Enclosure of Magellan's Cross
We started out our day with the complimentary breakfast at the hotel. Mango and bananas, breads with butter and marmalade and coffee (I had the hot choco). Planned out our day and decided we'd head out searching for treasures. So we took a cab (which are EASY to find) down to Colon Street. Now this isn't the best or cleanest area in town, but it has a plethora of shops and stalls selling everything! Watches, DVDs, clothes, you name it. We walked in and out of small malls and personal boothes for the better part of two and a half hours, taking it all in. I had been hoping to come across some typical, local souvenirs. But all I found were your everyday items. I did manage to buy a dual-time watch (for my multi-time zone travels, $10 USD) and a new pair of sunglasses.
After a quick lunch, we decided to take in some sites. Since we were close, we walked down to Magellan's Cross. This is the spot, where it is said, the explorer Magellan planted a cross in the name of the church. Located just across from City Hall and behind the Basilica de Santo Nino, sits a small round structure with open windows. In the center is a "new" cross marking the spot where the original was planted. The ceiling has a wonderful painted fresco telling the story of Magellan. Though the story didn't have a happy ending for Magellan, it's still a good story! After a few pictures, we wandered off towards the Basilica de Santo Nino. The site had seen two previous structures, each burned to the ground. The Basilica that now stands has been around since the 1600's.
Even on a Wednesday, the church and grounds were abuzz with tourists and worshipers. Old women outside the walls, sold candles for prayer. After paying our respects, we ventured down to Fort San Pedro, which was just a few blocks away. Though small, the fort saw a LOT of action over the years. Both long ago and more recent. I've always liked structures like forts and castles. And this one didn't leave me disappointed. Upon entering, there are several prints and maps of the forts early days and occupants. Entrance is 42 peso ($0.89). It's an easy stroll; along the walls, through the courtyard and interior spaces. Though there is a small museum with a few artifacts and pictures, the gift shop dwarfs it! That's my only real complaint. Pictures taken, it was time to head back to the hotel and relax. The Philippine humidity was taking its toll. After a cooling off with a cool San Mig Light, we headed over to Nature Spa (see my review) for our daily ritual of massage and pampering. Shiatsu and foot massage were on the menu for me today! Feeling rejuvanated, yet mellow, we took in dinner at our favorite outdoor grill. Enjoyed a pleasant meal and a few more cold ones. It would be an early night tonight. All that walking and massaging makes a man grow tired too soon! Ahh...