We took a break from our usual rustic weekend getaways and headed to Sofitel Philippine Plaza at Roxas Boulevard, Manila. D and I haven’t really been keen on staycations in Metro Manila hotels because our city apartment is in the heart of the Makati CBD, and we thought it would not feel much of a difference if we stayed in one of the hotels nearby. There are 2 hotels in Metro Manila that are in our bucket list though: Sofitel and Manila Hotel. Back in 2020, I’ve booked us a an overnight stay on these hotels, and due to the travel restrictions, those booking were sadly cancelled. So this recent stay at Sofitel was a milestone of sorts for us. It was both my and D’s first ever overnight stay in this hotel.
Because our check in time was at 2 PM, D and I drove first to the walled city of Intramuros to visit the San Agustin Musuem, which recently reopened its doors to the public. I thought it was great timing to go there first thing Saturday morning because there was hardly any guests at the time, so we enjoyed a quiet uniterrupted tour of the museum. The highlights of the visit to San Agustin Museum entails a separate blog itself, so more come about it in the next few weeks.
At 2PM we settled in to our upgraded room (yay!) which offered us a view of the infamous Manila Film Center, the Seascape Village, and the Manila Bay. We took a quick nap and then headed out to explore the nearby tourist spots. As soon as we got out of the hotel we realized it was the Metro Manila Pride March and Festival, and we watched the parade. A few blocks away was the venue for the musical performances. This year’s theme was “Atin ang Kulay” (The Colors are Ours, in English).
After early dinner at Seascape Village, D and I walked around and took pictures of Star City, Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), Coconut Palace, and the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).
Star City is a theme park in Pasay City. I haven’t been there in ages, but I have fond memories of the place. When I was a teenager, I was a member of Youth for Christ (YFC), and there were days Star City was reserved for us. I always had a blast on those days because everywhere I go, every ride my friends and I took, there’d always be someone I know. Oh, how I miss those days when I had no cares in the world.
The CCP is where musicals and plays would be shown. I watched Phantom of the Opera with D and my sister here. I watched Wicked here with my friend. I look forward to watching the next musical here soon.
Once upon a time I attended an uncle’s wedding reception at the Coconut Palace, and I remember being amazed by the grandness and the intricacies of its interiors. When I was a child, we had a guided tour of the Coconut Palace, which served as a guesthouse for famous personalities back in the day. From that tour, the one thing I remember the guide telling us was one of the rooms was where Brooke Shields stayed in.
In the PICC, for the first time was able to see upclose the sculptures in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Sculpture Garden. This sculpture garden was opened in November 1996, and displays unique sculptures made by artists from the respective APEC countries.
Finally, before we headed back to the hotel, we went to the Manila Bay to see the sunset. It was overcast on that day so we prepared ourselves for an underwhelming view, but we were still thankful to see these: