Manila: Intramuros, the Walled City
Start your journey to the Philippines in the capital Manila, a city of diversity, the center of government and education of the country. But before Manila became the city that it is today, Manila was the walled city called Intramuros, the seat of government when the Philippines was still under the Spanish rule. The 64-hectare walled city sits on the south of the entrance of Pasig River, originally along the shores of Manila Bay but is now obscured by land reclamation. It was heavily damaged and almost completely destroyed during the fierce Battle of Manila between American, Filipino and Japanese forces, only the damaged Church of San Agustin remains standing. Reconstruction started in 1951 when it was declared a National Historical Monument.Stay:
White Knight Hotel Intramuros provides an idyllic stay in the walled city. Outside Intramuros, Manila Hotel and Luneta Hotel offer fancy accommodations. There are other hotels and backpacker hostels in Malate and Ermita districts outside Intramuros. But even if you are staying in other areas, Intramuros is good for a day tour.Do:
See the UNESCO World Heritage San Agustin Church and its museum, Manila Cathedral, Fort Santiago, Bahay Tsinoy, Casa Manila Museum, Plaza Roma, Ayuntamiento, Palacio del Gobernador, Maestranza Wall and the surviving old structures and ruins around. Visit the nearby National Museum, Manila City Hall, Plaza Lawton, Rizal Park, Manila Ocean Park and Roxas Boulevard. Indulge in a food trip in Chinatown and Binondo. Shop for bargain at Divisoria. Explore the other attractions, shops and hangout places of the neighboring cities.Eat:
Some of Intramuros' famous dining spots include Ristorante delle Mitre, Barbara's, The Heritage Cafe and Restaurant, and Ilustrado. Another favorite is Bayleaf Hotel's 9 Spoon that offers great vantage point of the city. If you are into Chinese food, the nearby Chinatown offers really cheap and yet good dining spots. Look for President's, Wai Ying, Sincerity, Dong Bei or Ying Ying. Try also the eateries in estero, the fried siopao in Ongpin and of course the hopia and other bake goodies of Eng Bee Tin.