"Manila, Manila, I keep coming back to Manila...no place in the world like Manila...Manila...I'm coming home."
Yup, those lyrics from the Hotdog's popular song always come to mind every time I fly home. Yes, Manila, I am coming home to stay. To stay for a few days, that is!
I remember when I was a kid on a summer vacation in Manila, we stayed at Inday Miniang’s apartment building at Arquiza Street in Ermita, right in the middle of Manila’s tourist belt. Then, it was so convenient moving around the area. Traffic wasn’t that bad and the area was safer. I would go out late at night and crossed the street even in my pajamas with Manang Virgie to buy some snacks at a store along A. Mabini Street. Inday Miniang’s heirs have sold her building since, and I haven’t visited that place again.
But when I toured Binondo that day, I looked at it through the eyes (and palate!) of a tourist, and surprisingly, this unique place looked (and tasted!) more interesting and enjoyable. I had a different kind of fun that day, and I owe it to the people of Binondo to write about their town (blog to follow soon!). Our Chinese restaurant hopping, hopia and ma-chang shopping, Manila-from-top-of-a-building viewing (see photos for this blog), and spa pampering, all in less than a day should also be experienced by any local or international Binondo visitor.
In the 1970s, when Hotdog wrote their hit song, Manila was unique and special. With all these promising plans to revive it, soon we will sing again their lyrics…”no place in the world like Manila…I'm coming home to stay”.
(P.S. Thanks to Diana for letting me stand on top of her building. Seeing Manila from up there was a special experience!)