Claire Danes called it a “ghastly and weird city”. Dan Brown fictionalized it as the “gates of hell”. I’m pretty sure I’ve read more than ten foreign tourists say worse things about Manila.
As a former city dweller for 25 years, I can understand where the nasty comments stem from. The country’s capital can be a matter of acquired taste. Much of it is in bad state of disparage, but despite the endless traffic, the sheer signs of poverty and wear, the petrol and dust-heavy air, and the ubiquitous overpopulation, it’s a city that’s also brimming with rare gems. At least for those who dare to dig deeper.
Here are snapshots of those redeeming Manila qualities, from my lens to yours.
|Intramuros building. Kempt and refurbished.|
|Fort Santiago. Kingly. Wowed me from here till Friday.|
|View of Pasig River atop the Fort walls.|
|Chopped off shot. Sorry about that. Still pretty though. Manila Cathedral.|
|A datu fronting Malate Church.|
|SM MOA Eye at dusk.|
|Malate Catholic Church. Beautifully old, never ragged.|
|Killer Sunset. San Miguel By The Bay along MOA strip.|
|St. Pancratius Chapel, Paco. I wanted to get married here once too.|
|Manila City Hall watch tower.|
|Memorial at Caloocan Rotonda. Snapshot taken during a train ride.|
|Busy bees. Bluewave Complex.|
|Beautiful. Malate Church.|