The National Capital Region (NCR), more commonly known as Metro Manila, is a highly urbanized city full of giant infrastructure projects, tall skyscrapers, transportation hubs and mega shopping malls. Interestingly, Metro Manila has a rich historical background that dates back to the pre-colonial period.
HISTORICAL SITE #1: INTRAMUROS
Located in the City of Manila, Intramuros, sometimes referred to as the “Walled City”, was once the seat of government of the Spanish colony. It was built during the XVI century to protect the city from attacks. Its walls, as well as churches, schools, convents and courthouses, were made entirely of stones. To have a much better tour of the walled city, you might want to rent a calesa which is a horse drawn carriage.
The most popular tourist attraction here is Fort Santiago, the former military base of the Spanish government. Jose Rizal – the country’s national hero, spent his imprisonment here. Other main tourist attractions include the majestic Manila Cathedral, Plaza de Roma, Casa Manila and Bahay Tsinoy.
HISTORICAL SITE #2: PACO PARK AND CHURCH
Currently, this historical site is a venue for weddings, parties and gatherings. During the Spanish colonial period it was a municipal cemetery for rich families and aristocrats. This was also where Jose Rizal was buried right after his execution, thus making it one of the most important historical locations in the Philippines. A church named after St. Pancratius was also built in the area.
Quick Tip: Make sure you visit the park on Friday evenings to see classical concerts and performances of Filipino musicians.
HISTORICAL SITE #3: RIZAL PARK
Adjacent to Intramuros is the 58-hectare Rizal Park – an urban and historical park situated along Roxas Boulevard Avenue. This was where Jose Rizal and the three martyr priests Burgos, Gomez and Zamora, collectively known as GOMBURZA, were executed by the Spanish government.
Today, Rizal Park is a place where families get together for recreational activities such as sports and concerts that are often held around the area.