iReport: 10 things I love about Manila

iReport: 10 things I love about Manila

Jeepneys, churches, the old walled city and the bay: A Manileno describes the most enchanting aspects of the Philippine capital

You may love your city, but do you love it enough to want to tell the world about it? iReporter Elaine Baricante does.

Here she explains why Manila is her favorite city.


1. Food

Manila foodManila's like a vast buffet.
One of the most common questions you'll hear a Filipino ask is "Kumain ka na?" (Have you eaten?) Eating is a central part of the Filipino culture and it shows in the variety of food that is available throughout the country.

There is street food like chicharon (deep fried pork rind), bituka (deep fried intestines), isaw (barbecued chicken or pork intestines), taho (soft tofu with syrup and sago) and balut (fertilized duck egg); more conventional food such as sisig, crispy pata (pork leg), inihaw; and Western food -- pasta, pizza, burger and ribs. There's definitely something that will satisfy everyone's cravings.


2. Nightlife

mall in ManilaShoppers crowd a night market at a mall in Manila.
Manila is awash with bars, clubs and other places that cater to a wide range of clientele.

Greenbelt or The Fort attracts the clubbing, wine-sipping and whiskey-swirling set while Saguijo or Casa Nami in Makati is preferred by the more laid-back, chilled crowd.

Or, for anyone in the mood for something totally different, there's Hobbit House in Malate where all the staff are dwarfs.


3. Arts Hub

Ayala MuseumAyala Museum.
They say that art feeds the soul, and Cubao X is a thriving arts hub in the heart of Cubao that embraces galleries, art shops and an authentic Italian restaurant with live music.

Cubao X is frequented by artists, photographers, writers and hippies.

For more art, there's the Yuchengco Museum and the Ayala Museum in Makati. The UST Museum, which is located in the University of Santo Tomas campus (the oldest university in Asia, founded in 1611) is also worth checking out.


4. Intramuros and Luneta

Kalesas, tourists around IntramurosKalesas, or horse-drawn carriages, takes tourists around Intramuros.
Intramuros is an old walled city in Manila. It has managed to keep its cobblestone paths and Spanish-style houses intact. You can even hire a horse-drawn carriage to take you around for an old-world experience.

Fort Santiago, located within Intramuros, was originally built as a proper fortress. Bullet holes and bomb damage from the war are still visible on the walls of the fort.

This is also where José Rizal, a 19th-century national hero, was imprisoned before his execution. Follow Rizal's footsteps from Fort Santiago to where he was executed in Luneta for a feel of the the country's tumultuous colonial history.


5. Manila Bay

Manila BayA view of Manila Bay from the SM Mall of Asia.
Watch the most awesome sunsets in the city from Manila Bay.

6. Churches

San Agustin ChurchSan Agustin Church, located in Intramuros. It is the oldest standing Catholic church in the Philippines.
The Philippines is filled with churches. The most notable in Manila are Manila Cathedral and San Agustin Church in Intramuros, and the Quiapo Church in Quiapo.

Both the San Agustin Church and the Manila Cathedral are favorite wedding venues; San Agustin is the oldest church in the Philippines -- it was completed in 1607. Although the Manila Cathedral is much bigger and more opulent than San Agustin, a superstition holds that wedding ceremonies conducted at Manila Cathedral do not last.

7. Chinatown

Dragon dancersDragon dancers make their way down the street in Manila's Chinatown district of Binondo to celebrate the Lunar New Year.
There's supposedly a Chinatown in every city in the world. Manila's Chinatown is called Binondo, which is located just across the Pasig River from Intramuros.

Binondo is the heart and centre of the thriving Chinese community in Manila and if you're craving authentic Chinese food, Binondo is the place.


8. Shopping

DivisoriaHone your haggling skills at Divisoria.
Divisoria, Greenhills and Tiendesitas are wallet-friendly shopping hotspots for unbranded goods, from clothes, shoes, bags and toys to electronic gadgets such as mobile phones, computers, media players and DVDs. Bargaining in these places is essential.

For high-end shopping, head to Greenbelt and Rockwell.


9. Jeepneys

passenger jeepneysBrightly decorated passenger jeepneys ply the streets of Manila.
These cheap, colorful, charismatic people-movers add a vibe to Manila that is not present in any other country.

Loud, unique, and vibrant, in many ways they symbolize Filipino culture.


10. The people

Performers take part in the Lakbayaw festival in Tondo, Manila.
Filipinos are friendly, hospitable, carefree and optimistic. Filipino society promotes communal unity and we consider the rest of the world as our extended family. It doesn't take much for us to open our houses and share our lives with other people.



This article was based on an 'iReport' submission, namely content submitted by our readers from around the world, and as such represent their personal opinions.

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