Our escorted tour begins with a morning drive to the popular landmarks and points-of-interest in the heart of Manila City namely: Mall of Asia, the largest shopping mall in the Philippines when it opened in 2006; Coconut Palace, commissioned by the former First Lady, Imelda Marcos in 1978 to house Pope John Paul II during his Papal visit in 1981 (the Pope however declined to stay in the Palace due to its’ opulence); Cultural Center of the Philippines, a performance and exhibition venue built during the time of former President Ferdinand Marcos to showcase Philippine Arts and Culture; and Luneta Park (also known as Rizal Park) where a monument enshrining the remains of the country’s national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal is found. The tour will then proceed to Intramuros, also known as the “walled city” where you can see ancient walls, church ruins, and other relics of the Spanish Conquistadors era.
Our first stop will be Casa Manila, a reconstructed Spanish home dating back to the mid-1800s. This colonial museum contains furniture and artwork ranging from the 17th century to the early 20th century, showcasing the lifestyle of upper class Filipinos at the turn of the century.
The next stop will be San Agustin Church and Museum. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, known as the oldest stone church in the Philippines. It is home to the richest collection of religious art in the country.
After lunch, the tour will proceed to Makati City, the Philippines’ premier business and financial district. We will drive past Saints Peter and Paul Parish, the first and oldest church in Makati, built in 1620 with intricate designs and Spanish-type architecture. Nearby is the parish church of Our Lady of Guadalupe built by the Augustinian friars in 1629. Often referred to as the “Guadalupe Ruins,” the original church was of Doric structure with massive buttresses to support its vault of hewn stones taken from the still visible but extinct Guadalupe Quarry.
Next stop is the Neilson Tower along Ayala Avenue, the country’s first airport built in 1937, currently converted into an upscale restaurant. Finally, visit Ayala Museum, located at the heart of the Makati Central Business District. The museum features 60 handcrafted dioramas depicting milestones in Philippine history. Highlights include: Gold of Ancestors: Pre-Colonial Treasures in the Philippines, featuring archeological artifacts; A Millennium of Contract, featuring an impressive collection of trade ceramics from neighboring countries and China; and Art and the Order of Nature in Indigenous Philippine Textiles.
Afterwards, return to your hotel or feel free to stay at the Ayala Center for a wonderful shopping experience.
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