Category Archives: National Capital Region

Pajamas and Parties at the Linden Suites Ortigas

“Food’s here!” I yell, skipping across the carpeted floors of Linden Suites in barefoot.

I don’t normally walk around without slippers, but with the thick carpet that layers the floor, it was a liberating feel for my usually-covered-with-thick-shoes feet.

I dropped the food on the table, setting aside the adobo I had eaten earlier and the pandesal we had to quench my overwhelming hunger due to stress.

It was early and there was only a few of us in the room. But it was okay.

Within a few hours, our pajama party would officially start.

linden suites

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Rizal Passport

How to Start 150th Lakbay Rizal

For anyone who lives in the Luzon areas and would like to get your set of stamps on your Rizal passport, the easiest way to do it is to go through the NCR route where you can get almost half of the stamps in just one day.

Rizal Passport

Most of the sites with 150th Lakbay Rizal stamps are in Intramuros so all you’d need is a walk way around and you have completed the stamps. You can also make a side trip to Paco Park so all your NCR sites will be finished. In just one day, you can already have 12 stamps.

Here’s our itinerary:

Site of University of Sto. Tomas
Fort Santiago – Rizal Shrine and Prison Cell
Rizal Chapel Cell
Ateneo Municipal de Manila
Site of Rizal’s Trial
Rizal Park
Rizal Monument
Site of the Execution of Rizal
Rizal Fountain
Paco Park
Antipolo Church – if there’s still time

 

This itinerary (without hours as it will vary on your pace and time started) can also begin with Antipolo Church (for those who live in Rizal) and then go onto the Site of University of Sto. Tomas or alternatively, go through the whole itinerary the opposite way. Either way, this is the easiest route to take as each site is closest to the next.

 

How to Start Lakbay Rizal

 

Lucky me, I had a tour guide. Just kidding. Ivan of Batang Lakwatsero agreed to guide me through Intramuros again just for this tour. We began a little late at around 1pm, if my memory is correct, although we had agreed to meet earlier. It is highly recommended to start earlier so you can get to Antipolo Church after the sites in Manila.

 

To start your Lakbay Rizal NCR tour, take an LRT/Jeep/Bus going to Doroteo Jose (LRT 1).

From Doroteo Jose, take a jeep plying the Pier route. Along the way, you will pass Binondo Church.

Get down at Jolibee Aduana, located along Soriano Street

From Jolibee, there is only a short walk going into the Site of the old University of Santo Tomas (your first destination)

 

Alternatively, from Central Station (LRT 1), walk towards Plaza Lawton which will lead you to Intramuros and Fort Santiago.

 

Other Routes:

 

Another alternative route to take can be via the Paco Park route where the whole tour will begin at the UN Avenue (LRT 1) Station. From there, Paco Park is just a short walk away. From Paco Park, the next site will be the Rizal Fountain (the opposite itinerary).

 

Starting your 150th Lakbay Rizal? Good luck!

 

Doing the Manila Sites?

Do the Region IV Sites in One Day!

Rizal Monument

150th Lakbay Rizal – The Sites in Manila

For a whole day itinerary, anyone can do the 150th Lakbay Rizal sites in Manila and Antipolo. That’s a total of 11 stamps all in one day!

Here’s how:

  1. Site of University of Sto. Tomas

Site of University of Sto. Tomas

From Jolibee Aduana, the Site of UST, located at Aduana cor. Solano Sts, Intramuros, Manila, where Miguel Benevidez stands is the nearest. According to the Tourism website, the stamp can be claimed at the Guard Outpost, Banco Filipino building, just near the area. However, when I came for my stamp, the site stamp was located at the Visitor’s Center in Fort Santiago.

 

This is a Rizal site because Jose Rizal had been a student at UST from 1877 to 1882.

 

  1. Fort Santiago – Rizal Shrine & Prison Cell

Rizal Shrine and Prison Cell

From the Site of the University of Sto. Tomas, the next site to visit is Fort Santiago, which is also a short walk away from the first site. Entrance to Fort Santiago is P75 for adults and P50 for students. The stamp can be found at the Visitor’s Center near the entrance.

 

Fort Santiago

Fort Santiago is where Jose Rizal had been kept from November 3 to December 29, 1896

Mondays – 1:00 pm to 5:00 PM

Tuesdays-Sundays  - 8:00 am to 12:00 noon/1:00 PM to 5:00 PM

 

  1. Rizal Chapel Cell

The Chapel Cell, now merely just a structure with a statue of Rizal in the middle had been the room where Rizal spent his last night in 1896.

