Tag Archives: manila

Let’s Explore Manila : The Manila Zoo And The Current Condition of Mali

After our trip to Rizal Park (Check : Rizal Park) , my brother and I went to another notable destination in Manila but this one is actually catered for kiddos. Interestingly, the last time I went here is when I was in Kinder as part of our field trip and since then, I never got the chance to visit the place again. Yes, I am referring to the oldest zoo not just in Manila but in Asia, the Manila Zoological and Botanical Garden or simply the Manila Zoo.IMG_0282tAlthough it has been two decades since the last time I step my foot here, i can still visualize those moments my brother and I had here. I still remember Mali and those giraffes that we fed ( I know there were giraffes here before… err or maybe I was just dreaming). I remember how that silly monkey grabbed my brother’s hair haha.20170102_123857tManila zoo is indeed one of the oldest zoos in Asia. It was established in July 25, 1959. It covers an entire 5.5 hectare of land with over 1000 animals of 90 different species as of 2015. For non Manila residents like us, the entrance fee to the zoo is worth Php100 while Manila residents have the privilage to enter the premises for just half the price (Php50) . They just have to show a valid ID to prove their residency.20170102_123946t

THE CURRENT CONDITION OF MALI

The most popular animal in the zoo is probably Mali (Maali). Mali is the only captive elephant in the country and thus made her the loneliest elephant in the world (that’s most people are claiming). She was transferred in the country from Sri Lanka since 1977. The elephant was confined to a barren, concrete enclosure of the zoo for 40 years which raised the eyebrows of different animal rights organization especially PETA.IMG_0228tSeveral campaigns were built with the aim to free Manila from the zoo and to bring the elephant back to its natural habitat. Contrary to the reports though, Mali’s condition is seemingly not as depressing as what the news told us. Don’t get me wrong , I am not an expert here but Mali is not as malnourished as what we were being told. She looks really old though and yea, you can feel the sadness from her. If only the government will extend effort to improve her condition and bring another elephant on the zoo to be her companion. Elephants are know for socializing so it is really heartbreaking to see her in such solitude.IMG_0225tIMG_0315tYou can only see Mali walking around in circle and is not engage with any other activities. You can also see those white spots around her ears and nose but I cannot tell if its just a sign of aging or some sort of skin disease.IMG_0304tThe fowl smell is very strong in her area too. Although it is painful to watch Mali in such condition, seeing the only captive elephant upclose is truly something to marvel.

OTHER ANIMALS OF MANILA ZOO
IMG_0333tYellow Tortoise
IMG_0344tRed-eared Slider TurtleIMG_0372tLong necked yellow turtleIMG_0384tMonitor LizardIMG_0405tBurmese PythonIMG_0408tIguanasIMG_0347tCrocodileIMG_0362tIMG_0283tHippopotamus (seriosuly it took me awhile but this is the only best shot I got… this hippo didn’t even move a muscle haha)IMG_0257tA wide species of birdsIMG_0273tIMG_0263tJust look at her wonderfully patterned wingsIMG_0293tMr Hippo’s companyIMG_0302tCassowaryIMG_0422tIMG_0443tTamarawIMG_0452tIt’s not a horse, not yet a zebra… it’s Hebra!IMG_0463tIMG_0471tIMG_0484tMonkeys!!!IMG_0495tMonkeys and their routineIMG_0498tThis red face Japanese monkeyIMG_0615tYellow Crocs. Sorry I lost the copy of their names 🙁
IMG_0545tBengal Tiger
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IMG_0584tZebuIMG_0578tIMG_0590tGuinea PigsIMG_0598tIMG_0610tIMG_0622tBinturong or BearcatIMG_0625tPeacockIMG_0630tIMG_0645tHelmeted Guineafowl
IMG_0638tThere is also an area in  the zoo known as “Kinder Zoo” which features an educational tour and a lot of fun activities for kids including a bird show, a photo opp with large python , a boat ride and many more. There is , however a separate entrance fee for Kinder Zoo worth Php75 (excluding other activity fees).

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE GOING TO MANILA ZOO
►The entrance fee to Manila Zoo is Php100 for non-Manila visitors and Php50 for Manila residents (valid ID should be presented
►The entrance fee to Kinder Zoo is Php75
►There’s also a fee of Php75 for Adventure Jungle Unlimited Wall Climb & Zip Line Ride
►Bundle Packages are also available ranging from Php100 to Php125
►Do not feed the Animals!
►It is also a Botanical Garden so expect to see a wide variety of plants and trees
►Souvenir shops are almost everywhere
►There is an area where you can buy foods and also an area where you are allowed to eat
►You can also avail the Boat Ride in Manila zoo for Php60
►Photo booths with Snakes, Monkeys and Tigers or Birds can range from Php100-Php150
►Manila Zoo is open Everyday (including Holidays) from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM

How to Get to Manila Zoo
The Zoo is just located near the Manila Hospital and Harrison Plaza so if you are coming from South, simply ride a bus bound to Lawton and drop off to Quirino LRT Station. From there ride pedicab going to Manila Zoo.

