Manila: Of Fate and Devotion

"Chase your heart and your happiness," that was a good reminder from a friend whom I shared my intentions why I am traveling in Manila. Well, it is more than the joy of visiting a new place; rather, it is a subtle acknowledgement of a feeling that was already there. 

Churches and Devotion
The Mother of Perpetual Help
I knelt down facing the altar at Baclaran Church. I had nothing in mind. I was bright and happy despite of the trials I faced just to make this trip come true. 

There was an unexplainable elation in my system the moment I prayed. The burden of work-related circumstances were dissolved in an instant.

"The solemnity of the church comforts restless souls."
 "St. Teresita and the love locks"

The Church of the Black Nazarene
So I managed to book a Grab Share ride going to Quiapo Church where the Black Nazarene was. It was already raining when I made my way towards the underpass. It was chaotic with people but I somewhat arrived in the church still in one piece. 
"On-going mass when I arrived in Quiapo Church"
"Old architecture"

The Fate that Was
I finally met my former colleague who is already working in Manila. He serves as my city guide for my excursion. Fate is indeed good to me because it gave me someone whom I could rely on knowing that Manila is my most dreaded city among other cities I had gone to 

We toured around significant places -  Binondo, Intramuros, Manila Cathedral and National Museum. 
"Church of San Lorenzo Ruiz in Chinatown"
"Pieta Replica of Michelangelo"
"The famous Spolarium of Juan Luna y Novicio"

Concluded my tour at the National Museum of Fine Arts and it truly changed my perception of the Manila I used to think. 

Getting there and around:
1. From the airport, ride the bus bound for Baclaran. It is that bus that goes around the Terminal Loop and Pasay. The fare is 20 pesos only.
2. Since Quiapo Church was my next destination, I preferred to book for Grab Share. It was convenient and safe. But later on, I learned that one can take an LRT from Baclaran to Carriedo which is near Divisoria and Quiapo. A short walk from Carriedo will take you to Quaipo. Grab Share cost 107. The driver instructed me to walk to the underpass for Quiapo Church.
3. From Quiapo, we rode the LRT bound for Baclaran stopping at UN Avenue for our next destination - Chinatown, Binondo. It is convenient to buy a Beep Card for 100 pesos. It already has an 80-peso load. (LRT Ticket from Carriedo to UN Avenue is at 13 pesos.)
4. From UN Avenue, we then took a jeepney leading us to Binondo. Php8.00.
5. Chinatown and Intramuros is just a walking distance. It is approximately 1.3 kilometers. So a good exercise and a walking tour isn't too bad. Passing by busy street, and old architecture are great consolations. 
6. The Intramuros and the National Museum are adjacent to each other. We extended our walking tour there. 

Tips, et. al.:
1. Learn to say no. A rosary vendor handed me a scapular, a prayer booklet and a rosary for a certain donation. I was feeling uncomfortable that I refused what he was doing to me. He got angry about it.
2. Get away from strangers who are suspicious looking. Well, that was the incident that happened in Baclaran about the vendor. When I refused what he was selling, he suddenly got angry and murmured words which I couldn't understand. I was scared that I immediately went near the guard in the church.
3. Ask only trusted people. Only ask the guard and food attendant. 
4. Satiate your Chinese cravings in Chinatown. Different Chinese restaurants are mushrooming there. 
5. Wear comfortable footwear when you are deciding for a walking tour. 

More about Manila in these following articles:
1. Manila: Of Food History and Arts
2. Manila: You Gave Me Both Worlds
3. Manila and Its Architecture
4. Manila: Of Love and Friendship
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About Marie Angelique Villamor

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