[Featured Destination:Manila]: Places of interests Part 1

The Coconut Palace 

The Coconut Palace in Manila, Image: paulshaffner under CC BY 3.0

The Coconut Palace is one of the famous cultural centers in Philippines, built in 1978. It is made of several types of Philippines hardwood, coconut shells and specially engineered coconut lumber known as Imelda Madera. The Coconut Palace has the shape of an octagon with the roof shaped similar to a traditional Filipino salakot/ hat.  There are 101 coconut shell chandeliers and a dining table made of 40,000 tiny pieces of inlaid coconut shells.

Located at:
Edurado A. Makabentra Sr. Street
Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex

Ayala Museum http://www.ayalamuseum.org/

Ayala Museum in Manila, Image: collusion under CC BY 3.0

A great way to understand Manila historical culture and art will be a trip to the Ayala Museum. This is the place that illustrates on Manila’s heritage, future art and culture through various exhibitions. Permanent historical collections representing various stages of Manila are displayed along with on-going changing exhibitions featuring the works of young visual artists.

Located at:
Makati Avenue cor. De La Rosa Street
Makati City


Manila Ocean Park  http://www.manilaoceanpark.com/

Marina Ocean Park Musical Fountain, Manila, Image: Allenjone under CC BY 3.0

Fans of the marine life will adore the Manila Ocean Park (MOP) that is of 8,000 square meters. An oceanarium that is larger than the Singapore Sentosa Underwater World. The main attraction of the MOP’s oceanarium is the 25-metre long walkway tunnel with 220-degree curved acrylic walls as compared to the standard 180-degree curved tunnels seen in other Asian countries.

MOP houses Philippine’s first and tallest musical fountain of 120 feet high with the largest water and laser show. More than 1,600 water nozzles are used in combination with music, lights and special effects along with live performance on every Wednesday to Sunday 7pm.

Basilica of San Sebastian

San Sebastian completed in 1891, is the only church in Asia that is built entirely of steel. On May 16, 2006, San Sebastián Church was included in the tentative list for possible designation as a world heritage site, on account of its architectural and historical heritage.

San Sebastian is one of the 4 minor basilicas in the Archdiocese of Manila and contains the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The feast of Our Lady is celebrated twice a year with the biggest feast celebrated on 31st January with traditional novena procession along the parish streets and 16th July with a shorter religious procession.

Located at:
Plaza del Carmen
Quaipo Manila

Binondo (Chinatown)

Manila has one of the largest Chinatowns in the world. Binondo is the Chinatown of Manila with population that grew rapidly due to the rapid growth of Chinese Mestizons – the Chinese immigrants inter-married indigenous Filipinos after converting to Catholicism.

Locals predominantly speak Tagalog. Minnan or Hokkien is widely spoken as most of their ancestors came from Fujian province. Majority of the population understand English hence communicating in Binondo is not a big issue for tourists.

Fruits and Chinese delicacies are available along Caravajal Street. Arranque Market will be the place where exotic foods such as snakes, pigeons, frogs and fresh seafood can be found.

Located at:
Binondo Manila, Luzon


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