Where To Stay in Manila
In case you are looking for more budget hotels, feel free to check our hotel recommendations via TravelBookPH and see which one suits your budget!

So after the Manila Zoo brought up the inner kid in us, we left the zoo in such glee. So if you think we’re done with Intramuros, well, we actually went back to this place to visit our next destination ~ The Baluarte De San Diego and I will post more details about this interesting historical part of Intramuros in my next #LetsExploreManila entry.

For the mean time, you can also follow me on my Social media account for more updates

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By the Way , Cavite City also has their own Botanical and Zoological Garden – Check: Cavite City Zoo

Let’s Explore Manila : The Chinese Garden

We were about to leave Rizal Park to hit our next destination but this wonderfully ornate Chinese-inspired gate took our attention so we decided to give it a shot. Just few walks away from Rizal’s execution site (Check: Rizal’s Execution Site) is a serene Chinese Garden adorned with luscious greens and relaxing atmosphere.
20170102_114152tI can’t find any details on when these parks were built (including the Japanese Park) but this garden much like what we have seen in Baguio’s Botanical Garden (the Friendship Pavilion) is possibly made  to promote friendship between China and the Philippines.20170102_114326tSome of the Chinese-inspired decor near the entrance of Chinese Garden. It is also interesting to note that there is a minimal entrance fee in this garden. You can access the place for Php10 and I guess it is very reasonable as the place is seemingly well maintained compare to other gardens that i have seen.20170102_114636tOne of the most interesting highlights of this garden is the man made lagoon which is adorned with luscious greenery and colorful flowers. The pagoda and the gazeebo are also complimenting the relaxing environment.20170102_114653t20170102_114709tIf you’re looking for a quiet and less-crowded place in Luneta, the Chinese Garden is probably the great spot. You can marvel the beauty of this place and embrace the relaxing atmosphere at the same time. 20170102_114752tThe kind of trees you can find from this place are quite special too.20170102_114737tAnd it really feels like you’re in a different place! IMG_0210t20170102_114458tShady boardwalks20170102_115100tJust check out those intricate details? 20170102_114822tThe Chinese Garden is relatively small compare to other gardens in Luneta but absolutely worth visiting. 20170102_115225tAlong the lagoon constructed to simulate a small lake, are pagodas and gazebos that are set off by red pillars and green-tiled roofs and decorated with a profusion of mythical figures.20170102_114353t20170102_114541t20170102_114610tI really appreciate every details in this garden and it also feels like touring Binondo20170102_115150tA Statue of Confucius

This finally concludes our tour in Rizal Park. We headed to our next Manila destination. I’ve been longing to visit this place and I think the last time I went here is when I was in kindergarten! The Manila Zoo!

I will post more details about it in my next Let’s Explore Manila entry!

For the mean time, you can also follow me on my Social media account for more updates

Facebook : It’s Me Bluedreamer!
Instagram :  @bluedreamer1227
Twitter : @bluedreamer_27

Where To Stay in Manila
In case you are looking for more budget hotels, feel free to check our hotel recommendations via TravelBookPH and see which one suits your budget!

Feel free to watch this video summary below and don’t forget to subscribe!

