With virtually the whole of Intramuros destroyed during World War II, this is the only remaining repository of the wealth that was once a common feature of Manila's churches. Formerly a monastery, the museum comprises two floors interconnected by a grand staircase. The various rooms and hallways display paintings, santos (religious statues, usually of carved wood or ivory), gold and silver ornaments, liturgical vestments, chests, and altars. It is an artistic treasure house that illustrates the richness of Philippine history and culture.
This was a European-style medieval fortified city that functioned as the seat of the Spanish government from 1571 to 1898. The massive walls stretch for a few kilometers, enclosing a 64-hectare (158-acre) area once occupied by palaces, churches, monasteries, schools and wealthy residences. Having sustained damages in the past, the walled city has persevered and is visited by many. Most of the walls, gates and bulwarks have been restored, affording visitors a glimpse into the past.
Constructed between 1587 to 1607, San Agustin Church is the oldest surviving stone church in the Philippines. It was the only structure which endured the damages sustained by Intramuros in 1945. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is a must-see destination for any Manila visitor interested in history and culture. Concealed behind the imposing facade is an elaborately decorated Baroque-style interior. Throughout the nave and side chapels are fixtures of great artistic and historical significance. A museum is also located on the premises.
Get a fascinating glimpse of Philippines' historic and cultural treasures at this renowned city museum which is located in Manila's Ermita neighborhood. The displays and exhibitions provide an informative insight into natural history and local culture, and also educate visitors about archaeological discoveries, ethnography and anthropology. Visitors can also admire Filipino fine art here.
Also known as Luneta Park, Rizal Park is often hailed as the symbolic seat of the nation's heart and soul. A beautiful green space, the park encompasses over 60 hectares (148 acres) of land area, its landscape studded with gardens, wooded areas and open spaces. It draws crowds from all walks of life. Points of interest include the Rizal Monument, the Site of Rizal's Martyrdom, the central pool and fountains, the Chinese Garden and Japanese Garden, and a huge relief map showing the whole Philippine archipelago. The National Library and National Museum are next door.
Housed within an accurate reconstruction of a 19th century Manila residence, Casa Manila gives you an glimpse into life back then. Each room is set up in period style and decorated with antique furniture chandeliers, lamps, paintings, vases and bric-a-brac. Starting from the kitchen on the top floor, walk down the adobe staircase past an old well and enjoy some reflective moments at the central courtyard and fountain.
Located behind the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta Park, Manila Ocean Park is one of the city's most popular family attractions. An oceanarium covering an area of 8,000 square meters (86,000 square feet), this attraction is fun, entertaining and educational for kids and adults of all ages. Among its most popular features is the underwater acrylic tunnel that allows visitors to view ocean life first-hand; the Musical Fountain Show that offers a dazzling show of fire, music and lasers; and the Fish Spa, which offers pampering and relaxation. Open 365 days a year, including holidays, this is one of Manila's must-see attractions.
This is where Presidents of the Philippines traditionally take their oath of office and deliver their first address to the nation (Joseph Estrada broke with tradition and had his inauguration at Barasoain Church, site of the drafting of the Philippines' first democratic constitution). Many important political, cultural and religious events in the post war era have been held here, including the mammoth festivities that capped the 1998 Philippine Centennial Celebration. Marking a hundred years since the declaration of independence from Spain, the festivities culminated in the greatest fireworks display ever witnessed over Manila Bay.
Immediately after his execution by a firing squad on 30 December 1896, the body of Filipino nationalist martyr Dr. Jose Rizal was hastily buried by the Spanish authorities in a makeshift grave which was intentionally mis-marked so as to mislead his followers. Rizal's remains were exhumed two years later and moved to the family home where they remained until 1912, when they were once more exhumed and laid to rest beneath this monument. Guarded by sentries dressed in full regalia, the Rizal Monument stands as a symbol of Filipino nationhood.
Established in 2001, the Museum of Philippine Political History was set up in order to educate the people about the functioning of various government systems that shaped the political scenario for the country. Hereby, it sheds more light on the trend of developments each government has taken in the past, and helps encourage action so as to help safeguard the republican values.
Dr. Jose Rizal was sentenced to death by the Spanish colonial authorities on the grounds that the nationalist ideas contained in his two novels (Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo) were fomenting revolution. Rizal's death was a turning point in Philippine and, in a larger context, Asian history. The Philippine Revolution followed not long after his execution, ushering in Asia's first democracy. Here, on the actual site of his execution, eight clusters of life size bronze statues depict 'The Martyrdom of Dr. Jose Rizal', highlighted with an evening light and sound presentation.
Ermita (Spanish for "hermitage") Church takes its name from the fact that there once stood on this site a shrine and hermitage dedicated to a greatly venerated image of the Virgin Mary called Nuestra Senora de Guia, or Our Lady of Guidance. Legend has it that the image was found on a pandan bush along the shore of Manila Bay on the evening of May 19, 1571, the day the Spanish colonizers took over Manila. The image, believed to be miraculous, is still housed in this church. It has been declared "Archdiocesan Shrine of Nuestra Senora de Guia".