Congrats to the Living la vida Imelda contest winner!

Thank to everyone who shared their Metro Manila itineraries! It was such a joy to read the replies, specially the ones that included detailed descriptions, significance of the places and means of transport. It gave me plenty of new ideas for when I have friends and family coming to visit. If you’re thinking of places to bring your guest, the comment section of that post is rife with possibilities!

Chyng deliberately disqualified herself by saying outright that she wouldn’t take her guests around Manila, while Cornelio started with Manila, yet ventured out of town and had his itinerary spread for more than a day. I intentionally limited the itinerary to one day and only within Metro Manila. Why? Because most of those who travel to Manila only transit here — they fly in only because Manila is the main international hub and they use it as the jump off point to exploring places outside Manila.

In Requiem: Phonie's last days
Father Blanco’s garden circa 2006

Allan Reyes said he’d take his guests to Tondo so that they will see the real Manila, and erica yu-b said she’ll take them for a peek at Smokey Mountain so that her guests would help make the Philippines a better place. I understand what you guys are coming from, but let’s face it — those squatters is what the world already have in mind when they think about Manila. That is what’s often depicted in the media. I believe it’s every Filipino’s responsibility to make the Philippines a better place, not our guest’s.

I want our guests to see a different Manila. I want them to see beyond the chaos and see the beauty underneath grime. Yes, Manila is dirty and disorganized. But when you look hard enough and embrace all its imperfections, you’ll come to appreciate its unique charm.

Rizal monument
Rizal Monument at the Luneta park

Most entries focused just on Manila. Intramuros, Luneta, Binondo, Divisoria and Quiapo are favorites haunts. Didi Paterno and Lily Ang were very specific about where they’ll take their guests to eat (and gave me a list of new places to try). Jesy A., cherry and feliz v agreed that the best way to cap off a Manila tour is to watch the sunset and unwind at MOA. Jo Tan goes the extra mile by taking his guests to Corregidor, while Nico Quejano got me curious about this Sto. Niño de Titi that can be found in Quiapo. Kris Ariza has both the Manila Ocean Park and Manila Zoo in her itinerary, as do KC Binay.

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Mav, on the otherhand said she’ll show her guests what Broadway theater is like in Manila, though she never specified where. Jam puts some quirk into his/her itinerary, shouting “TAHO” and “PUTO” as soon as they leave the house. Or did he/she meant to say they’d buy taho and puto? April will be taking her guests to Luneta, as she sees that it is “reeking of history, Pinoy culture and the true face of reality what with the nearby squatter area.”

The Pasig River Ferry
The Pasig River ferry at the Escolta station

There were those who looked beyond Manila; I did say Metro Manila afterall. Both Juned and Dante thinks one of the must do’s is to ride the Pasig River Ferry to Intramuros. Tina took her guests on both ends of the spectrum: shopping in Bangkal, Makati then moving on to Cubao X in Quezon City. Wheatcliff takes his guest all around the metro, from Manila to Quezon City to Makati, while quiam just focused on QC and Marikina.

Of all the entries, the one I like most is Rolly Nunez‘s that beautifully captures the totally of the Filipino culture:

A foreigner seeks for the culture, food, history and hospitality of the Filipino people. As a teaser, we will ride the cab or taxi down to Intramuros. I’ll treat him to the lokal “turo-turo” offering one day old, the famous “kwek-kwek,” and some dumpling experience for a small break. The walled city hp the best destination for them to introduce the richness of our values. It explains the artistry, talent, bravery, social apt, and among others. We will ride the “kalesa” or the more humane way instead of pallanquin. Like Magellan, we will circumnavigate the vicinity and let him enjoy the area while giving insights of the spots.

Next is the shrine of Dr. Jose Rizal or the Luneta Park. I’ll bring my old paper money and several coins which portrays our National Hero. And I’ll tell him some of his contributions for our independence. He is my idol and role model, for the love of our country after God. A small meal from the local “Mang Inasal,” the most famous marinated chicken. I’ll also explain how to eat it using hands and dipping it to “toyo-mansi”.

The next pit stop is the EDSA Shrine. We will ride the MRT from Taft to Ortigas. Displaying the unity of the people for the past decades. The shrine itself, the Ortigas Ilalim route of bus and the People Power Monument for the few to be proud of. A small snack from the “Mamang Sorbetero” will be special. A bun filled with ice cream is very excellent after walking a half kilometer long journey.