 

Chapel Cell of Rizal

The stamp is also located at the Visitor’s Center in Fort Santiago.

 

  1. Ateneo Municipal de Manila

The site of Ateneo Municipal de Manila is at Anda cor. Sta. Lucia St., Intramuros, Manila, until it burned down in 1932. It is now the place where Clamshell is located.

 

Ateneo Municipal de Manila

Ateneo Municipal de Manila is where Rizal had spent some time studying in 1872 to 1877. The stamp is located inside the Clamshell, you can inquire with the guard.

 

  1. Site of Rizal’s Trial

Site of Rizal Trial

After the walk at Clamshell, just nearby stands the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, which is the site where Cuartel de Espana had been built. Located at Gen. Luan cor. Muralla St., Intramuros, Manila, the Cuartel de Espana was where Rizal had been put to trial. It’s historical marker was put along the street.

 

To get the stamp, go inside the school and ask the guard for the Rizal stamp.

 

  1. Rizal Park

After going into the Clamshell, a longer walk along the Intramuros front gate will lead you to the nearby Rizal Park. If you’re not into long walks, horse carriages can be hired to take you along the way, otherwise Rizal Park is just near the UN Ave. Located at Roxas Blvd, Burgos, Kalaw and Taft Avenue, Rizal Park is also known as Luneta or Bagumbayan.

This is where Jose Rizal was executed on December 30, 1896.

 

The stamp can be found at the NPDC Cultural Office which is located at the Rizal Fountain.

You can look for Mr. Freddie Edos when finding the stamp.

 

  1. Rizal Monument

Rizal Monument

Located at the Rizal Park, the National Monument, designed by Richard Kissling of Switzerland, it is where Rizal’s remains are laid. The stamp for the Rizal Monument can also be found at the NPDC Cultural Office, along with the Rizal Park stamp.

 

  1. Site of the Execution of Rizal

The Site of the Execution of Rizal

This site is the exact location of where Rizal was executed in the Rizal Park. Today, a diorama of the execution with lights and sounds can be found on the site. The stamp can also be taken from Mr. Freddie Edos at the NPDC Cultural Office.

 

  1. Rizal Fountain

This is the original fountain, given by the Germans, is the original fountain where Jose Rizal drank and had written the last chapter of Noli Me Tangere at Wilhemsfeld Village, Heidelberg, which is now Noli Village.

 

Rizal Fountain

The Rizal Fountain is just near the NPDC Cultural Office.

 

  1. Paco Park

Paco Park

A little further off from UN Ave and Rizal Park is the Paco Park, located at San Marcelino and Gen. Luna Sts., Paco, Manila, where Rizal’s remains had been secretly buried. There is a small chapel in the cemetery and around the area, there are also other burial sites of other heroes.

 

Rizal's Burial Grounds

The Paco Park is opened every day except Monday and Tuesday and there’s an entrance fee of P5 per person. The park is open from 7am to 7pm.

 

  1. Antipolo Church

If there’s still time, take the next train going to Doroteo Jose from UN Ave and then take the connecting train from Recto Station going to Santolan Station. From Santolan Station, there are jeeps plying the Antipolo Church (fare is usually P23 – 25). Get down at the Church and go to the Cathedral Office behind the Church, ask them for the Rizal passport stamp.

Antipolo Church

This is included in the 150th Lakbay Rizal because Jose Rizal had once taken a boat to the church with his father.

 

The office is open from 6am – 6pm so be sure to be there before the office closes.

 

How to Start 150th Lakbay Rizal

Finished with Manila Sites?

Do the Region IV Sites in One Day!

Fort Santiago

Intramuros – A Walk Around Manila’s Memories

Despite having once been a Manila girl, this year is the first time I’ve gotten a closer look at Manila’s oldest district – Intramuros. It may not have been the first time I stepped foot on it, but it is definitely the first time that I actually felt connected, felt interested and was enchanted by Manila’s history and how Intramuros came to be what it is today.

I always thought touring Intramuros would be boring and tiring but while taking the time to go around Intramuros with the Bagets and again for my Rizal Passport – I realized Intramuros had more to offer.

History is boring. I never liked AP classes or Philippine Constitution and I’d get so bored just studying it. However, when you’re in there – in that specific place where history happened, it’s a different story. It doesn’t seem at all boring.

