When I stayed in Philippines, sometimes I asked my local colleagues about their history, they seem don’t know much about the history before Spanish colonial age. I am a history fan, and always want to know the history stories. As there’s an old saying, that is how long you looking into the past determines how long you can look into the future. I take that for granted. If you want to know the history, the best place will always be Museum. So I planed to visit the National Museum, National Museum of Anthropology, Rizal Park, and the old Spanish town (Intramuros), trying to have a glimpse of the culture and history of Philippines
If I travel a new place, subway and walk are always my first choice, since it’s the most economical and scheduled way. In Manila, however, the subway don’t cover a large place. For example, there is no subway in BGC, the new emerging area in Manila. Luckily, there is a subway station near my living place, and all the places I plan to go are nearby.
I went to the subway station, and get a ticket. Since there is only two major lines in Manila, it’s very easy to tell where you want to go.
When you get to the waiting line, you will find the train is old, and the environment is very shabby.
After I went off, there are so many people pouring outside.
The subway system in Manila may be very efficient in the past, but as the traffic conjection is very big issues, the subway system need to be renovated to meet people increasing travel requirement. In China, more and more cities are building subways, let alone Beijing, Shanghai, the subways cover everwhere in these cities.
Moving forward is Rizal Park. As you entered the park, you will see giant statue of LAPU LAPU in first sight, the national hero fighting with Spanish invasion in 1521. He defeated Megellan killing him, and his victory over Spaniards delayed the colonization of Philippines until 1556.
In the Rizal Park, there are many hero statues in different times, they were fighting for this country, and sacrifice themselves for filippino benefits, especially in Spanish colonial and USA colonial times.
As walking around Rizal Park, you can find many history heritages here, for example, the execution place of another hero Rizal is in this park. Rizal was not only fighting for his country, but aslo an artist, leaving a wealth of master artworks for Philippines. Many of them are exhibiting in the National Museum, I will show you later.
When you stand in the Park, you can feel the history, and feel the majesty of how Filippino fight for their lives for generations.
Next, I went to the old Spanish town, another name is Intromuros, means within the walls in Spanish. The wall are preserved very well, it has witness the powerful history of Spain and the misery of Filippino people.
Inside the Spanish old town, there are two landmark church, one is Manila Cathedral, another one is Church of San Agustin.
The first one is Manila Cathedral, which has been devastated several times by earthquake, and rebuild many times
The next one is Church of San Agustin, which is the oldest church in Philippines.
With Spanish invasion, the western brought their culture and religion. Currently, most of Filippinos are Christian or Catholic. Although Spanish colonial time ended long time ago, the religion from western world penetrated every one life. War will be over, but culture never die.
When I walked around this old town, I found out a small plaza, with ordinary people monument. This is for the memorial of 100,000 innocent men,woman, children, infant killed in Manila during its battle of liberation in 1945.
There are also some old architecture in this town, which I think is Spanish style at the colonial time. If you are a history architecture fan,you should not miss here.
After leaving the Spanish old town, you can easily find National Museum and National Muesum of Anthropology. Both museum are free to enter.
The first museum I visited is National Museum of Anthropology. Here exhibits the history of Philippines.
As I entered into the museum, there’s a clear guide showing the exhibition in Each floor.
When I walking around the museum, I have found out that there are 4 stages in Philippines history: the Paleolithic period, the maritime trade before western colonizers, the Spanish and American colonial time, the republican period. The first two stages are called prehistoric age.
However, unluckily, I didn’t see there is a clear story line of the whole 4 stages in the museum. There are mainly exhibiting some key history events, or cultural and historic relics.
For example, the Ivory trade, which has traversed all 4 stages in Philippines history.
Since the beginning of prehistoric age, Ivory trade is flourish in Philippines, Chinese and other Southeast Asia vessels passing were believed to have sold unshaped ivory to Philippines traders. The ivory were then fashioned into jewelry, accessory for the rulers or wealthy people.
In the museum, maritime trade before western colonial was comprehensively exhibited. Trading with Chinese was important part in that history, which was reflected in the San Diego. San Diego was a trading ship built in 1590 in Cebu by Chinese and Filippino.
In this ship, many Chinese merchandise was shipped, the most important one is Chinese porcelain. This manifest that Philippines have a very good trade relationship time before Spanish colonization.
Another exhibition zone is about Lankata, which is sMall gun or cannon used as one of weapons of Filippino before and during the Spanish colonization of Philippines.
The last major part is about Philippines culture.
After finish visiting the exhibition, I went to National Museum, which is just one street from National Museum of Anthropology.
Compared with previous one, in National Museum, many Philippines history and modern artists works are exhibited. If you are a fan of art, I highly recommend you visit here.
Before I have introduced Rizal, the national hero, he is also one of the most famous artists. There is one room in this Muesum specially exhibiting his art work.
To me, the most impressive art is the following one: the Mother Revenge.
There are numerous art works exhibited here, and most of them present Philippine art and culture. So come here especially If you are first time in Manila.
After visiting all the places, it’s already 5pm in the afternoon. There is one more amazing place you must go: Manila Bay. It’s near Rizal Park, and have beautiful sunset scenery here.
Some kids were playing beside the sea.
A boy were showing his Kungfu skills under the beautiful sunset.
Amazing Manila Bay scenery.
In my mind, after one day visit, Philippines is a very beautiful and historical country, it possesses colorful culture and long time trade history. However, Philippines also suffer long term colonization of western and Japanese invasion, huge fortune were taken and many disasters were remained to Filippino. Lots of heroes died for fighting for their country freedom.
Although there are still many problems here today, the good thing is that the government focusing on developing its economy, and willing to make good relationship with China again. China and Philippines have long term trade history, and many Chinese came here to make business with Filippinos long time ago. I believe that as the friendship grows, more and more Chinese will come to travel here to boost local tourism, the frequent trade will enhance both country economy and benefit the both people living.