Let’s Explore Manila : Paco Park and Cemetery

After our overnight stay in Go Hotels Otis, we packed our things early and proceed to our next destination in Manila. I have been aiming to visit this place for a long time and when I found out that it was just one ride away from our hotel, we decided to put it on our itinerary.
20170102_101803tWe visited the Paco Park and Cemetery, a simple and quaint park in Paco, Manila. Although it is being tagged as Cemetery, the place is now a recreational garden and is a popular wedding venue for those couples who want a garden-like settings. It might be a small and simple place in Manila but it has a huge historical significance too.
20170102_100021tA welcome sign near the gate of Paco Park.
20170102_100037tThe Paco Park was once a cemetery. An order to construct a municipal cemetery was made after and outbreak of a cholera epidemic in Manila in 1807. The cemetery was primarily designed as a municipal cemetery for the affluent and established aristocratic Spanish families who resided in the old Manila, or the city within the walls of Intramuros during the Spanish colonial era. It is also interesting to note that the remains of our National hero, Dr Jose Rizal and the martyred priests (GomBurZa) ; Mariano Gomez, Jose Burgoz, andJacinto Zamora were all interred in Paco Cemetery. It is not surprising why this place was declared as National Historical Shrine.20170102_100047tA historical marker mounted outside the walls of Paco Park and Cemetery20170102_100124tPaco Park is a well-maintained place. It features a very serene and neat atmosphere and the entrance fee of Php10 per head is really reasonable to keep this place back to its former glory.
IMG_0133tThe inner gate of Paco Park. The park is circular in shape with an inner circular fort that stood as the original cemetery. The outer wall was built with thick adobe walls. The top of the walls were then made into pathways for promenades20170102_100342tThe walls were made hollow to serve as niches
20170102_101036tA panoramic view of the niches. I’m not sure if the some of the remains are still interred here but they said that most of the  remains here were exhumed and transferred to other cemeteries in Manila.20170102_101108t
20170102_101521tThe pathways on top of the thick walls. Here, you’ll see the inner and outer walls of the Paco Park
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20170102_101727tLocated at the center of the park is a domed chapel dedicated to St. Pancratius, a Roman citizen who converted to Christianity, and was beheaded for his faith at the age of just 14 around the year 304.20170102_100752t20170102_100824t20170102_100839tThe chapel was closed by the time we arrived there but according to the markers outside, this dome and oval chapel had an altar that was originally white and gold. On each side of the altar are the repositories for the remains of the governors and bishops.20170102_100854t20170102_100907tSchedule of masses of St Pancratius Chapel
20170102_100939tIt is also interesting to note that the Chapel of St. Pancratius is under the care of the San Vicente de Paul Parish and the Vincentian fathers who also manage the nearby Adamson University.20170102_102048t20170102_102702t
20170102_102222tIn front of the chapel is a huge circular pool/ pondIMG_0139t20170102_100606t20170102_101825tOf course, the park is adorned with luscious greens and colorful ornaments as well.
20170102_102301t20170102_102330t20170102_102553tOn one side, you’ll find a monument dedicated to Dr Jose Rizal. Jose Rizal was secretly interred at Paco Park after his execution at Bagumbayan on December 30, 1896, and was guarded for fifteen days by the Guardia Civil Veterana. His remains were exhumed on August 17, 1898 and on December 30, 1912 was laid underneath the monument dedicated to him at the Luneta as stated in the Park’s marker.
20170102_103020tNot too far from Rizal’s monument is another monument dedicated to the three martyred priest. According to the memorare, their remains after their execution on February 17, 1892, were buried in the cemetery grounds as they were linked to the Cavite Mutiny, as stated in the Park’s marker.20170102_101933tThe park as viewed from the top walls.
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Things You Should Know Before Going to Paco Park and Cemetery
►The entrance fee to Paco Park is Php10 per head
►The park is open to general public from Tuesdays to Sundays from 8am to 5pm
►Comfort rooms are available
►Weddings could be held here
►Masses are held in St Pancratius every Sundays and Holidays (10am│11am│5pm│6pm)
►They also conduct masses every 12th Day of the Month at 9am
►Wedding Arrangements and inquiries can be done in San Vicente De Paul Parish
►Some scenes from the movie Starting Over Again (starring Toni Gonzaga and Piolo Pascual) were shot here
►National artist Ildefonso Paez Santos Jr. was involved in the designing of Paco Park (he is also the one behind the landscape designs of CCP and Rizal Park)

How to Get to Paco Park From Manila
Going to Paco Park and Cemetery is not really challenging. If you are commuting from Manila, just take a jeepney bound to Taft Avenue. From there, get off in Escoda Street and you can just walk to Paco Park. In our case, from Otis, we just ride a Tricycle that brought us directly to Paco Park for just Php20

Where To Stay in Manila
In case you are looking for more budget hotels, feel free to check our hotel recommendations via TravelBookPH and see which one suits your budget!

After spending time in Paco Park and Cemetery, we headed to our next destination and possibly the most popular park in Manila, the Luneta Park or Rizal Park! I will post more details about this trip in my next #LetsExploreManila entry.

or the mean time, you can also follow me on my Social media account for more updates

Facebook : It’s Me Bluedreamer!
Instagram :  @bluedreamer1227
Twitter : @bluedreamer_27

Feel free to watch this video summary below and don’t forget to subscribe!

Let’s Explore Manila : Fort Santiago

After exploring the different streets of Intramuros, we headed to one of its premier tourist attractions and one of the most important historical sites in Manila, the Fort Santiago. Fort Santiago is one of the oldest fortifications in Manila which was built in 1571.
20170101_163800tThe gate of Fort Santiago has been a common sight for me because the Grand Marian procession usually held in front of this area (along the Plaza Moriones) but the last time I went inside was decades ago! I think I was in kindergarten and it was part of our Field trip and I can barely remember anything about Fort Santiago.
20170101_164005tThe first fort was built from logs and earth but was destroyed in Limahong Attack in 1574. The Stone fort was built between 1589 to 1592. Much like any of the defensive structures in Intramuros, the Fort Santiago was also destroyed during the Battle of Manila. Many people were imprisoned here during the Spanish period and the second world war and many lives were lost here as well. Even our national hero , Dr Jose Rizal was imprisoned here before his execution in 1896.
20170101_164101tThe gate of Fort Santiago was one of the structures that was utterly destroyed but was reconstructed and renovated to place it back to its former glory. The 40ft high gate was adorned with many notable details. The top most portion lies the image of Saint James (Santiago in Spanish) where the fort was named after. Under the image of Saint James is the Coat of Arms of Spain.IMG_0087tOutside the gate, you’ll find a moat which passes through the Pasig River
20170101_160848tUnlike the other Baluarte in Intramuros, the Fort Santiago is not freely accessible. There is an entrance fee of Php75 per head and I think it is very reasonable considering that they are constantly making efforts to restore and preserve the place.

