Inner Circle

A Walk Down Memory Lane

From Intramuros to Binondo, Marky Ramone Go explores Manila’s historical districts.

A Walk Down Memory Lane
The thick walls of this church and its impressive interior remain as one of the country’s most venerated place of worship.

The city of Manila presents a wonderful jumble of the old and the new that has stretched to the modern business centre of Bonifacio Global City, where the towering Shangri-La at the Fort, Manila stands.

Within the Walls

Less than 15km away from the hotel situates the fortified walled-city of Intramuros, also known as the Old Spanish Town. A stroll, starting from mid-morning and culminating in late afternoon, will provide you with an informative introductory history of Manila.

Start your walk at Manila Cathedral, located at Plaza Roma. The thick walls of this church and its impressive interior remain as one of the country’s most venerated place of worship. A few steps away is San Agustin Church, one of the four Baroque churches in the country that earned a UNESCO World Heritage site distinction. The church survived heavy bombardment during World War II and I stood in awe of its decoration, much of which is still beautifully preserved today.

Plaza de Roma was constructed during Spanish colonial times and served as the plaza mayor (Main Square); today it evokes memories of the past, courtesy of the well-preserved old houses and architecturally stunning former government buildings. Right next to the plaza, the Ayuntamiento and ruins of Palacio del Gobernador are also worth your time.

An intricately-landscaped garden and a small pond will lead you inside Fort Santiago – the most popular attraction in Intramuros. Inside, you can retrace the final path of national hero Jose Rizal, where he spent the last days of his imprisonment before his execution at the adjacent Luneta Park (which you also include in your itinerary) in 1896.

With pockets of historic establishments, charming cafes, gardens and small museums scattered across the district, a walk in Intramuros covering all the must-sees can easily take an entire afternoon. As you walk towards the nearby Roxas Boulevard, watch for the famed sunset of Manila Bay.

Hold the Fort

Following my historical jaunt through Manila, a taste of global cuisines awaits right inside Shangri-La at the Fort. Feasting on the delicious Peruvian dishes at the pool side restaurant Samba will prove to be a memorable experience. I had the pleasure of meeting Chef Carlo Huertawho, a cheerful fellow whose love for food and cooking is evident as he took the time to explain to me the various concepts of each dish I tried.

Check out the bustling art scene around the area. On a bambike – bicycles made of bamboo – you can easily circle the neighbourhood and take in/appreciate the various sculptures, art installations and murals by well-known artists from all over the world.

If you fancy something local, eat your way through the many streets and alleyways of Binondo, the world’s oldest Chinatown. Along Escolta Street, Ongpin Road and Plaza San Lorenzo Ruiz are scores of hole in the wall eateries that serve everything from freshly made northern-style dumplings to hand-pulled noodles. The myriad offerings here make Binondo one of the most loved food and shopping places in Manila.

Upon returning to the comfort of your hotel, after a day of exploration, it is high time you indulge yourself in the world-class wellness programme at Spa at Kerry Sports Manila. I thoroughly enjoyed the Hilot Dagdagay therapy - a traditional Filipino massage that uses a native dagdagay stick to stimulate pressure points of the body.

Post pampering, remember to cap your evening with a cocktail on the 40th floor Horizon Club Lounge and soak in the fantastic view of the city. While you’re at it, make a toast to the good life as well. 

 

 Book a two-night stay at Shangri-La at the Fort, Manila from just 5,000 GC Award Points per night Back to Inspiration 

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