Manila Night Crawlers

I am not sure how the title sounds, but it seemed apt to what we exactly did one Saturday evening. We have been seeing beautiful photos of the City of Manila at night making the rounds in social media. This crawl had been long overdue, but, despite the quarantine and working from home, we did not have much time.

Well, we finally did it with our trusted 25kph max e-scooters. Our first stop, chase the sunset at Manila Bay.

Manila Bay does not look that filthy from here

From our place it took only around 15 minutes to go there. We haven’t been this close to the sea for more than a year. While Manila Bay is not exactly a beach resort, seeing see birds, a floating restaurant, boulders, and seawater was a welcome respite.

Disclaimer: I had to remove my face mask ONLY for this photo. Yes, I wore the same thing as my last post! 

There were a couple of families who were there. I thought 16 year old kids are not allowed to be outside because of the quarantine protocols. But I don’t blame them. It has been a very long movement restriction in the Philippines and kids may not be handling this very well. We even allowed Brie to drop us off back to the apartment last New Year — the farthest she had been since being at home since March 2020.

This was my first time to see Manila Bay’s famous sunset

On the other hand, I was most excited to see the sunset. I realized that I have never seen the Manila Bay sunset, despite growing up in Metro Manila. Shocking.

Upon leaving, we took a quick photo of the Rizal Park Hotel to send to Monette, who had her wedding reception there in 2019 with Edward.

The last time I was here was for a wedding reception

Our next stop from Manila Bay was supposed to be the Bonifacio Shrine. But en route there, I was distracted by the beautiful mini park by the Manila City Hall (technically the South Entrance), so we naturally stopped.

Manila City Hall was beautifully lit

The last time I was inside the Manila City Hall was in 2016 for my other humanitarian work. We had to go over piles upon piles of court documents to track delayed hearings, which will then be used to make a case for decongesting the city jail. Memories.

They look like fireflies

There were a couple of couples, and some bikers who were taking photos like us. I mean, just look at the place, it was Instagram-worthy! And everybody looks great under the pretty yellow lights.

Mon had to take a photo with the Manila City Hall

When we then went to Bonifacio Shrine, there were too many confusing makeshift fences that we did not bother entering the area. I was reduced to taking a photo of the Manila City Hall tower from the highway.

That was better than nothing, I guess.

This Manila City Hall photo would have been better without these electric lines but, alas

After the botched stop at the Bonifacio Shrine, we next went to the Jones Bridge. Now, the area was really pretty when we stopped by around October when we went to Bambang. But that was during daytime and we know the bridge looks much better in the evening with the lamp posts on.

Going there from the City Hall, I was still a bit confuse of which road to take. I had to let Mon take the lead because I was nervous crossing the road. Somehow, the roads look different at night that despite having a good sense of direction, I was very tentative.

Jones Bridge at dusk

When we reached the bridge, there were some people who had the same idea as us. While we were not taking OOTDs like the others, they obviously took advantage of the beautiful bridge before dusk.

I just realized that this may look better from afar, seeing the side lit as compared to being actually on it. On the other hand, I was not sure if it was wise to go to MacArthur Bridge just to see the whole Jones Bridge with the lights.

With the intricate lamp posts at Jones Bridge

From Jones Bridge, we then went to Intramuros. We had to go to the end of the bridge going to Escolta just to go to the other lane of the bridge. We then took the street behind the Manila Post Office, before entering the walled city.

There were a couple of closed roads for construction, but I knew that the Manila Cathedral should have been somewhere where Jollibee is. The best way to know we were at the right place? Tourists. There were already some tourists outside Plaza Roma, because that was where the best view of the whole cathedral was.

Manila Cathedral from the iron wrought gates of the Plaza Roma

We did not bother waiting for the people to be done taking their photos by the open spot of Plaza Roma. The iron wrought gates were enough for me. Besides, I was also too distracted by the beautiful lights from Palacio del Gobernador, although I did not manage to take a photo of it.

There were a lot of tourists, mostly bikers, at the Manila Cathedral. COVID-19 what?

Our last stop was the San Agustin Church, the oldest stone church in the Philippines. There was an ongoing mass when we were outside, so I just snapped a quick photo. We were also quick to leave because of the people that may come out of the church after the service. On the other hand, I realized that it could not have held a lot of people because, well, pandemic!

There was an ongoing mass in San Agustin Church

We then decided to finally go home. The street directly next to San Agustin Church was cobblestone. We just got off our scooter because I felt all nerve ending shake in the 5 seconds we tried riding it out. It was not too long of a walk before we reached pavement.

I somehow knew where the street will end up, and I was correct. After crossing Padre Burgos Avenue to Maria Orosa, it was already a familiar spot i.e. Rizal Park and then UN Avenue, where I used to work for WHO.

It took around 20 minutes to get home from Intramuros, despite ‘traffic’. We are technically not that affected being able to move on the side of the road like our other two-wheel counterparts.

We could have gotten around other areas deep into Binondo but, cats. We have cats to attend to. Perhaps next time we could plan a different route.

bryologue

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