I always believe that Manila is such a charming city. Old houses and churches, historical sites and great food are just some of the reasons why I love Manila. For tourists and adventure seekers, Manila is definitely not a place to be avoided. There are a many things to do and activities to enjoy in Manila that keeps me fascinated. I will never get tired of rediscovering it again and again.
Last week, we had the chance to roam around Manila with a Toyota Wigo provided for us by Diamond Rent a Car. They have been a trusted rent a car service company in Manila with a fleet of different cars catering to the needs of their corporate and individual clients. Be it sedans, SUVs, or AUVs, Diamond Rent a Car has always been on top in terms of supplying the best and quality services to its clients for almost 40 years.
EN ROUTE TO BINONDO
Having the distinction of being "the oldest established Chinatown in the world," we traveled from our hotel to Binondo, Manila where we will be having our lunch. I was expecting a lot of traffic as it’s already Christmas season and everybody are busy with their last minute Christmas shopping. So I brought a bag full of patience with me so as not to be stressed with the traffic along our way. I’m so happy that despite the traffic, the travel from Ermita to Binondo is comfortable with our rented car.
DINING AT YING YING TEA HOUSE
After reading good reviews about Ying Ying Tea House located at the corner of Yuchengco and Dasmarinas Sts., I think this is the best place in Binondo to have a taste of some good Chinese dishes. We parked our car outside the restaurant and went up to the 2nd floor since all the tables at the first floor were already occupied. It's lunch time and as expected, the restaurant is full of diners; but we're lucky to get a table.
Since it's our first time here, we asked the server for suggestions on their menu. There were a lot so we ordered one of their specialties, the Ying Ying Mixed Plate (PHP 180.00). It comes with 1 cup of rice, Roast Duck, Pork Asado, White Chicken, Lechon Macau and Salted Egg. We also had Pork Asado with rice and some servings of fried and steamed dumplings. Yummy!
We truly enjoyed our lunch. Their food is really good! No wonder, the restaurant is full with happy and satisfied diners, including us!
VISITING BINONDO CHURCH
We then drove our way to Binondo Church also known as the Minor Basilica of San Lorenzo Ruiz. Rich in history, it is considered as one of the oldest churches in the Philippines.
SAYING A LITTLE PRAYER AT STO. CRISTO DE LONGOS SHRINE
We also went to the Sto. Cristo de Longos Shrine at the corner of Pinpin and Ongpin streets. It is an open shrine that combines Chinese and Catholic faiths in one place. Here, you can burn joss sticks, light a candle, recite your prayer and make offerings to the Sto. Cristo de Longos.
TASTING THE DELECTABLE HOPIA FROM ENG BEE TIN
Before going back to our car, we passed by Eng Bee Tin Chinese Deli to buy some of their delectable hopia. Whenever I visit Binondo, I always go here to buy some pasalubong for my family. I really love their hopia, specially the mongo flavor. It’s definitely one of my favorites!
RE-LEARNING HISTORY IN INTRAMUROS
Our next stop was Intramuros. The trip only took about 15 minutes from Binondo to the walled city of Intramuros. I really like the convenience of having your own car when touring around Manila. It makes moving around so easy, safe and comfortable.
Intramuros is where you could see Manila’s European-influenced past. I've been here many times but every visit is still a memorable one.
Fort Santiago is a 16th century military defense fortress which gives an interesting insight into one of the most important chapter in Manila’s history.
This is also where Rizal shrine is located; it exhibits some memorabilia related to the life and works of our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. As a place where Rizal was imprisoned, his final steps from his prison cell to the fatal firing squad site in Luneta were immortalized with golden footprints seen inside the Fort.
We spent ample amount of time inside Fort Santiago, just taking photos, wandering around and enjoying a good cup of coffee.
We then went back to our car and requested our driver to bring us to Manila Cathedral. Also known as the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, it serves both as the Prime Basilica of the Philippines and highest seat of the Archbishop in the country.
After a quick tour of the cathedral's interiors, we drove to San Agustin Church located nearby. This is a must-visit when in Intramuros as it is one of the "Four Baroque Churches in the Philippines" inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1993. San Agustin Church is said to be the oldest stone church in the Philippines. Built in 1589, it is the only church inside Intramuros that survived the Second World War. Unfortunately, a wedding is going on when we arrived, we were not able to take photos of the interiors of the church.
