Legaspi Towers on the Boulevard Facing Manila Bay
From $90 / night
Description from the owner
Description from the owner
Type: Apt. / Condo
1) Exclusive high-rise condo in excellent location!
2) Perfect for a family or group of up to 7
3) 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
4) Free cooking gas
5) Free 5 gallons of drinking water per week (filtered)
6) 12th floor with 2 balconies
7) Scenic glass elevators
8) Across the street from Cultural Center of the Philippines on Roxas
9) Close to major shopping areas
10) 24-hour security, friendly and helpful
11) Easy access to public transportation ...Read more
About the owner
About the owner
Howie and Ipat Severino
Howie and Ipat Severino
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- Calendar updated: 14 months ago
Additional Location Information
In this edition of Kokoy's Travel Tips from Legaspi Towers, I present three of the interesting Catholic churches close by.
One of the lasting legacies of the colonial era is the churches built by Spanish missionaries. Erected centuries ago, many of these churches have withstood the elements and remain standing today, still serving as community hubs of worship and gathering. These structures are as significant in architectural development as they are precious as relics of history.
Just a 5-minute jeepney ride from Legaspi Towers is the Baroque Nuestra Senora de Remedios (Our Lady of Remedies) or popularly known as Malate Church. Originally built by Spanish Augustinian missionaries in 1588, Malate Church has gone through several restorations after surviving numerous earthquakes, countless typhoons and four wars, even used by British forces as a base to launch their attacks on the Spanish fort of Intramuros during their brief capture of Manila in 1762. The original statue of the Virgin Mary brought from Spain in 1624 still presides over the congregation from the altar today. More than 400 years since its erection on the bank of Manila Bay, Mass can still be heard every Sunday morning every hour on the hour from 6:00 on, one of the few places on the planet where you can hear an Irish priest deliver an entire Mass in Tagalog with an Irish accent - including the homily! The Malate Church choir is comprised of young elementary and high school children, directed by an organist playing a vintage Yamaha two-tiered electric keyboard with push-button programmed drums, and bass played with the feet, wildly popular in the 1970's, the kind my dad used to play Bach and Mozart pieces on in our living room and on which I took lessons when I was 11 years old. Playing a wide range of worship songs in three different languages (English, Tagalog and Latin), some written by such Pinoy pop luminaries as Ryan Cayabyab, the melodies carried by children's voices bounce beautifully against the high domed ceiling of Malate Church, wafting endlessly out the open stained glass windows, through the surrounding trees and weaving into the incessant noise of Manila traffic.
To get to Malate Church from Legaspi Towers, go to Harrison Plaza and catch a jeepney in front of Mercury Drug going north on Mabini Street. Tell the jeepney driver to stop at Malate Church. You will approach and enter the church grounds from the back gate. When you walk around to the front, you will see Manila Bay just past the fountain across the street.
After Mass, you might consider having lunch in the area, a conglomeration of eateries to choose from. One of the best restaurants in the country is right across the street from Malate Church - The Aristocrat. The original Aristocrat grew from a single snack mobile in 1936 to a landmark establishment that has witnessed the passing of Philippine history on Roxas Boulevard â€“ marching prisoners of war during World War 2, independence day parades, presidential inauguration caravans, and national hero funerals (the most recent of which was Cory Aquino's two summers ago), just to name a few. Politicians, movie stars, Supreme Court judges and television journalists are often seen among the regular customers to savor the Aristocrat's exemplary dishes of Philippine traditional cuisine, a menu developed since the pre-War era by late founder Aling Asyang. My personal favorite is the crispy pata - crunchy-skinned deep-fried pork legs in conjunction with the Aristocrat's own famous in-house atsara.
The Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene stands in the center of Quiapo, one of the three biggest open-air markets in Metro Manila. Quiapo Church is home to the Shrine of the Black Nazarene, a miraculous statue of Jesus Christ, distinctive in its image of Jesus with naturally black skin, probably much closer to His true complexion than most western depictions would like us to believe, brought to the Philippines in 1606 and officially transferred to Quiapo in 1787. Originally built from bamboo and nipa by Franciscan missionaries in 1586, Quiapo Church has seen its share of destruction due to natural and man-made disasters as well as miraculous survival. Lasting over 50 years, the bamboo and nipa building burned down in 1639, and was rebuilt using more durable materials. In 1928, another fire left Quiapo Church in ruins. The current structure standing today was designed by National Artist for Architecture Juan Nakpil, and withstood the bombing of Manila by Japanese forces in World War 2, despite the utter destruction of the surrounding buildings. Every January 9th, the parish celebrates "Translacion," an annual procession participated in by millions of devotees commemorating the transfer of the Black Nazarene from Luneta to Quiapo. Weekly Novena is on Fridays, and healing services are held every Thursday before First Friday Mass.