BALUARTILLO AND REDUCTO DE SAN FRANCISCO JAVIER
20170101_162427The Plaza Moriones was currently under construction when we went there but the first structure that you will notice after passing through the ticket booth is the Baluartillo and Reducto De San Francisco Javier
20170101_162018tUnderneath the Baluartillo is a tunnel that is supposed to take you to the Reducto De San Francisco Javier. I’m not sure if the tunnel is publicly accessible but there seem to be another way going to the reducto where the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe is located.
20170101_162325tYou can get a great top view of the Reducto De San Francisco Javier on top of the Baluartillo
20170101_162345tThe Shrine of Guadalupe is located at the center while the entire place is surrounded by thick walls and cannons facing the Pasig river.
20170101_162129tOne of the accessible areas on top of the baluartillo
20170101_162542tWalking along the side walks across the Plaza Moriones, you’ll spot some old and rusty canons on display20170101_162659t20170101_162651tI also spotted an Anchor near the Picnic Area

RUINS OF THE AMERICAN BARRACKS
20170101_163144tAnother interesting spot in Fort Santiago are the ruins of American barracks. It is basically an abandoned building and there’s really nothing much to see inside. It is not publicly accessible either so all you can do is to gaze at this historically significant structure.20170101_162923tIf they can only talk, they probably have so many stories to tell right? 20170101_163103tOn the main gate, there’s a marker stating that senator Elpidio Quirino was imprisoned in this building for 187 days in 1948.
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JOSE RIZAL’S LAST FOOTSTEPS
20170101_164310tOnce you entered the Fort Santiago, the first thing you will notice are the metal footsteps. These footsteps were used to represent the final walk our national hero from his cell to the location of the actual execution.20170101_164330tI wasn’t able to count the steps though.

PLAZA DE ARMAS20170101_164345tAt the heart of Fort Santiago lies the spacious Plaza De Armas. It is one of two major plazas in Intramuros, the other being the central Plaza de Roma. Historical evidence may suggest that the plaza is the site where the wooden palisade of Rajah Sulayman, on top of which Fort Santiago was built, was located. The landscape of Plaza de Armas is not as colorful as Plaza Moriones (outside the Fort Santiago) and Plaza De Roma (in front of Manila Cathedral) but spacious enough to relax.
20170101_164459tIMG_0104tA statue of Jose Rizal at the heart of the Plaza De Armas

THE RIZAL SHRINE
20170101_164519tWe could have explored the Rizal Shrine in full extent but unfortunately, the site was closed for holiday. We failed to get the chance to enter the shrine but we were able to enjoy looking at those brick wall (ladrillo) ruins. 
20170101_164553tThese brick walls are said to be one of the oldest structures in Fort Santiago.This is also the site where Jose Rizal was imprisoned and the place where he wrote one of his masterpiece “Mi Ultimo Adios”20170101_164700t20170101_164649f

THE RAJAH SULAYMAN THEATER
20170101_170458tOpposite the Rizal Shrine is another interesting site. The ruins of Rajah Sulayman Theater.s an open air theater under the grounds of Fort Santiago which was ruins of a former Spanish military barracks. It had served as a highly atmospheric setting for contemporary theater-in-the-round productions by PETA (Philippine Educational Theater Association).20170101_170613tThe ruins of Rajah Sulayman Theater , named in honor of the leader of the Mohammedan Malays who first inhabited the area.20170101_170917tIf lucky enough, you can also get a scenic view of the Pasig river20170101_170000t
20170101_173023tAfter taking a quick rest in Plaza De Armas, my brother and I decided to leave Intramuros and went to our hotel in Otis. We left Intramuros via Soriano Ave. We had an insane “kuliglig” ride going to our hotel and I will share all our experiences in my next #LetsExploreManila entry

UPDATE: According to Intramuros Administration, Fort Santiago is now OPEN DAILY stating from 8AM to 9PM

For the mean time, you can also follow me on my Social media account for more updates

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Twitter : @bluedreamer_27

Feel free to watch this video summary below and don’t forget to subscribe!