We crossed the street and went to Plaza San Luis located at the cobble-stoned street of General Luna. Plaza San Luis is a complex composed of five replica houses representing different eras of Filipino-Spanish architecture.
The plaza consists of Casa Blanca, Casa Urdaneta, Los Hidalgos, El Hogar Filipino, and Casa Manila. Entering the complex, we felt like we were transported back to the Spanish colonial times.
Inside the complex you'll find restaurants, souvenir shops, a hotel, a museum, cafe and event venues. Though not as grand as Vigan, we definitely enjoyed strolling around the cobblestone streets of Plaza San Luis.
Without a doubt, Intramuros is one of Manila’s most popular destinations for local and foreign tourists visiting the city. We saw several tourists wandering around and checking out the different sites and attractions the walled city offers.
COMFORTABLY STUCK IN TRAFFIC
At around 5:00 PM, we decided to go to our last stop, which is the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Complex to catch the sunset. But since it was the day of the MMFF 2014 Parade of Stars, southbound lane of Roxas Boulevard was closed to traffic. We decided to take Taft avenue and proceeded to SM Mall of Asia instead.
The travel from Intramuros to SM Mall of Asia took more than one hour because of the heavy traffic along Taft Avenue. We already expected that. It's rush hour and with the closure of Roxas Boulevard, most of the vehicles took this route. Fortunately, with our rented car, the long trip was not that exhausting. Imagine that long trip and you're stuck in traffic while riding a cab or taking a jeep? It's definitely stressful and not to mention, very expensive!
So, next time you plan to explore Manila or nearby provinces, consider renting a car instead of taking a cab or public transportation. It will definitely save you a lot of time and will give you the convenience and security you deserve.
WHAT I LIKE MOST ABOUT DIAMOND RENT A CAR
- The car service arrived on time.
- The driver provided for us is very friendly and patient with our requests.
- The car is new, smells fresh and well maintained.
- The driver knows the shortest way to our destination which saved us a lot in travel time and we're able to explore more the places we went to.
- It's cheap, safe and convenient.
Diamond Rent a Car Philippines, one of the pioneers in the industry existing for almost 40 years and is one of the largest car rental companies in the Philippines offering both full service operating lease and short term self-drive or chauffeur driven vehicles. With a fleet turnover of 3 years, you are assured that you will be driving the latest model cars and the reliability to take you wherever you need to go.
- Car Hire
- Pick up / Drop off
- Vehicle Replacement
RATES START AT PHP 999/DAY!
The company aims to deliver a package of safe-to-drive cars, attentive and prompt service, and competitive price. For rate starting at Php999/day, customers will be free from worries when using Diamond Rent-a-Car vehicles. Like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/diamondrentacar or visit their website at www.diamondfleetmanagement.com to know more about their products and services and be updated with their latest promos.
For your car rental needs, you may contact any of their branches:
Diamond Rent a Car Corporate Center
Address: Km. 16 West Service Rd., South Superhighway, Bicutan, Paranaque City 1700 Philippines
Trunk line: +63 (02) 821-1081
Fax: +62 (02) 822-5031
Address: GF Floor King’s Court 1, Don Chino Roces Ave. (Pasong Tamo) Makati City
Contact Numbers: +63 (02) 856-5244 / 856-5254
Calamba City, Laguna
Address: Bldg. Shell Carmelray Industrial Park II, Brgy. Tulo , Calamba City
Telefax: +63 (049) 502-2154
Address: Plaridel St., Alang-Alang Mandaue City, Cebu
Contact Number: +63 (032) 238-8966
Telefax: +63 (032) 346-9520
Address: Unit 5B Bajada Plaza Bldg., J.P Laurel Avenue, Davao City
Telefax: +63 (082) 222-4935
Mobile: +63 (0928) 506-0065
Cagayan de Oro City
Address: Door 215 de Leon Plaza Bldg., Yacapin-Velez Sts., Cagayan de Oro City
Telephone No: +63 (088) 880-2058
Mobile: +63 (0917) 815-2064 / (0935) 858-8830
Disclosure: Diamond Rent a Car provided us with complimentary 10-hour car rental service for the purpose of reviewing their services. Thank you for letting us experience the convenience of rediscovering Manila with Diamond Rent a Car service.
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