11:00 AM, the weather is perfect (not too hot, but won't rain), I left with nothing but my Olympus FE25 and my Metro Manila Accu-Map. I also brought with me a P140 pocket money plus my coin-filled frog purse. My destination - the old churches in Manila.
My first stop was Bustillos. I reached the twin churches of Bustillos at around 11:30 PM. The Our Lady of Loreto Parish and the Church of St. Anthony. These two churches stand in J. Figueras Street (formerly Bustillos Street) in Sampaloc. I gathered a little info on the Loreto Parish but none on St. Anthony Church. The marker on Loreto Parish says that the site was donated by Pedro de Chavez to the Franciscans in 1613, then a chapel was built in 1613 in honor to Our Lady of Loreto. The first chapel was burned down by a Chinese uprising in 1639, so a second chapel was built in 1666. From 1692 to 1808, there functioned a printing press which was considered one of the best in Manila.
From Bustillos, I walked my way to National Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus via Mendiola Street (I'm not sure if it's still Mendiola since its street post on the Recto-Legarda-Mendiola Intersection is Chino Roces Ave.). For ages, this street has become the site of demonstrations and protests against Malacañang. The bloody Mendiola massacre happened here on the 22nd of January 1987.
At the center island of Mendiola street stands the statue of Don Chino Roces, a journalist and considered the architect of 1986 People Power. The San Beda College, Centro Escolar University, La Consolacion College and College of the Holy Spirit are also built along the street of Mendiola, hence the are is called U-belt or University Belt.
By 12 noon, I was on the Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus. Built near the Palace of Malacañang at J.P.Laurel street, armed soldiers patrol the area with their bikes. I was even questioned by one of the patrolling guards. The church looks clean and Chinese, I did not find a marker though.
Traversing J.P.Laurel street westward, I'm on my way to San Miguel Church, my third stop. Along the way I saw a plaza, Plaza Aviles. According to traveler on foot's post this plaza is now called Plaza Liga Anti-Imperialista. A marker regarding the liberation of Manila is built in front of it.
Around 12:20, I was on San Miguel Church. The church was built along the Tripa de Gallina in 1603, then was moved to the current site in 1783, the current church was built in 1913 and was declared the National Shrine of San Miguel and the Archangels in 1986.
I reached San Sebastian Basilica, my fourth stop, via Gen.Solano-P.Casal-J.Nepomuceno streets. This one-of-a-kind structure is made out of steel and claimed to be a work of Alexander Gustav Eiffel. I forgot to take a picture of its marker. The church is closed, so I was not able to take snapshots of its majestic interior.
Through R.Hidalgo street, I went next to Bahay Nakpil Bautista at A.Bautista street. This old house was built in 1914 and housed Dr. Ariston Bautista and his wife Petrona Nakpil. Julio Nakpil and his wife Gregoria De Jesus (widow of Andres Bonifacio) also lived here.
I then walked through Escaldo St. and then through the Lacson Underpass to Quiapo Basilica. This quad-century old Basilica (built in 1586) is the center of devotion to Black Nazarene. The largest procession in the country happens here every 9th of January. Series of earthquakes and fire destroyed the original structure. Juan Nakpil drafted the much stronger and current Basilica of Quiapo.
The historic Plaza Miranda is found in front of the basilica. Fortune tellers, charms, flowers, candles, name them all and they got it here.
By 1:20 PM, I am standing in front of the statue of Arsenio H. Lacson at Plaza Lacson (formerly Plaza Goiti) in Sta. Cruz. He was the first elected mayor of Manila (1952-1962) and was considered the greatest. He was the man behind the building of Manila Zoo, Quiapo Underpass, Ospital ng Maynila and many others.
Sta. Cruz Church was my fifth stop. It was built in 1768 by the Jesuits. At the surrounding plaza, the British returned Manila City to Simon de Anda y Salazar in 1764. In front of the church is the beautiful Carriedo fountain. I also took a glance of Ongpin street.
