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in Destination Philippines, Travel Guide

Tour de Manila — learn the history of the Philippines in just one day

After the my Promdi rant about Manila, it’s time to let the pendulum of justice swing to the other side. I aim to give a balanced report as much as possible.

If you want to learn the history of the Philippines in just one day, Manila is the place to go and here are the most important places to visit.

Luneta Park

This is where our national hero, Jose Rizal, was shot by the conquistadores,the Kastilas, you know. He was such a strong political figure especially among the Filipinos during the Spanish colonialism and he was a threat to them for exposing their dirty, stinking and decaying government system. He stirred the Filipinos to revolt against their oppressors and as a result, the country gained her liberty in 1898.
For some people, Jose Rizal is like a god. In fact, there is now a religious group called Rizalian and they worship his monument here. But more importantly, the Rizal Monument is the landmark of kilometer zero which not very many Filipinos do know.
A visit to the park includes a short documentary film showing about our hero, his life, works and the ultimate sacrifice he gave to the Filipino people.

National Museum

Standing next to Luneta Park is the National Museum and Art Gallery. It houses Spoliarium, Juan Luna’s masterpiece, a lifesize painting of a dead gladiator being dragged away by a Roman soldier while the cheering crowd looked on. It won a gold medal in Barcelona in 1884, while the Philippines was still under Spanish colonization. The museum also houses outstanding collection of fine arts and natural history–as expected.



Also known as Walled City, Intramuros was built by the Spaniards to protect them from foreign invasion. This was heavily damaged during World War II and about 100,000 Filipino civilians were massacred by the Japanese when they took their anger out on them as the American soldiers defeated the imperial army.  Tour also includes a documentary about the site including the massacre.
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