VIDEO| Virtual Vacation: Manila, Philippines

Photos by Takahiro Takiguchi
Photos by Takahiro Takiguchi

VIDEO| Virtual Vacation: Manila, Philippines

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Korea

Whether you’re working from home, sheltering in place or just staying home, if you’re like us, you’re probably dreaming of open skies, sandy beaches, tall mountains, or perfect powdery slopes. Our travel plans may be on hold, but that doesn’t mean we can’t dream up where we’ll go next.

Welcome to virtual vacation video series where we can explore destinations from the comfort of our homes.

Join us as we take a short virtual journey to Manila, Philippines.

The great thing about this destination is that it is easily accessible from almost anywhere in the Pacific theater and getting there can be relatively inexpensive thanks to many budget airline options in the region.

The Philippines is a country blessed with nature, rich culture and arts, delicious cuisine and warmhearted people. This is a great place for a quick getaway.

Some of the must-see spots in Manila include:

  • Fort Santiago and Manila Cathedral – For more than 300 years, the country was under Spanish occupation and you will find many of its buildings have Spanish-colonial architecture.  Fort Santiago is the first Spanish colonial building in the city built in 1571 and marked the establishment of Manila. Today, the stone-made fort is a trendy spot for cafes and art galleries. You can hire a traditional “calesa” to tour around the garden, and also get a panoramic vista of the city over the Pasig River from the top of the walls.

Fort Santiago (left) and Manila Cathedral (right)
Built in 1571, Fort Santiago is the first Spanish Colonial building, which also marks the establishment of Manila. The stone-made fort was employed as military installation and prison by Spanish, British, American, and Japanese forces in history and now it is a trendy spot for cafes and art galleries. Manila Cathedral is one of the nation's most important Catholic churches with the majestic exterior made up of a Romanesque dome and bell tower, along with Aisa's largest pipe organ and beautiful stained glass crafted by local artists.

  • Manila Cathedral is one of the nation’s most important churches. With the majestic exterior made up of a Romanesque dome and bell tower, you can see Asia’s largest pipe organ and beautiful stained-glass crafted by local artists in the solemn cathedral.  The sunset in Manila Bay near these attractions is really breathtaking.
  • Caliraya Lake – This lake’s heavenly atmosphere offers an escape from hot and humid Manila. Caliraya Lake has a cooler climate thanks to its high latitude and mountain breeze from Mount Banahaw. You can enjoy camping, fishing and jet-skiing in the cool mountain air. Few would guess that the lake was artificially created as a reservoir for a hydroelectric power plant in the 1930s.

The breathtaking sunset in Manila Bay
Facing in the west, the sunset in Manila Bay is beyond description, which is counted as one of the world's three most beautiful sunsets.

  • Clark Park (former Clark Air Base)— About 48 miles north of Manila, you’ll find the site of former U.S. military installation, Clark Air Base, which has now been repurposed as a Philippines military base, international airport, golf resort and public park. Here you can golf and check out old military aircraft and artillery displays.

Clark Park (former Clark Air Base)
Former U.S. Clark Air Base has now been repurposed as a Philippines military base, international airport, golf resort and public park where you can golf and check out old military aircraft and artillery displays.

While you're in Manila, don't forget to sample Filipino national dish “Lechon,” a whole roasted pig cooked over a pit of charcoal.

I hope you enjoyed a look at Manila through my travel photos and that perhaps it's inspired your next trip. Stay safe and get ready to travel with us in our next video. Thanks for watching!

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