Then, we will use the mass transport system of bus from Ortigas to Cubao. A stroll from AliMALL will shaken up the hot senses from the sun.

After that, we will ride the jeepney routing Cubao and Montalban. “Patok” jeepney is the name of those who have loud music, colorful interiors, overspeeding and very fast jeepney. I’ll explain to him that it serve us by transporting merchant and goods from provinces to rural or urban areas and now, even passengers. We will alight at the Shoe Capital of the Philippines, Marikina. For me, it is our symbol of cleanliness and development. The Marikina River is a great facade for a small talk. And I’ll bring him to our house to accommodate and take care of him. Rest assured, he’ll enjoy the hospitality of us.

Congrats Rolly! I hope you enjoy the Imelda tour as much as I did 🙂

Article by Nina Fuentes

Nina doesn't aim to travel to every country in the world -- she just wants to travel to the places that means the most to her. She started traveling in 2006, and hopes to travel for as long as she can. Her travel blog, Just Wandering won the Best Travel Blog in the 2010 Philippine Blog Awards and in the 2011 Nuffnang Asia Pacific Blog Awards.

This Article Has 9 Comments
  1. KC Binay says:

    Congrats Rolly……its your day today..:)

  2. Mav says:

    Rolly did nail that one! Congrats! I loove kwek kwek! Haha =)

  3. ivan man dy says:

    yeah, why on earth would you want to take a visitor to Tondo and see the Smokey Mountain? Not unless your addicted to poverty porn and reinforce the foreigner’s image of our country as a third-world, basket case. Sure we have poverty but aren’t we supposed not show our dirty laundry to the public?

  4. I salute you fr ths Nina! =) sayang, too late na nung nabasa ko. haha
    I read Chyng’s post first at super comment tlga ako, nahiya naman ako at super defensive ata comment ko dun. hihi Nakakalungkot lng na ang ibang mga kapwa Pinoy eh ganun pa din tingin sa Manila. Sa bagay, kanya kanyang opinyon yan.
    Kaya natuwa naman ako when I read this, true enuff, Manila has it’s own charm and we should thank Celdran and the likes who put extra effort to change how tourists looks at Manila. Dun tau talo ng mga karatig bansa naten eh, d naten maxado napo-promote ang kultura at kasaysayan naten, d naman kase all the time, hanap ng mga turista eh beach at island hopping lng. At jan mayaman ang Manila sa arkitektura, kasaysayan at arts. I rmmbr last yr I had my won version of Old Manila Walk pero padjak yung gamit ko. hihi

  5. I salute you fr ths Nina! =) sayang, too late na nung nabasa ko. haha
    I read Chyng’s post first at super comment tlga ako, nahiya naman ako at super defensive ata comment ko dun. hihi Nakakalungkot lng na ang ibang mga kapwa Pinoy eh ganun pa din tingin sa Manila. Sa bagay, kanya kanyang opinyon yan.
    Kaya natuwa naman ako when I read this, true enuff, Manila has it’s own charm and we should thank Celdran and the likes who put extra effort to change how tourists looks at Manila. Dun tau talo ng mga karatig bansa naten eh, d naten maxado napo-promote ang kultura at kasaysayan naten, d naman kase all the time, hanap ng mga turista eh beach at island hopping lng. At jan mayaman ang Manila sa arkitektura, kasaysayan at arts. I rmmbr last yr I had my own version of Old Manila Walk pero padjak yung gamit ko. hihi

  6. erica yu-b says:

    to ivan man dy.. you should learn to respect one’s opinion. i just like to make them see the real face of the philiippines. if you did’nt like my entry, you should’nt read it in the first place.

  7. Rolly Nunez says:

    Thank You! Haven’t claim my prize yet. My last chance is this coming Saturday, July 31.

  8. nina says:

    Hey Rolly, don’t forget to tell Carlos you’re joining Saturday’s tour!

  9. janice says:

    i think if the guest is into social awareness and community building, tondo is a proper place to go…i have a japanese friend na gusto magpunta ng payatas because she wants to see mga women’s groups doon. but if we want to highlight manila’s finest cities, i’ll bring them somewhere else 🙂

    sana nakita ko ito agad, although I have been to carlos celdran’s tour na hehe.

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