Malate

Opposite the National Library Mabini Street runs South, with a statue of Apolinario Mabini (1846-1903), an eminent lawyer and great patriot, paralyzed in both legs, who was exiled to Guam by the American authorities.

Mabini Street is lined with offices and shops, fashionable restaurants and little shops selling antiques and craft articles. It cuts across United Nations Avenue (to the left the Hilton Hotel) and continues towards the Flea Market and the Malate district.

Parallel to Mabini Street is M.H. del Pilar Street, which runs down towards the sea, with a number of bars and night spots. Between Mabini and Pilar Streets, at the corner of San Andres Street, is Malate Church.

The site was originally occupied by a church built by Augustinians at the end of the 16th century to house a wonder-working statue of Our Lady of Remedies, which was sacked during the British occupation (1762-64) and destroyed in 1773. The present church dates from the end of the 18th century.

The facade is a good example of Mudjar (Hispano-Mauresque) style. It is richly decorated, with twisted columns showing the influence of Mexican colonial Baroque. The interior, with a coffered wooden ceiling, is rather more austere.

Opposite the church is a little public garden containing two strangely assorted statues of Our Lady of Remedies and Rajah Sulayman, who defended the Philippines against the Spaniards in 1571.

Farther South is the Manila Zoo (entrance in Adriatico Street). Among animals of special interest are the tamaraw and the monkey-eating eagle of Mindanao. There is also a Botanic Garden.

To the East are the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex, is a national sports complex opened in 1934. The National Stadium of this complex has a maximum seating capacity of 30,000. In these grounds, now houses the administrative office of the Philippine Sports Commission and quarters for the Philippine national athletes. On these same grounds, the Japanese herded together thousands of civilians in 1945 and massacred many of them during the battle for Manila.

Returning towards the sea along Vito Cruz Avenue, are the Century Park, Sheraton Hotel and the Central Bank, with a Monetary Museum. At the corner of Roxas Boulevard is the Metropolitan Museum, opened in 1976, it is mainly devoted to modern and contemporary visual arts. Adjoining the Museum and the Central Bank is the old Fort San Antonio Abad (partly restored), which contains various military relics. Beside it is Manila Hospital.

Along Taft Avenue to the right south are the Marist De La Salle University founded in 1911, and the Apostolic Nunciature, where Pope Paul VI stayed in 1970.

Turning left along Taft Avenue, we come to the only Synagogue in Manila. On the opposite side, to the right, is the Women’s University, where performances of folk dancing are given by the Bayanihan group on Saturdays at 5 p.m.; then, beyond the intersection with Pedro Gil Street, the Holy Child Cathedral, built in 1969, the mother church of a schismatic sect led by Gregorio Aglipay (frequently known as the Aglipayan Church) which rejects the authority of the Pope.

Malate is continuously transforming itself as the centre of recreation and entertainment for Manila with the increasing number of restaurants, boutiques, entertainment halls, bars and discos. The life in the area starts as soon as the famous Manila Bay sunset is over and the neon lights and loud glaring sounds were turned on.