
Seaside Paluto Macapagal Avenue


acidboy said...

As you mentioned in the next post, may I add some more recommendations, Carlos?

For Chinatown:

Don't forget to go to Arranque Market, for Chinese cooking ingredients, live animals to be slaughtered, even pets.

Also eat at the former C.K. Sen Hwa (I forgot its present name) at the corner of Nueva and Ongpin. This modern Chinese turo-turo serves one of the most authentic Chinese lutong bahay food, from Lo-mi to Sibut (herbal soup).

There are new small restaurants at Benavidez Street that are worth the visit.

Take a drive around Muelle de Binondo, Juan Luna and towards Escolta to see the old buildings before they're finally demolished.

Take some ma-pa, ma-hoo, and other preserved meat delicacies home from Shin Ton Yon near President Tea House.

Senor Enrique said...

Many thanks for reminding me to explore the street of Carvajal. I've been meaning to do it.

Sidney said...

Not really in the neighbourhood but well worth the detour: Paco Park.

Mark said...

Having been deeply in love with Intramuros and Fort Santiago , despite its less than "pristine" existing condition , it was great to find other areas to add onto my next visit to MM . Many thanks Carlos and keep up the pressure , sooner hopefully rather than later The Filipino people will wake up to the fact that They hold the power and real change at all levels will occur . Salamat Po .

joliecide said...

Thanks for your posts Carlos! Being a fellow Manilaphile, Manileno, etc., I really appreciate someone reviving the spirit of adventure and discovery inherent in Manila. Getting lost in the city always feels good, and every experience getting lost is unique. Speaking of which, I was at Pinpin St. near Escolta and discovered this hole-in-the-wall that serves pretty good Hainanese Chicken Rice. Best I've tried so far, and I've tried that stuff in Singapore. Check it out :)

carlosceldran said...

Yes! I have been there! Amazing chicken!

london_chic888 said...


I am interested to bring a mate from the UK for your Manila tours. May I know the dates and costs? Cheers!


cinderella's dog said...

great itinerary,, i was just wonderin, how much of your time was spent with each area?

Khyma said...

Reading your blog, bring back memories. Went to college (Siena College - 1979-1983) and even went to work after college (1983-84) in one of a small financing company just behind Sta. Cruz Church, and had my experience roaming around Quiapo, Divisoria, brought friends/family relatives to Intramuros/For Santiago, of course CHINATOWN -Binondo and all. But what's going in my mind now is that I need to revisit these places again. Since I've left Philippines in 1984, I don't think I've visited these places (for I always do a connecting flight to my hometown Davao City) and now I feel so homesick and I told my husband that on our next vacation, we'll just spend few days in the vicinity of QUIAPO, BINONDO, STA. CRUZ, DIVISORIA, INTRAMUROS and just reminisce it and perhaps take one of your tour.

More power to you Mr. Celdran!

philippines classified ads said...

Thanks for sharing this beautiful places in Manila. You're amazing tour guide more power Damaso..

manila accommodation said...

Thanks for the information. This itinerary of travel looks great, I will share also to my friends here for there manila accommodation

Gomer said...

hey Carlos, i have been a fan of yours for many reasons. i come to the philippines at least 3x a year. i will make sure to go on your tours and to all places you mentioned here. thanks to your patriotism. mabuhay ka!.

Cha said...

Hi Carlos,

Just wanted to ask if you have a schedule already of your Binondo/Chinatown tour?

Would appreciate your reply.


Anonymous said...

Hi Carlos,

I just want to confirm if the tour rate (php1100) includes all the places in the itinerary (Intramuros, chinatown, Quiapo), the entrance fees, and meals?

How long is the tour?

Thanks in advance for oyur reply.