Tours - Excursions
Intramuros is best toured on foot.
The Intramuros Visitors Centre at Fort Santiago (telephone:
(02) 527 2961), tourist offices and hotels in town, provide brochures
regarding major attractions in Manila for walkers. The visitors
centre arranges free guided walking tours of 30, 60 and 120 minutes,
beginning with an exhibition and audio-visual presentation.
Asia Travel (telephone: (02) 635 3909) has a Manila City Tour
(P800), running for 4 hours starting at 9.00 am, with pick-ups from
all main hotels. The tour includes Rizal Park and Fort Santiago,
downtown Manila, across the Pasig River to the suburbs of Makati,
and a trip to the reclaimed area and the Cultural Centre Complex
on Roxas Boulevard.
Danfil Discovery Tours (telephone: (02) 525 3788) has tours of all
main attractions in Manila. Southeast Travel Corporation (telephone:
(02) 524 5676) is another famous opeator.
Excursions for half day
The small village of Las Pinas, 20 kilometres (12
miles) from the city centre, remains much of its original nature.
This despite in fact lying in Metro Manila. Among the attractions
is the well-known bamboo organ at San Jose Church, with an
unusual sound, open Monday to Friday from 8.00 am to 12 midnight,
with P10 admission. Every 2nd week of February each year, the Organ
Festival brings the leading international organists. The
Sarao Jeepney Factory (telephone: (02) 828 1716), is where Manila’s
signature vehicles are assembled using methods as individual as
the jeepney's themselves. It is open from Monday to Saturday 9.00
am to 4.00 pm, with free entrance. Buses to Cavite from Baclaran
or via Saulog or St Anthony from outside Intramuros stop at Las
Pinas, as do Zapote jeepney's with journey time about 30 minutes.
The town of Calamba is located southeast of Manila on the Laguna
de Bay. Calamba boasts restful hot springs and bathing sights, including
the Enchanted Kingdom theme park. Many travellers come to
visit the Rizal Shrine, a colonial-era house where the Philippines’
ubiquitous national hero was born and which has been converted into
a museum full of his relics. The Rizal Shrine has free admission
and open from Tuesday to Sunday 8.00 am to 12 noon and 1.00 pm to
5.00 pm. The BLTB bus from Manila to SantaCruz, stops at the Calamba
terminal for the Rizal Shrine with journey time about 45 minutes.
Whole day Excursions
Five kilometres or three miles from Alaminos is the lush forest
resort of Hidden Valley (telephone: (02) 797 1270) with its
hot springs, jungle walks and relaxing swimming pools. Local people
and foreign tourists escape to this tropical oasis away from the
hustle and bustle of Manila. The cost is P1550 for a day trip that
includes a buffet. About 70 kilometres (44 miles) north of Manila,
transport to Alaminos is on BLTB, JAM Transit or Tritran bus from
Pasay City with journey time about 90 minutes.
The small island of Corregidor
was General Douglas MacArthur’s headquarters and the last
fallback point for US forces in World War II. He left for Australia
after his famous ‘I shall return’ speech. He left his
successor and thousands of other American and Philippine servicemen
to surrender who faced captivity and death at the hands of the Japanese
occupiers. In January 1945, MacArthur returned, directing a brutal
and devastating assault. The whole island, located 48 kilometres
(30 miles) west of Manila, is now a memorial and museum run by the
Corregidor Foundation (telephone: (02) 525 3420 or tel/fax
(02) 523 5605). The Pacific War Memorial is the main attraction.
Important features include the Malinta Tunnel underground
hospital, General MacArthur’s Headquarters, the Spanish
lighthouse and the artillery batteries. Sun Cruises (telephone:
(02) 831 8140) has an inclusive package for P1,700 (journey time
is about one hour).