Intramuros Walls

The “Walled City” has much more to offer than just the old walls, the tiled floors and the old structures – in fact, it’s such a charming place that if you’re into photography walks and history, Intramuros is the place to be.

Once huge, the Intramuros of today only consists of part of its total area. The monuments, walls, museums, gates, churches and ruins that remain include:

Benevides Statue

The University of Santo Tomas – or at least its old location is now reinstated with a statue replica of Miguel de Benavides, who is the founder of UST.

Fort Santiago

Fort Santiago – which had been the Spanish military headquarters, had most of its parts renovated after it was severely destructed during the war. Today, the fort now stands as a museum for some of the country’s most remembered moments.

Rizal Shrine

This is also where Rizal Shrine is located. Entrance to Fort Santiago is P75 for adults and P50 for students.

Clamshell - the once Ateneo Municipal de Manila site

Ateneo Municipal de Manila – its original location, now called the Clamshell 1, which is a place for events.

Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila - once the site of Cuartel de Ray

Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila – or PLM, also built in Intramuros and had previously been the location where Cuartel de Ray had been built, a place where Jose Rizal was put to trial.

Puerta Isabel II

Puerta Isabel II – the last of all the gates to be built but had been damaged during the war. The remains of this gate is only about 15 chambers.

Puerta Isabel II

Aduana or Customs

Aduana or Intendencia – or the remains of Customs House. Below is its history:

Aduana or Customs

Hospital De San Juan de Dios

 

Hospital De San Juan De Dios – Now standing in its place is Lyceum of the Philippines University

Hospital De San Juan de Dios

Plazuela de Sta. Isabel

Plazuela de Sta. Isabel – a monument dedicated to the victims of the war

Plazuela de Sta. Isabel

 

Casa Manila

Casa Manila – which is a recreation of what upper class homes had looked like. Utmost care is requested in Casa Manila, I remember we were only allowed to step or walk on a carpet for safety’s sake during my 6th grade field trip.

Manila Cathedral

Manila Cathedral – the most important church in the country, built and rebuilt several times.

Palacio del Gobernador

Palacio Del Gobernador – this had been the home of the Spanish Governor recreated to become the structure that had been destroyed in the 1863 earthquake.

Manila Bulletin

Manila Bulletin – the location which San Nicolas de Tolentino Church had once stood

Freedom Wall

Freedom Wall – a park filled with graffiti and drawing where young kids spent some time skateboarding was one of my favorite spots of my Intramuros tour. It reminded me a little of Mexico and gangster movies – except this park was quite small, but interestingly had a lot of great works by talented people. If you’ll be taking photographs, don’t miss this part, getting great shots of the youngsters here is a cool story for photographs.

 

On the Walls of Intramuros

There is more of Intramuros that I haven’t seen, visited or admittedly – understood, however, if you have time, make sure to do a walk around the walled city of Manila, at least through this post, you have an idea on places to visit in Intramuros.

The best thing about Intramuros though – is that it’s probably one of the cleanest places in the city, bears the historical charm and is a place where catching fresh air is actually possible.

 

This is my entry to August’s Pinoy Travel Bloggers Blog Carnival entitled “Manila in Focus” to be hosted by Angel of Lakwatsero.

Ongpin Goodwill Arch

How to Go to Binondo

Stomach churning and wishing you could get something to eat? How about lots to eat?

Binondo may be a chaotic part of Manila, however, it is also the home to various food stalls and restaurants that may or may not have a Chinese influence. This is also where you can find the famous little Chinatown of the Philippines.

So, how do you get to Binondo?

Good thing about learning how to go to Binondo is that it is easier than you think and even if you live far like me, it won’t be as hassling anymore – thanks to LRT 1 and LRT 2.

On commute:

If you’re coming from Rizal areas such as Cainta, Antipolo, Binangonan, Tanay, you can ride a jeep to Cubao (jeep must go through Sta.Lucia and not through Ever Gotesco) and get down at Santolan, LRT 2 station just before SM Marikina. From there, buy a ticket to Recto Station and take the train. Ticket will cost P15.

Get down at the last station and exit to LRT 1 on the other side. From LRT 1 Doroteo Jose, you can take a train going to Carriedo Station. This will cost P12.

From Carriedo Station, just walk a little along the narrow streets to your left until you find the Carriedo Fountain and the Sta. Cruz Church. Your food tour starts in front of the fountain with a small arch over a narrow street, also known as the Ongpin Goodwill Arch.

