First stop was the Manila Cathedral Basilica.
|Manila Cathedral Basilica|
|Inside the Basilica|
It was quite packed since a lot were doing their visita iglesia. There were also a lot of street food stalls outside selling grilled squid, corn, and samalamig (cold drinks). I do not recommend buying food though. But if you are really hungry, it might be better to go to Mini Stop or Chow King (across the church). There were also a lot of men offering kalesa tours but we didn’t bother to ask the price since we have no plans of checking the whole place since we had a tight schedule.
However, I regretted not riding one after seeing these pretty carriages.
Off to the next (and last stop) Fort Santiago. There’s an entrance fee of P75 for adults and P50 for students. There are some old bombs and canons near the souvenir shop and a really pretty fountain on the other side (which is perfect for dates… well, if you are on a budget). There is also a trolley which is good for photo ops. J
We then entered the “fort” and the first thing we saw were gold footprints of Jose Rizal. If you try to follow his steps, you’d find yourself walking like a penguin. I wonder if Rizal really walked like that.
The highlight of our short tour was checking the dungeon. Before, people were not allowed to go in but management finally decided to make it open to the public. We got a special tour from one of the guards who opened the gate for us (before it should be open for the public). The place was really creepy. It was cold and dark. The guard shared how our soldiers suffered (and the life-size statues helped depict it). The fear we had was instantly replaced by sadness after the short dungeon tour.
After the dungeon, we went up to the top of the fort overseeing the Manila Bay. It was a pretty site. We then saw a group with a tour guide and decided to tag along and pretended that we were part of the group.
I will definitely go back and tour the other places such as San Agustin Church, Bahay Tsinoy, Casa Manila and a lot more. J
By the way, J.R. is Jose Rizal.