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Experience Boracay in Manila: Valentine’s, Lenten destinations to check out |

Travel and Tourism

Experience Boracay in Manila: Valentine’s, Lenten destinations to check out

Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo -

MANILA, Philippines — Every special occasion like Valentine’s Day and Lent, Boracay has been a popular destination for local and foreign tourists alike.

But for those who cannot fly yet to the island paradise in Visayas, just staying in Manila to spend the holidays would not be so bad. 

Here is a new itinerary to try for your next “eat, pray, love” adventure in the Philippine capital:

Battle of Manila 79th anniversary in Malate Church

Battle of Manila marker setup by the local government outside Malate Church (left) Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

For Roman Catholics celebrating both Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday on the same day today, stopping by the church is a must.

The Malate Church along Roxas Boulevard in Manila is not only there for those looking for a church to get an ash cross on the forehead.

Since the church is among the city’s main landmarks that played a key role during the Battle of Manila, it is among those designated by the city with a special marker commemorating the Battle of Manila’s 79th anniversary.

The Battle of Manila, which happened from February 3 to March 3, 1945, was waged by the United States of America to liberate the Philippines from three years of Imperial Japanese occupancy.

Apart from the marker, by the altar of Malate Church is a panel exhibition showing archive photos from the war.

Malate Church at the aftermath of the Battle of Manila of 1945 (left); a panel exhibition showing archive photos from the war Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

Just behind the church is Korea Town, where one can enjoy Samgyeopsal and other Korean dishes from the authentic Korean restaurants in the area, where Filipino heritage restaurants like Café Adriatico and Bistro Remedios are also located.

Battle of Manila marker outside Malate Church (left); Korean dishes served in Korea Town Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

Manila Clock Tower Museum

The Manila City Hall after the Battle of Manila in 1945 (left) and the city hall now, showing its clock tower, the first in the Philippines and in Asia Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

From Malate, you can ride an electronic pedicab, which are all the rage now in Manila, for a 10-to15-minute trip to Manila City Hall, which itself is a historical landmark that was also ravaged during the Battle of Manila.

Inside is the relatively new Manila Clock Tower Museum, which is open by appointment via the museum’s Facebook page. 

The seven-storey museum houses dioramas about the Battle of Manila on its first floor. The second floor contains a changing exhibition by Filipino artists. Around this time, among those in exhibition for the ongoing National Arts Month are works by glass sculptor Ramon Orlina and National Artist for Visual Arts Abdulmari Imao.

Battle of Manila dioramas (left); artworks by Ramon Orlina (right, bottom) and National Artist Abdulmari Imao (right, top). Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

The upper floors, meanwhile, contain exhibitions on indigenous arts and clothing, a replica of the Manila Mayor’s office, a balcony showing the clock tower’s mechanism, and bird’s eye views of the city fronting other famous landmarks such as the Malacanang Palace, Intramuros and Manila Cathedral.

Indigenous art and clothing exhibition (left, top); Manila skyline view (left, bottom); a Jesus sculpture by a Filipino artist, made of upcycled spoons and forks Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

The tower’s clocks used to be manually cleaned and adjusted, but following the tower’s renovation during the COVID-19 pandemic, its clocks are now digital and are automatically in-sync with the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA).

More information about the clock tower (left); one of the clock tower's digital mechanisms Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo
Spiral staircase leading to the top (left); some Manila landmarks that can be viewed from the upper decks include the Manila Cathedral and Intramuros Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

Do not leave the clock tower without having refreshments from its own café, which serves cakes, pastries, full meals, pasta dishes and drinks such as an authentic recreation of Harry Potter’s famous Butter Beer!

The museum's cafe (left) serves Butter Beer (right) Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

Lime Hotels and Resorts

Apart from the utmost floor of the Manila Clock Tower, Manila’s world-renowned sunset can be best enjoyed from the infinity pool of Lime Hotels and Resorts in Manila.

Although Lime has branches in Boracay and El Nido, the resort chain’s Manila resort is always jam-packed for its sumptuous buffets and scenic infinity pool area, where a live disc jockey plays disco beats set against Manila Bay’s majestic sunset. 

The resort's infinity pool boasts of having one of Manila's most 'Instagrammable' sunsets Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

Today, Valentine’s Day, the resort offers live entertainment to go with buffet dinner and a round of red or white wine. The resort has also recently launched its new Churrasco buffet, a dinner spread touted to be the only one in the metro to be inspired by the Brazilian traditional feast, in time for the Brazilian Mardi Gras, which culminated yesterday to usher the start of Lent.

Lime Hotels and Resorts Manila's Beach Club (left); live cooking and a fish delicacy served at the beach club Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo
Entrance to the hotel's Bayside Buffet restaurant, which serves authentic Cebu Lechon, among others Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

After a dip in the pool and a filling buffet, one could relax in one of the hotel’s standard rooms, which have smart controls or tablets from which one can control the room’s mood lighting and curtains. The rooms also have TVs with a free selection of new blockbuster movies, in addition to the usual cable channels.

The hotel's only two Sky Villas each have their own infinity pools. Every villa costs over P48,000 a night, can accommodate six guests, and comes with its own family room, living room, dining room, kitchen, bathtub and lounge areas. Butler service has been recently added as a new feature. Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

The hotel’s General Manager, John Allen Herrera, alongside Sales and Marketing Officer In Charge Jeffrey Camilon and Sales and Reservation Officer Benny Rose Jarloc, have also recently announced that the hotel is now pet-friendly and guests can bring a maximum of two cats and/or dogs.

Just outside the resort is Seascape, a chain of restaurants where one can buy fresh seafood and have these cooked on-the-spot.

Also nearby is the controversial Manila Film Center ruins, which now houses Korean restaurants and a spa. — Photos, videos by Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

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