When you think of Manila, you would be enchanted by its rich history from the time it was founded in 1571 by a Spanish conquistador until the present time. Let me give you a tour of Manila's historical places which stand the test of time.
In Manila's oldest district called Intramuros, there stands the strategic walls stretching to 1.8 miles. It's height of 6 meters and thickness of 2.4 meters made it a formidable defense from foreign invasions. Ironically in Manila's history, four flags have flown there - Spanish, British, American and Japanese. Inside those walls, you'll find the oldest church in the Philippines. San Agustin Church withstood many wars and earthquakes throughout the years. Another infrastructure is Fort Santiago. It was declared a Philippines shrine. It was also famous because it became Jose Rizal's prison cell before he was executed. Who wouldn't know Jose Rizal? He's a great national hero whose death culminated the intense uprising of the Filipinos against the rule of foreigners.
Another part of Manila's history is the China Town in Binondo. As early as 1594, Chinese settlers flocked this town and created their own community as they formed bonds with Filipinos. Jewelry shops, traditional medicines, Chinese pastries and sweets lined up Ongpin street.
You've got to add to your itinerary, a visit to the San Sebastian Church. A Belgian engineer and Spanish architect's masterpiece, this all-steel religious building is one of a kind in Asia.
Enough of the historical landmarks, let's party in Manila. Your nightlife is never the same once you hit the streets of Manila. From cultural shows, ballroom dancing, karaoke, comedy bars to live bands, they've got it. Whatever kind of music that you like, there's got to be something for you.
If stage plays, ballet dancing shows and opera are your heart's delight, then give in to your desire and head to CCP or Cultural Center of the Philippines in Pasay. About 1.2 miles from CCP, you'll arrive at Malate. It's the artists' watering hole. Many foreigners flock the bars because it's non-exclusive and got its quaint charm of simplicity. Recommended places are Penguin Cafe and Hobbit House. What is unique in Hobbit House is that "little people" served your drinks. It's a special place where they are highly regarded and treated as equals.
You shouldn't also miss the famous Hard Rock Caf� in Makati which is also part of the metro. While you're at it, RJ Bar in Dusit Thani Hotel where the music played is a reminiscent of the past. You could also ballroom dance your way in there.
A must-see is Warehouse 135 also in Makati. What is Zouk in Singapore, Manila has Warehouse 135. That's party with an identity.
For upscale clubs, party hard at Embassy Bar in Taguig. It is now known as Encore due to change in management. The one who challenges Encore in style and class is Alchemy. A-listers flock this club. Ascend boasts of it state of the art audio equipment and giving you the best combination of drink and dance.
Make comedy bars your last stop. Laffline, Punchline and The Library are great places to chill out. Laughing is the best way to end your trip in Manila.
You've got history at your fingertips and a mighty dose at that. Add some splash of party and you'll have the greatest time of your life in Manila.
Ms. Pinky is a mom of 3 school children. She is a Systems Engineer, a Technology Researcher and an Independent Medical Billing and Coding Consultant. She and her family is well-traveled all over the world!