Even though Pasay City, Philippines is known for its trendy shopping malls, good restaurants, and tall office buildings, the city has a lot of things to offer when it comes to showcasing the Philippines’ rich culture. There are many places where tourists can get the Filipino experience, and if you’re visiting anytime soon, you should definitely fill your itinerary with must-sees that give you a glimpse of Filipino history, art, and spirituality.
Whether you’re staying in a hotel in Pasay or taking a day trip to the city, here are five cultural destinations you should visit during your stay.
Museo ng Sining
Art lovers from around the world will definitely enjoy gazing at the works of art that are displayed in the Museo ng Sining. This art museum is located in the GSIS (Government Service Insurance System) complex building, and it houses an extensive collection of artworks made by the Philippines’ greatest National Artists such as Fernando Amorsolo, Botong Francisco, HR Ocampo, Bencab, and Kiukok. The museum also features pieces of art made by contemporary artists, as well as the winning entries of GSIS’ annual art competition. However, its most cherished artwork is Amorsolo’s “History of Music”, which is the museum’s largest mural on public display.
Apart from viewing the art collection, tourists can also get a special tour, watch a concert, or attend an exhibition of budding artists. These activities are regularly hosted by the museum.
Shrine of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus
The Philippines is a predominantly Catholic country, so it’s common to see several churches while exploring Pasay City. Among all the churches in the city, however, the Shrine of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus is one of the best to visit, due to its historical, architectural, and religious significance.
Constructed in 1947, the Shrine of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus was originally dedicated to Michael the Archangel. It was used as a makeshift chapel for the Philippine Air Force servicemen who were stationed at Nichols Air Base (now Villamor Air Base). To meet the spiritual needs of the growing number of air force personnel, the chapel underwent a major renovation in the 1980s. On December 16, 1983, the church was consecrated and dedicated to Saint Therese of the Child Jesus.
After major reconstructions in the early 2000s, the Shrine of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus now has a seating capacity of 2000. It also boasts an unobstructed view of the altar, thanks to its high ceiling and spacious nave. Plus, the church is decorated with gorgeous stained-glass windows that depict the life of Saint Therese of Lisieux.
Santa Clara De Montefalco Parish
Another church that’s worth visiting in Pasay is Santa Clara De Montefalco Parish. As one of the oldest churches in the city, the Santa Clara De Montefalco Parish has stood as a symbol of faith, unity, and charity in the community, so it’s no wonder that many people flock to it to this day. Apart from its religious significance, the church is also known for its bright and calming interior that features a high ceiling, beautiful stained-glass windows, and a beautiful altar. It provides visitors with a calm and serene place to offer a little prayer.
Pao Ong Kong Chinese Temple
A lot of Filipinos living in Manila have Chinese ancestry, and many of them strongly uphold their ancestor’s beliefs, practices, and traditions. That’s why Chinese temples, such as the Pao Ong Kong Chinese Temple on Harrison St, Pasay, are significant to the Chinese Filipinos. The Pao Ong Kong Chinese Temple features a tranquil environment that beautifully combines nature and Chinese architecture in the heart of the city. It’s also known to have a collection of deities to which templegoers can offer a prayer to. Although taking photos isn’t allowed inside the temple, it’s still worth a visit due to its unique surroundings and cultural importance.
Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP)
If you’re looking for a cultural destination that can expose you to Philippine performance art, then the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) is the best place to go. The CCP has been at the forefront of promoting Filipino culture and the arts. It’s known for hosting a variety of local productions—from dance recitals to theatrical performances. It’s also a popular venue for yearly festivals and competitions. One famous example is Cinemalaya, which is a major film festival held every August. The festival’s opening night is often held at CCP.
There’s no question that Pasay City is a great place to shop till you drop, eat to your heart’s consent, and experience Manila’s nightlife. However, there is a side to the city that pays homage to the rich heritage of the Philippines. With this list, you can start your Filipino cultural adventure in Pasay City. Hopefully, it motivates you to explore more of what the country has to offer in terms of culture.