MANILA: A Beautiful City
The Manila tour was a very challenging and interesting experience for me, since I am not that familiar with those places that we have gone by. Although really very tiring, I had fun throughout the trip and enjoyed it so much. Our group did the tour last August 8, a Monday. First stop was the famous church here in Manila, the Quiapo church. The church is located in "old" Manila just north of the Intramuros. It is known for the Black Nazarene statue that is paraded through the streets every January 9th. The Philippine people believe that if they touch the statue they will be granted a miracle. Its appearance gave me a very nostalgic feeling and inside was very solemn and dignified. When we were there, they were holding a mass and we were not allowed to take pictures. Outside the church was a different matter with hordes of souvenir and religious icon vendors. There are hundreds of street vendors selling clothing, watches, sunglasses, purses, and bootlegged DVDs and software and much other stuff. This is the place where the locals shop so; you will definitely get good deals. However, make sure you keep an eye on your wallet and valuables because of the pickpockets. (Thank God we did not encounter any!) Next stop was the Escolta, Regina and Calvo building. It was a very long walk, since no one in our group knew and is also not familiar with these places. Thses architectures were built during the American colonial period and the art deco was very evident. We were not able to go inside Regina because of the policies followed there, same with the Calvo building, but we were able to take pictures outside. Escolta, Manila, once had the informal name "Queen of the Streets". During the final years of the Spanish Occupation, Escolta Street had the reputation for being the best of the trade districts in Binondo, Manila, and the originally Chinese merchant district in the capital. It is famous for having the downtown office of the Manila Times located...
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