I entered Binondo from the Sta. Cruz Plaza through old Manila's high street, Escolta. Impressively designed buildings still stand along the old street, the Regina bldg, the Burke bldg, and Perez-Samanillo Bldg.
I turned left to T.Pinpin street to Muelle del Banco Nacional at the Pasig riverbank. From where I stand, I saw the back of Central Post Office, the McArthur Bridge to my left and the Jones Bridge to my right. I continued walking westward to Plaza Moraga at the foot of Jones bridge. I then traversed the Q.Paredes street and saw there a fascinating Chinese dragon dance. At the end of the street stands a statue of Don Roman Ongpin, a Chinese merchant who helped the revolutionary people against the Spaniards.
I reached Binondo Church, my sixth stop at around 2:00 PM. Built by the Dominican friars in 1587, was destroyed by the British occupation in 1762 but was rebuilt with the help Chinese businessmen. During the WW2, it was again destroyed. From 1948 to 1971, it was reconstructed. It is now known as Minor Basilica de San Lorenzo Ruiz in honor to our first Filipino saint who served here.
Plaza San Lorenzo Ruiz (formerly Plaza Calderon de la Barca) is found across the church of Binondo. There stands the dramatic statue of St. Lorenzo Ruiz, some Chinese monuments, and two fountains.
I stopped by the McDonald's across the street just to pee. I rested there for some time since my feet were aching already. I checked on my map where I should go next and the streets I must walk through.
Through J.Luna street, at around 2:30 PM, I reached the "KKK" marker at #72 Azcarraga (now C.M.Recto). In this exact spot, Andres Bonifacio along with Ladislao Diwa, Teodoro Plata, Deodato Arellano, Valentin Diaz and Jose Dizon founded the Kataastaasan Kagalanggalngang Katipunan Ng Mga Anak Ng Bayan (KKKNMANB). This secret organization's objective was to unify all the Filipinos and free this nation from the hands of Spaniard through a bloody revolution. There's a monument of the Kartilya ng Katipunan, drafted by Emilio Jacinto who is considered the "Brain of Katipunan".
I was in Divisoria already and I wanted to reach the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Parish at the west end of C.M. Recto. I passed though a rural community. The people there were still eager to use firecrackers (it's 01.01.11), however my fear of firecrackers did not stop me. At the back of Gat. Andres Bonifacio Memorial Hospital is the Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage Parish. The gates were closed so I did not manage to enter. I just made a glimpse of the parish and decided to proceed to my next destination.
I grew tired of walking for hours and my feet were aching badly. I headed to Andres Bonifacio Monument at Tutuban, bought a drink at Watson's and rested for some minutes.
At 3:30 PM, I continued my walk to Tondo Church, my 7th and last stop of the day. I walked through Ylaya street and saw along the way a plaza, Plaza Liga Filipina. The plaza was named after the "La Liga Filipina" of Dr. Jose Rizal which was founded in Tondo on the night of July 3, 1892. It was an organization whose members are the nationalistic people like Andres Bonifacio and Apolinario Mabini.
There's Plaza Hernandez (formerly Plaza Vicente Del Fiero) in front of Tondo Church. The plaza was named after the famous freedom writer, Amado V. Hernandez who was also born in Tondo. I always encounter his works back in high school panitikan.
The present Tondo Church was built on the second half of the 19th century and its Sto. Niño has attracted many devotees.
My batteries were low and I still have a number of churches in my list. I was planning to reach Sta. Monica Parish before my batteries die, but upon reaching Moriones Plaza in front of Honorio Lopez's Monument they were dead. Honorio Lopez who lived in Tondo also joined the revolution against the Spaniards and the Americans.
I decided to go home at around 4:00 PM since a photowalk without a camera is pointless. From Moriones street I walked my way back to Tutuban and took a jeepney ride back home.
End of Part 1.