Of Children, Churches, and Manila Cruises

Summer has officially ended.

It has begun to rain all day.

And I know it’s going to be just like that, almost for the rest of the year.

Then next summer, my little boy will no longer be 12.  He will be a teenager.

Last Monday, though, Summer came out again, and we thought of bringing him to one of the Manila museums because just like his Mom, he’s a history fan.  It turned out that all these museums were closed every Monday, except  Bangko Sentral’s Money Museum which is open Mondays through Fridays except the first Monday of every month, which just happened to be the kind that was that day.

We called, and were told that a 1 and a half hour cruise around Manila Bay is scheduled at 6 pm, so we had time to  kill.

I thought we’d go to the nearby Paco Park to visit the Chapel of St. Pancratius, the  Patron Saint of Children.

St.  Pancratius is said to have been martyred at age 14 for standing by his faith.

Neither gay and bright Summer, nor the quiet, haunting beauty of this little domed Chapel, though, gave any indication of the violence and darkness that attended his young life and that of the thousands of years long history of his religion.

Neither does it reveal the shadows cast by Spanish colonial rule under which this Romanesque-styled church was built.

Paco Park used to be a municipal cemetery  meant for the departed loved ones of the aristocratic families in old Manila.

 In 1822, the cemetery became the burial place of victims of a cholera epidemic.  In 1898, Philippine National Hero Dr.  Jose P.  Rizal’s remains were also interred here after his execution at Bagumbayan.  Earlier, the  remains of the 3 martyred Filipino priests Mariano Gomez, Jose Apolonio Burgos, and Jacinto Zamora (known by their acronym Gomburza), whose execution served as the inspiration of Rizal for his revolutionary novel, El Filibusterismo (dedicated to the Gomburza priests), were also interred here under an unmarked grave as was the then tradition for those who died as enemies of the state.

 Paco Park ceased to be a cemetery in 1912.

Today, the Park is said to be a silent witness to the dreamy and furtive embraces of sweet young lovers, some of whom get married in this little chapel.

After Paco Park, we still had time for a cold snack, so we drove to Harbour Square at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Complex which not only gives you a free, unbeatably gorgeous view of the Manila Bay but also an array of restaurants.

coffee topped yogurt at teriyaki boy

We were very pleasantly surprised that the cruise was full.  Tourists flowed in like it was a holiday.

The enchanting beauty of Manila Bay, both at sunset and at night, is simply just one of the best things in life down here.

We simply walked in and bought Prestige Manila Bay Cruise tickets (for Php250 or less than US$5.00 per head) from their small booth right by the yacht’s anchorage.  We wanted only a feel of the bay and didn’t care for any dinner buffet which would have cost double that price.  Nothing luxurious, service was passable, and toilet was clean enough—- hey, no one can possibly scam you for Php250! 😉

Mondays through Wednesdays, we were told, you could bring your own snacks and drinks for no corkage fee, so husband Bear and I had our usual bottle of wine and our son his usual can of soda and bottled water and some chips.

I should say, explore your options according to your needs.

But whatever you do, do NOT miss  touring the waters of the spellbinding Manila Bay.

My soon-to-be young man was delighted to be riding a boat.  He loves water just like his Dad.

He was looking out from all sides of the boat at all angles of the skyline.

At peace and carefree.

Thanks for stopping by 😉

See you again,



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  1. Loved the photos. The last time I was at Paco Park was for a wedding, I think. Your photos really show the wonderful places to visit in the Philippines.


    • Thank you, Teacher Tina! The only other time I was at Paco Park was also at a wedding, when I was probably 6 or 7 years old. I only realized its quaint beauty at the time I brought my kid there, after decades. 😉


  2. I miss sitting at the breakwater of Manila Bay, and watch the sinking sun and floating litter, while the world pass me by. Nice photos.


  3. Like you, I love old churches…old architecture in general but have a special liking for churches and tombstones. When I was still living in Manila, I would travel all the way to Taal, Batangas just to admire the basilica. Sometimes, would go all the way to the underground cemetery in Paete.


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