Ongpin Goodwill Arch

Ongpin Goodwill Arch

If you’re in Diliman or QC, you can just take the North Avenue MRT station, take a train all the way to Taft Avenue where you will have to cross your way through the Metropoint Mall to the EDSA LRT 1 station. From EDSA LRT 1, ride a train going to Carriedo Station.

The same way, if you’re from Baclaran or around Pasay City, all you have to do is take a train to Carriedo Station which will lead you directly to Binondo.

If you’re all the way from Caloocan, you can take the station in Monumento and get down at Carriedo Station.

If you’re saving or don’t want to spend too much on train rides, jeeps from Divisoria going to Taft Ave will pass the Binondo Church directly and you can just get down here and walk a little to enter Chinatown and access other food stalls and restaurants.

It is also the same if you’re from Taft. Jeeps going to Divisoria will pass the Binondo Church on your right.

Binondo Church

Binondo Church

If you’re from EDSA, you can take jeeps plying the Sta. Cruz route. This will also pass the Binondo Church.

Chinatown

Chinatown

The Carriedo Fountain or Sta. Cruz church is where you can begin your Binondo Food Walk.

If you’re into shopping for cheap, but nice bags, the mall beside Carriedo Station has a good selection of them.

Chinatown

Binondo Food Walk – A Different Kind of Eating Experience

So, I’m kind of into the whole eating thing – even if I’m really tiny. I’ve heard of the Binondo Food Walk before but I’ve never had the time to join nor the courage to do it alone (okay, fine, I didn’t know how to get to Binondo!). When the Bagets planned to do the Binondo Food Walk then and it was still summer, I agreed to go. The Bagets and I agreed to meet at the Carriedo Fountain at 9am. Ivan of Batang Lakwatsero and I met at Jollibee and then Robbie of the Creative Dork found us taking pictures at the fountain.

Using Ivan Man Dy’s map of the Binondo Food Walk and Robbie’s extensive knowledge of the place, we began our tour from the Ongpin’s Goodwill Arch.

For P500 and less than 8 hours, what can you get in Binondo?

Shanghai Fried Siopao

Shanghai Fried Siopao

Shanghai Fried Siopao

 

Fried Siopao

Fried Siopao

 

Shanghai Fried Siopao

Shanghai Fried Siopao

Fresh, hot and delicious, the Shanghai Fried Siopao was our first stop, located at the corner of Ongpin Street and Bahama Street. For only P16 you get what looks like an ordinary siopao, however, once you take a bite out of the siopao, it is even better than just the ordinary asado or bola-bola siopao. I even went back to Binondo just to bring some siopao home for my family.

Wai Ying Fast Food

Wai Ying

Wai Ying Fastfood

Wai Ying Menu

Wai Ying Menu

One of my favorite fast food restaurants visited in the whole tour and currently, Wai Ying Fast Food, situated on Benevidez Street, looks like an ordinary food stall from the outside. However, when you get inside, the small spaced restaurant spreads out onto a second floor that isn’t grand, but quite snug and comfy with an air condition blasting across the room. Since it was a rather humid day, I appreciated the short commercial out of our Binondo Food Walk.

Hakaw

Hakaw

Curry Beef Siomai

Curry Beef Siomai

Recommended by Robbie, we ordered the Hakaw, a shrimp steamed siomai that can be dipped in some kind of soy sauce for additional flavor. It costs P65 for a 4 set piece. Along with Hakaw, we took a 4 set piece of Curry Beef Siomai for P55, the crispy fried dumpling coated in larger wraps consisted of delicious minced beef dipped in curry sauce. The foreign taste of this beef siomai is truly a wonder especially if you keep dipping the siomai after every bite, to compliment the beef with curry sauce. Also recommended by Robbie was the Shrimp Chong Fan, another variation of the dumpling, which instead of bearing coats either steamed and rolled like the Hakaw or fried and large with the Curry Beef, it lay flat, swimming in a special soy sauce. Costing P60 for a 4 piece set, the Shrimp Chong Fan is a 2 piece set of shrimps coated in a special wrapper.

Shrimp Chong Fan

Shrimp Chong Fan

To further compliment your total Wai Ying Experience, the cold Nai Cha (Milk Tea) for P50 is a perfect way to start your food experience.

