When in Manila and looking for cool places to visit and things you can do without spending too much, you might want to visit three interesting tourist destinations that just happen to all be along one jeepney route: Rizal Park, the Carfel Seashell Museum and Malate Church. Having all three of these on one commute path definitely makes it easy for tourists, especially those navigation-challenged travelers. Best of all, the three destinations are practically nonnegotiable sites to visit when it comes to sightseeing in the Philippine capital.
What better way to start your inexpensive tour than from the most important tourist spot in Manila, Rizal Park? More popularly known by Filipinos as Luneta, this park is dedicated to Dr. Jose Rizal, national hero of the Philippines. At the heart of Luneta is a bronze monument of the hero. Aside from its historical significance, what’s amazing about this park is that it is like an oasis amidst the ever noisy and busy streets of Manila.
Rizal Park has wide open spaces, park benches, and fountains where visitors can take a breather from their very hectic lives. The playground is perfect for children and the many historical spots are perfect for foreign tourists. The main attractions in and around Rizal Park are Rizal’s monument, Lapu-Lapu’s monument, and the “kilometer zero” Philippine flagpole.
If you get tired or hungry here, there are a number of food kiosks where you may grab a snack and rest awhile. One of the most popular burger chains is Jollibee, so you might want to try that. The Jollibee in Rizal Park is at the corner of TM Kalaw Street. This is perfect because you will take a jeepney ride from there going to the Carfel Seashell Museum. Take a Baclaran-bound jeepney and prepare to get off along M.H. del Pilar after about 15 minutes.
The Carfel Seashell Museum may not be as popular as Rizal Park but it’s a wonderful stop on your way to Malate Church. This unique museum showcases the rarest and most beautiful Philippine shells, some of which cannot be found elsewhere in the world. The most important shells on display are the Glory of the Sea (“Conus gloriamaris”) and Golden Cowrie (“Cypraea aurantium”). Carfel also displays shells found in other places around the world. It’s a unique, eye-candy experience just before you tour-hop to the nearby Malate Church.
Malate is actually popular for its winding row of bars and restaurants, but the Malate Church provides a welcome break from all the worldly partying in the area. Built in the 16th century, Malate Church is one of the oldest Catholic churches in Metro Manila outside Intramuros. It is one of the most visited historical cathedrals in Metro Manila. Religious or not, Catholic or otherwise, anyone visiting the Baroque-style Malate Church can get a glimpse into the soul of the Filipino people just by seeing this church as well as the locals bound to be visiting it.
So there you have it, a simple, inexpensive and yet very unique and educational tour of Manila. For less than a hundred pesos, meet the Philippines’ national hero in Rizal Park, see the beauty of nature at the Carfel Seashell Museum and be awed by Filipino religiosity inside the splendid Malate Church. You might need a bit more money than those hundred pesos, though, since there are plenty of snack areas and bars to tempt you along the way. Admission to Rizal Park and Malate Church is free.