What's a good way to explore Manila?
Although being born in the Philippines, I have only been to Manila, a few times only. Because honestly, I don't like the place. :(
The very first time I went there was on a summer before my senior year in high school, with some of my classmates for a leadership training in St. Paul's Paranaque. I remembered that when my parents could afford to send me to this trip, I prepared for two months!
It was a fun-filled experience, even though at those times we didn't have smartphones or ipods. ;)
On my second return, I was with my co-leagues, which was seven years after my first trip. I remembered feeling sad and heartbroken, especially seeing all the street children without a home to sleep in, on rainy and cold nights. Almost similar to what Frenchie and I saw...
When I became more aware of my country's situation and poverty, I have told foreign friends who wanted to visit the Philippines that they should go out of Manila the moment they come to the country. It's not that I'm ashamed of the picture they will see, but I don't want them to ONLY have an impression that the whole Philippines looks like Manila. No. We have so many beautiful places and islands that even if we are a country in poverty, we are the most beautiful and hospitable souls you will meet. Really.
But then again, I still have to introduce Manila to Frenchie.
So what one can do when you're in Manila?? For us, go and explore Chinatown. Haha!
And of course try their Chinese food!
Manila-- including it's history and culture can be introduced to you by one man, who made a promise that you will see it on a different light, and beauty---- MR. CARLOS CELDRAN.
We learned so much from his Walk This Way (walk) tour and he's very entertaining too! It's pricey for Filipino standard (Php 1, 100) but he does a barter tour every now and then, wherein you can pay him anything you can. Nice!
He starts and do most of this tour inside Intramuros.
We were able to ride in a kalesa (fare is included in the fee) during this tour going to Manila Cathedral. Fun! Fun! Fun!
He's very admirable because rain or shine, he keeps on going! As a Filipino, I learned so much about my history and culture, in the most interactive and comprehensible way possible. And oh, we ended up the tour with a glass of halo-halo! Just like our Filipino culture, we are mix-mix!