These days, when a promdi (from the province) will go to Manila,
going to the mall would probably be in the agenda. MOA (Mall of Asia)
is a favorite destination, the third biggest mall in the world.
There was no MOA when I was a kid. No Megamall, no Glorietta.
For our pasyal, the family would rent a jeep for a day trip to Manila.
While the adults go about their business, me and my cousins were
toured in Manila Zoo and Luneta.
As an adult, I still love visiting Luneta. My sister and I have our own route. Quiapo-Intramuros-Luneta. We were able to do this trip a few times.
We would start with an early bus ride from Laguna, making it a point
to be in Quiapo Church around 7:00am. We always visit the church
whenever we are on that side of the metro. Then we have our favorite
Jollibee breakfast, corned beef. The first branch of this famous food
chain is in Quiapo.
Of course we cannot leave Quiapo without buying scrap ham
from Excelente, just across Quinta market at Echague St.
From Quiapo, we would take a jeep to PIER, this will cross the
Quezon bridge, passed the Philippine Postal Corporation office
building and emerged at Sta. Clara St. and get off at Fort Santiago.
We would spend about an hour here, making sure we have our picture
taken at our favorite spot: on top of the wall inside the fort. This has
the perfect view, with the Manila Cathedral and Palacio Del Gobernador
building at the background. One would think you are in a European
country, Spain maybe.
A life-size statue of Jose Rizal sitting in his cell and the famous
“Mi Ultimo Adios” written on the floor is my favorite attraction.
Near the entrance of the fort, you can see tunnels that used to be
the soldiers barracks during World War II. Mom was born
in Intramuros and says they used to live in one of the tunnels
when she was about six years old.
After the fort, we would visit Manila Cathedral just across the fort,
to San Agustin Church and Casa Manila all along Gen. Luna St.
These are all walking distance so it’s good for the health.
I have yet to try the newly opened Mitre restaurant. I have read good
reviews of the place. The menu are based on the favorite food
of the bishops. That time, we settled eating at Max’s Restaurant
along Sta. Clara St.
We then took a jeep to Quiapo and got off
at Luneta. We always start our walk from
the " 0" kilometer landmark. Did you ever
notice this landmark? It is located across
the street in front of Jose Rizal’s statue.
Distances of places from Manila are
counted starting at this point.
From Rizal’s statue, one can visit the Chinese Garden, passing the
heroes’ walk were different head bust of heroes are lined,
to the giant statue of Lapu-lapu and the Philippine map in a pond.
We would then walk towards the Manila City Hall to take the jeep
going to Buendia/Baclaran or take the Baclaran bound LRT at the back
of the city hall.
Getting off at Buendia, we then take a bus going to Sta. Cruz, Laguna.
There are DLTB and Greenstar buses that ply the route.