To get to Quiapo from Legaspi Towers, either walk or catch the orange jeepney from outside the Ocampo entrance to the end of the route, which is Taft Avenue. Cross Taft and turn left to go up the stairs to the Light Rail Transit (LRT) station, just beyond National Book Store. (I always like to stop in at the Jollibee on the corner of Ocampo and Taft for a dip cone - vanilla ice cream with a coating of chocolate and crispy toasted nuts, refreshing in the hot muggy Manila climate. Then, at the LRT station, I always grab a cup of ice cold gulaman before going through the turnstile to wait for the train.) Take the LRT to the Carriedo station. From the balcony wall of the Carriedo station, you can get a glimpse of one of the busiest, most congested parts of the city. When you go down the stairs from the station, you are unmistakably in the Quiapo market district. Ask merchants where the church is. (Beware of pickpockets!) Along the way, you can find anything you need for your travels or home - clothes and jewelry, school supplies, electronic equipment and power tools, fresh fruit and vegetables, posters of movie stars, cell phone accessories, fake Rolex watches, pirated dvd's of recently released Hollywood movies and Manny Pacquiao fights, home-made organic soap, wedding gowns, kitchen utensils, automatic weapons, samurai swords and lingerie. The closer you get to the church, the more shops selling religious icons you will come across.
Whenever I go to Quiapo, I like to eat at Goldilocks - traditional Filipino dishes served in a fast-food format, but nonetheless just as scrumptious. From the second floor, you can sit at a table overlooking the street packed with shoppers and clothing booths and pushcart merchants selling fresh coconut juice and gulaman.
One of the largest churches in Manila is the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, or popularly known as Baclaran Church. Built in a Romanesque architectural style around an elaborate altar donated by a devotee family in 1932 to house the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help brought to the Philippines by Redemptorist priests in 1906, Baclaran Church survived the ravages of World War 2, even as Japanese forces interned the priests and dispersed the community. The icon itself was recovered after liberation from a prison used by the Japanese to store art pieces stolen from Filipino homes. In 1948, the rector introduced what is now the most attended weekly Novena in the world when an estimated 100,000 flock to the church grounds to pray together every Wednesday, which has become known as "Baclaran Day." On the first Wednesday of each month, the crowd swells to about 120,000, with even larger numbers on Ash Wednesday. Even with its floor area of over 54,000 square feet, crowds spill out into the courtyard area during Sunday Mass. Baclaran Church has never closed its doors, and people come to pray to Our Mother of Perpetual Help at all hours of the day. Late into the night and the wee hours of the morning, devotees come for meditation and to line up for a brief contact with the icon at the altar.
Espousing the Redemptorist mission to uplift the poor, the community of Baclaran Church offers numerous services for the economically disadvantaged, including a Crisis Intervention Center to meet emergency needs; a justice and peace center which advocates and campaigns to build awareness of such issues as human rights, ecology and disaster preparation; the Sarnelli Center for Street Children which offers temporary shelter, skills and livelihood training, education, and family reunification to the indigent; an educational assistance program to help poor students attend college; and a medical and dental facility for primary health care.
Much more information, including a Mass and Novena schedule can be found on the Baclaran Church website http://baclaranovena.org/, where you can even email your prayer intentions from anywhere in the world. (I promise that Our Mother of Perpetual Help checks Her email regularly. :-) If you want a seat in a pew near one of the wall-mounted oscillating electric fans, it is advisable that you arrive for Mass early. With tens of thousands in attendance at each Mass, you can imagine how long Communion would take, so you would need to get there even before the previous Mass has finished. The Sunday Tagalog Mass at 3:30 has a traditional Filipino rondalla choir with a bandurria section and stand-up bass. If you are facing the altar, the choir seats to the right of it. After Mass, you can get a chair massage in the courtyard from one of the famous blind masseuses and masseurs.
The church is the hub of the Baclaran market district, which feels just like Quiapo, only larger and even more congested. To get there from Legaspi Towers, cross Roxas Boulevard to the sidewalk in front of the Cultural Center of the Philippines. There, you can catch an F/X, which is essentially an air-conditioned SUV modified for public transportation use. It is about a 5-minute F/X ride to Baclaran, which is located just outside Manila's southern border with the municipality of Paranaque, one of 18 boroughs in the National Capital Region. When the F/X driver lets you off at the Baclaran stop, you will have to take the pedestrian overpass to cross over to the market on the other side of Roxas. When you first go up the steps of the overpass, if you look west towards the Bay, you will see an Islamic mosque, its modest golden dome shining in the intense midday sun crowned with a crescent moon, and a tent city surrounding it of what I would guess are the poor. If you are in the market area at noontime, you will hear midday prayers being announced in Arabic over the mosque's public address system, faintly soaring above the clamor of Baclaran.
Friend me on Facebook and you can check out photos I took traveling around the Philippines, including shots at many churches around the country.
Maraming salamat po! Mabuhay!
Kokoy Gorospe Severino
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