A Visit to Manila and the Southern Tagalog Countryside Towns
The history and cultural heritage of the Philippines sets this island nation in many ways somewhat apart from other ASEAN nations. First colonized by the Spanish in the 16th century, it remained under Spanish rule until it became an American colony after the Spanish-American War in 1898. After World War II, the Philippines became independent, and developed a vibrant national identity and strong pride in its culture. The cultural heritage of the Philippines is a fascinating and unique combination of pre-Hispanic indigenous values, beliefs, and ways of living, mixed together with Spanish Catholic and American influences, to which over the past 200 years immigrants from Fujian and Guangdong Provinces have added southern Chinese elements. In the south, just as in Thailand, there is a large Muslim community with its own culture related to the cultures of the nearby Indonesian islands. On this five day exploration of the heartland of the Philippines’ Tagalog culture, we will learn about Philippines’s heritage conservation in the beautiful countryside and old towns of Laguna and Batangas Provinces just two hours south of Manila, and then be introduced to the heritage of Manila, where all the historical influences have come together to create this vibrant political and cultural capital of the country.
We will also sample traditional Philippine cuisine, meet local heritage experts who will interpret their culture, and also meet over dinner with the leaders of the Heritage Conservation Society of Philippines, which is now the Philippine partner organisation of The Siam Society in the newly established ASEAN Heritage Alliance. This trip is an opportunity for members of the Siam Society to see the cultural side of the Philippines that is little known to most people living in Thailand, whether Thai or expatriate.
The tentative programme will be as follows:
|Day 1: Bangkok – Manila|
|5.15am||Meet at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, Check in counter for Thai Airways|
|7.45am||Depart Bangkok for Manila by Thai Airways|
|11.55am||Arrive at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila
Travel by bus straight south to the highland city of Tagaytay to view Bulkang Taal, stratovolcano within a lake that that is one the world’s lowest- and one of the Philippines’s most active volcanoes. We’ll learn about the history, geological feature, ecosystem and community issues with an expert from the local environmental conservation movement.
|Noon||Lunch of home cooked Taal specialties|
|Afternoon||A scenic drive to the province of Batangas and to the town of Lemery|
|Evening||Check-in at Dreamwave Hotel Lemery in Batangas
Dinner at a local restaurant. Early rest after a long day of travel
|Day 2: Taal – San Pablo|
|Morning||Early start as we proceed to the town of Taal to have traditional local breakfast at a local parador. Colonized by the Spanish in 16th century, Taal preserves much of her traditional 19th architecture. Our walking tour includes a visit to the massive Basilica de San Martin and Our Lady of Caysasay chapel. We also learn about Taal’s revolutionary history with a visit to some of the town’s heritage homes|
|Noon||Over a home-cooked lunch of Batangas Tagalog menu at a traditional bahayna-bato (wood and stone) home, we engage with our host – a local stakeholder advocate on the heritage and conservation issues affecting the town.|
|Afternoon||Proceed to the province of Laguna and to San Pablo city where spend the afternoon at a former coconut plantation. We’ll learn about the area’s heritage with a brief lecture on the history of the local coconut industry. We also experience a hand’s on cooking lesson of traditional fare – including kulawo, a unique charcoal-infused dish from the locality.|
|Evening||Check-in at the multi-awarded and world-renowned Sulyap Boutique Hotel,
experience a sumptuous “taste of the past” in San Pablo. Dinner at the hotel
|Day 3: San Pablo – Manila|
|Morning||Breakfast at the hotel. Explore the towns around the biggest fresh water lake in the county – Laguna de Bae. The Catholic Spanish Franciscan friars established colonial towns around this region. Visit some of historic missions including the Baroque San Pedro de Alacantara church in Pakil – a national cultural treasure. In Lumban, we learn about the town’s Barong.
Tagalog embroidery with a visit to a traditional burdadera
|Noon||Lunch at a local restaurant|
|Afternoon||Head to the town of Paete, famous for its craftsmen to visit the atelier of a master who combines painting with woodcarving tradition.|
|Evening||We head back to Manila for our overnight stay at the Manila Hotel.
The Manila Hotel is a historic five-star hotel located along Manila Bay, opened since 1912 on the commemoration of American Independence. It was designed with white magnificent walls and a green-tiled roof in California Missionary-styled edifice. Its reverence for Filipino culture and traditions together with its American and European influences have made it one of its kind and earned it the title of “the address of prestige in the Far East. It has the best view of Manila’s fabled sunset, the fortress of Corregidor, the poignant ruins of the medieval fortress that was Intramuros.
Dinner at a local restaurant
|Day 4: Old Manila|
|Morning||Breakfast at the hotel. An early start to introduce the multi-faceted heritage of the Philippine capital, our first stop is Chinese Cemetery, a unique 19th-century necropolis for Manila’s historic Tsinoy (Chinese-Filipino) community. Proceed to visit the all-steel San Sebastian Church to learn about the current community conservation efforts to restore this national cultural treasure.|
|Noon||A lunch of traditional Islamic Maranao fare from the neighborhood Mindanaoan immigrant community will be served.|
|Afternoon||Visit Rizal Park and the National Museum complex with her various collections of fine art and anthropological specimens|
|Evening||Cap off the day with a roof top dinner and meeting leaders of the Heritage Conservation Society of Philippines.
Stay overnight at the Manila Hotel
|Day 5: Old Manila – Bangkok|
|Morning||Breakfast at the hotel. Check-out and take a walking tour of Intramuros, Manila’s Spanish colonial quarter to learn about the city’s 400 year old heritage with a local expert and public historian.|
|Noon||Lunch at a local restaurant|
|Afternoon||Drive to the beautiful grounds of the Manila American Cemetery, one of several allied soldier’s cemeteries in Asia, including the cemetery at the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi and the cemetery near Pegu in Myanmar, to learn about the country’s World War II history.|
|4pm||Arrive at Ninoy Aquino International Airport|
|7.10pm||Depart for Bangkok by Thai Airways|
|9.25pm||Arrive at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport|
|The Siam Society reserves the right to change the programmes as necessary.
To initiate this programme a minimum of 10 participants will be required.