Friday, September 08, 2006

City Love

I want a date with Manila.

Manila and I are... acquaintances at best. I wasn’t born in that city, nor have I ever lived there or needed to visit her everyday. My mother birthed me in Caloocan, I now live in Mandaluyong, went to school in Quezon City and worked in the cities of Makati, Pasig, and now in Kamuning. Manila and I haven’t had the chance to get to know each other that well.

But there is hope. I have always felt... welcome with Manila. Whether I involuntary stop walking because I couldn’t believe Manila Post Office’s grandeur or while traversing its grimy streets, I am welcome there.

What we need is a date – for Manila and I to get to know each other better. I already have notable memories of her: first time I rode the LRT and I couldn’t figure out why in the world Chinese-looking buildings are in the city – I was still in the Philippines, wasn’t i? (I was only seven at that time). John texting me directions on how to get to Joy Student Fellowship. I ended up getting off at the United Nations station instead of Central Station (I walked the rest of the way). Stef and I walking along the covered streets of Quiapo looking for a book (I never imagined Quiapo would look like that). A whole day of Jesus Rev near Rizal Park. A quiet dinner at Baywalk while the showbands try some acoustic tunes. My father and I going through a signal no.4 typhoon on an open owner-type jeep with no functioning wipers. Joining my first-ever rally to Mendiola with Leah (Iskolar ng bayan, ngayon ay lumalaban!). Praying/singing/laughing while walking along the Intramuros wall – minutes before we leave for the ship that will take us to Guimaras.

Does the planetarium still exist? Are there still animals in Manila Zoo? Where’s the Nayong Pilipino relocated? What’s in PICC? And most importantly, where can I rent a boat to tour me along the Pasig River? Who knows, maybe I’ll even catch a glimpse of the dreaded giant janitor fish in those waters.

So how about it, friends? Who’d like to chaperone as Manila and I go on a date?

(photo courtesy of


lala said...

i'd recommend you start by joining one of carlos celdran's walking tours of manila...see the link in my blog :) i bet you will enjoy it.

kurokuroko said...

^ i agree.

ailene said...

I suggest that you come with me on one magical day at Binondo. We'll start with Escolta and work our way through Quiapo to Binondo Church and then take a short train ride to the Chinese cemetery.

I solemnly swear to show you why Manila is one of my greatest loves. And I hope it will be the start of, at least, a great friendship for you.

andrea said...

take ur gf shopping at 168 in divi. =p

{illyria} said...

binondo! ohmigod, i miss royal garden.

~the girl FKA transience

jm said...

i love manila. even with its dirty, chaotic streets, there is something magical about this city.

i especially love my regular food trips through chinatown, followed by shopping at the chinese grocery, and scouring the video stores for chinese art films (in the mood for love, anyone?).

you can also check out the national library, national archives, the national museum, and the museo pambata. you can give that a go in one day.

the planetarium is still open and was actually recently renovated.

happy exploring! =)

Kat said...

Moks, Nayong Pilipino is somewhere in... Paranaque? near Multinational.

Quiapo tayo! and Escolta, and Chinatown!