Nai Cha

Nai Cha

Dong Bei Dumplings

Dong Bei Dumplings

Dong Bei Dumplings

Our third stop on our food walk is at the Dong Bei Dumpling. A favorite of Robbie’s, the Dumpling restaurant is located on Yuchenco Street, just before the end of the street. This very traditional restaurant even has the staff making the dumplings right in front of the diners themselves, making it a really good experience for foreign visitors. The Steamed Dumpling costs P80 but consists of 10 pieces. It is filled with “kutchay” or some kind of vegetable, that even if I don’t like vegetables, I kind of made this an exception. Another specialty we ordered was the Fried Stuffed Pancake, also filled with “kutchay” costing P100 for 4 big pancake sizes.

Dong Bei Dumplings

Dong Bei Dumplings

Steamed Kutsai Dumplings

Steamed Kutsai Dumplings

By this time, it was already lunch time and after eating at 3 places, I was already kind of full – although not enough. It was here that we waited for Marco of Marco Adventure, Darwin of Tracking Treasure and CA of Adventurous Feet to arrive. It was also here that we met Tita Lili of Life is a Celebration who was out on a similar tour with Jan and Polona of Rice Capades.

 

Dong Bei Dumplings

Dong Bei Dumplings

Shin Tai-Shang Foods

Shin Tai-Shang

Shin Tai-Shang Foods

Taking a little break from our continuous food binge, we head to Shin Tai-Shang Foods, a Chinese store on Salazar Street, selling numerous sweets, desserts, fungus soups, siopao, ma chang, maki and a large variety of energy drinks. I brought a Strawberry Mochi Cake for P45 that tasted like Hopia, only sweeter and bears hard crusts with softer fillings.

Shin Tai-Shang

Shin Tai-Shang Foods

Estero

Estero

Estero

Frogs

Frogs

Our next destination had been sudden. I didn’t expect to eat frogs that day. You can read more about my frog legs experience here. Estero consists of a long line of eateries where a variety of foods can be tried – including frogs. Most stalls have fresh displays for visitors to see the kinds of food they want to eat. We ordered Spicy Frog Legs from LGA Fastfood along Estero for P110 for small servings and P200 for a larger plate.

Frog Legs

Frog Legs

Frog Legs

Frog Legs

Although incredibly disgusting to look at, these spicy frog legs actually taste like chicken and the blend of spicy flavor makes a great addition to the dish.

Tasty Dumplings

Tasty Dumplings

Tasty Dumplings

Supposedly Café Mezzanine for their Soup # 5, we pushed through to Tasty Dumplings, after disappointment that the Café was closed. Located on Ongpin Street, this restaurant is very near to the Binondo Church for a slight commercial on your food walk. We tried a bowl of Porkchop Noodles that cost P113 and a set of Tsay Mah Pao or siopao fo P82.

Pork Chop

Pork Chop

Porkchop Noodles

Pork Chop Noodles

Although a little salty alone, the porkchop, when soaked is a great combination for the noodles. The siopao is also quite tasty although I don’t think they had any specific flavor (asado or bola bola).

Siopao

Tsai Mah Pao

PTB Bagets

PTB Bagets at Tasty Dumplings

Shining Star Fastfood

Shining Star Fastfood

Shining Star Fastfood

To complete our day, we ended with a bowl of Soup # 5 and refreshing Cogon Juice at the Shining Star Fastfood of Salazar Street. Another specialty of Binondo is the Soup #5 costing P120, a special kind of “bulalo” type of soup mixed in with the bull’s dingdong – or so Ivan says.

Soup 5

Soup 5

Warm but very sticky to the tongue, the taste of Soup # 5 can be a little weird, possibly because of its contents. The experience was enlightening but I probably wouldn’t try it again. I do, however, love the Cogon Juice of Shining Star Fastfood that only costs P15 and has a very relaxed and refreshing taste. Jerome of Super Tikoy joined us in this last part of our trip.

PTB Bagets

PTB Bagets at Shining Star

Binondo is filled with numerous food stalls and restaurants and this is just a few of them where you can eat in Binondo. You won’t even need a car to make rounds nor even need as much money as you think. The Food Walk Tour is, however, recommended as a group tour for the reasons that you will probably spend less than P500 if there are more than 5 of you.

Chinatown

Chinatown

All in all, I only spent about P350 for 7 different food stops and less than 8 hours. I am full, I spent less, I feel like Journeying James for spending so little, only a little fuller and I enjoyed a day with my co-bloggers.

 

How to Go to Binondo?

An Exotic Food Experience – Frog Legs!