On my third day in Resorts World Manila (RWM), we checked out early from Remington Hotel and shifted to Maxims Hotel.
I could not wait to move into the suite at Maxims. Once I have checked in, I spend over an hour lazing around in the room, busking in the comfort of the cosy sheets and exquisite bathroom.
As there’s free Wi-Fi, I promptly set up my workstation and replied a few work emails while chatting with my wife online.
I intended to take a short nap initially, but I got so carried away exploring and enjoying the suite that it was already lunch time by the time I wanted to lie down to sleep.
The beautiful bedroom - it's a pity I am staying here alone
Bedside cabinet with a iPod holder, the switches to all the lights in the room
Wardrobe with iron, ironing board, safe box, bathrobes, basically everything one needs
The majestic bathroom
Full set of toiletries
I promptly set up the my workstation, excited with the free Internet access
View from my room
Lunch was an international buffet hosted at the Genting Club. It was a casual affair with everyone busy mingling and getting to know each other.
As we will be headed out for the rest of the day, I did not ate much for lunch as I wanted to save some stomach space to try some regular pinoy food.
Lemon fish on skewer
After lunch, we set off on a city tour for sight-seeing in the earlier part of the day and shopping in the evening.
Our first stop was at the historic Rizal Park, where the remains of the country’s national hero, Dr José Rizal lies within the cornerstone of Rizal Monument. Considered one of the largest park in Southeast Asia, it has an area of 58 hectares which runs from Taft Avenue up to the walls of Manila Bay.
Since the Spanish Colonial Era, the park has been a favorite spot for unwinding, socializing, an urban oasis for family picnics on Sundays and holidays. It is one of the major tourist attractions of Manila.
Rizal Park has been the site of some of the most significant moments in Philippine history. The execution of pacifist Dr José Rizal on December 30, 1896, sparked the fire of the Philippine Revolution against the Spanish colonizers, elevating the martyr as the national hero of the country. The Declaration of Philippine Independence from American rule was held here on July 4, 1946 as well as the political rallies of Ferdinand Marcos and Corazon Aquino in 1986 that led to the EDSA Revolution deposing the dictator.
José Protacio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda (June 19, 1861 – December 30, 1896, Bagumbayan), was a Filipino polymath, patriot and the most prominent advocate for reform in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial era.
As a political figure, José Rizal was a proponent of achieving Philippine self-government peacefully through institutional reform rather than through violent revolution, although he would support “violent means” as a last resort. Rizal believed that the only justification for national liberation and self-government is the restoration of the dignity of the people, saying “Why independence, if the slaves of today will be the tyrants of tomorrow?” (I love this quote) The general consensus among Rizal scholars is that his execution by the Spanish helped to bring about the Philippine Revolution.
Rows of flags
Me in front of the Rizal Monument
Guards on duty
Next, we visited San Agustin Church, a Roman Catholic church under the auspices of The Order of St. Augustine, located inside the historic walled city of Intramuros in Manila. Completed in 1607, it is the oldest church still standing in the Philippines. It is also the oldest structure in the Philippines as no other surviving building in the Philippines has been claimed to pre-date San Agustin Church.
There were two consecutive wedding taking place when we arrived and we got to soak into the atmosphere. We then did a quick tour of a museum housing religious and secular art, located within the church premises.
San Agustin Church
The connected adjacent museum
Guard at an opposite photo studio
The church was adorned with flying confetti when we arrived
The first couple
As one couple leaves, another bride arrives
The wedding in process
The radiant bride slowly making her way in
Bride walking towards the centre of the church
A holy female figurine on the left
A holy male figure on the right
Oil painting outside the museum
Large antique bell at the museum entrance
Miniature model of the church compound
One of the exhibition rooms
Rows of religious artifacts
Another exhibition room
Large paintings like this line the wall of the museum
Large religious artifacts along the corridor
God and Jesus on a cross
Walking down the corridor
Priest addressing everyone
Large arch-shaped windows
Antique ceiling lamp
The second floor
Tinted arch-shaped windows
Level 2 corridor
After the church, we visited Fort Santiago, which served as the headquarters of the Spanish, American and Japanese colonisers during more troubled time.
The fort is one of the most important historical sites in Manila. Several lives were lost in its prisons during the Spanish Colonial Period and World War II. José Rizal was imprisoned here before his execution in 1896. The Rizal Shrine museum displays memorabilia of the hero in their collection and the fort features, embedded onto the ground in bronze, his footsteps representing his final walk from his cell to the location of the actual execution.
Horse carriages for hire
Fort Santiago entrance
Dr Jose Rizal
Close-up of the statue
Dr Jose Rizal was imprisoned here
Preserved ruined area
Antique metal gates
Local kids taking a photo
At the highest point of the fort
Uniformed guards at the fort
Dungeon where the Japanese tortured people
View from the upper floor
For shopping in the evening, we headed to SM Mall of Asia, owned and developed by SM Prime Holdings, the largest mall developer and owner in the Philippines.
SM Mall of Asia is the 2nd largest mall in the Philippines after SM City North EDSA, 3rd largest shopping mall in Asia and the 4th largest shopping mall in the world. It has a land area of 42 hectares and has a gross floor area of an approximate 390,193 m² and 407,101 m² of total area.
There was no way one could finish explore the whole mall in a single day, not to mention within the span of a few hours.
Hence I had to shop strategically, making a mental checklist of stuff I wanted to buy while walking briskly to cover as much of the mall as possible to get an overview.
In this way, I managed to get all the stuff I needed and was very happy with my purchases. I also managed to try some pinoy food at the food court, though they were not really palatable with my taste buds.
SM Mall of Asia
Jollibee fast food restaurant
Singing and dancing to entertain shoppers
Taking photo with a shopper
The mall is humongous
Indoor ice-skating rink
A pinoy food stall
More food stalls
I ordered my food from this stall
Trying out some local food
Cebu roast pork
Assorted pinoy food
This tastes better than it looks - it's some sort of gluey sweet curry vegetable
Fried pork parts nibblers
Assorted roast nuts
Kids' play area
Me getting a drill to the head at the Children's area
Catherine buying Krispy Kreme donuts
Hermit crabs in colourful painted shells
Lots of design to choose from
Larger hermit crabs
Bought some pinoy souvenirs
A vest for Asher and two pair of pants for myself
Since this was our last night in the Philippines, the Singapore group had our dinner together at Manila Bay, bonding over fresh seafood, al fresco entertainment and beer.
The dinner was a perfect ending to a great trip at Resorts World Manila.
SM Mall of Asia by night - it's so huge I cannot get the whole building in a single shot
SM Mall of Asia on the left and Manila Bay on the right
Rows and rows of restaurants by the bay
Pirate statue outside one of the restaurants
We ate at this seafood restaurant
Singapore team group picture
Tucking in for dinner
When we got back to our hotel suites in Maxims, I took a relaxing dip in the bathtub with the bath salt provided.
I had a really good sleep that night. We will all be flying home the next day and I really wish I had a few more days to laze around and do nothing, lapping in the comfort of the Maxims Suite.
Stay tuned to my last post on Resorts World Manila tomorrow.