Top 5 must-visit local historical sites for the family

Where was Jose Rizal executed? What really went down between Lapu-Lapu and Ferdinand Magellan? And is Vigan longganisa really the superior longganisa? In planning your next family trip, consider visiting these five historical sites that’ll make the whole experience not just fun, but also educational

By Nathan Arciaga

These spots make for great destinations for a family getaway especially if it’s just a day or weekend trip. Go for an adventure and make it an opportunity to bond with your kids and brush up on History 101 yourself. Here are 5 ideal destinations for such a trip. 

1. Calle Crisologo (Vigan, Ilocos Sur)

Calle Crisologo in Vigan takes you back in time.

A UNESCO Heritage site, this stretch of cobblestoned street with horse-drawn calesas and old houses informs us of the way we used to live. It was named after the Ilocano playwright Marcelino “Mena” Crisologo, who eventually became the first governor of Ilocos Sur. 

You travel close to eight hours from Manila for the perfect travel-back-in-time photo shoot, but you stay for the beauty and the sense of wonder. Calle Crisologo is beautiful in the daytime but all the more magical at night. 

2. Rizal Park

One of the country’s must-visit historical places, Rizal Park is where its national hero Jose Rizal was executed, which sparked a revolution against the Spaniards.

Unless you’ve recently attended a religious or political rally, or you were once a diehard player of augmented reality game Pokemon Go, chances are, you haven’t been to Luneta or Rizal Park in quite a while. Luneta has so much to offer—sculptures and artworks from legendary Filipino artists, the tallest flagpole in all of the Philippines, the zero kilometer marker that serves as the point of origin for measuring distance to any place in the country, and the spot where our national hero was martyred. 

Visit for an early morning jog and spend the rest of the day learning about heroes and their deeds while bonding with your kids. 

3. Intramuros

A city within a city, within Intramuros walls lie much of the country’s historical past including its architecture, food, art, and garrisons. 

This urban historical site, the walled city of Intramuros, is now a cradle of private college education, restaurants, bars and coffee shops. A classic case of looking but not seeing what is truly there, many of us take for granted that Intramuros has been standing for hundreds of years and tells thousands of stories. Take a walking tour with your family and revisit this historic former administrative capital with fresh eyes.

4. Corregidor

The site of the infamous Death March, Corregidor lets you peek into a portion of the country’s military history. 

For something a little bit more recent, book a tour or just hop on a ferry along Manila Bay and be transported to the island of Corregidor circa WWII. Known for being many things throughout our history—a customs point, a military barracks, an epic battleground—Corregidor has witnessed some of the most gruesome and triumphant moments of our history. Visit storied ruins, antique artillery, and memorials to remind yourself and your kids of the many sacrifices past generations endured to win us our freedom. 

Corregidor is ideal for day tours or you can go camping if the kids are up for it. 

5. Mactan Shrine

This is said to be the exact location of the Battle of Mactan, where Lapu-Lapu defeated the Spaniards led by Ferdinand Magellan. 

Working on your Cebu itinerary? Along with canyoneering and swimming with whale sharks, squeeze in a visit to Mactan Shrine located on Mactan Island. This is said to be the exact location of the Battle of Mactan, where Lapu-Lapu defeated the Spaniards led by Ferdinand Magellan.  

Built in honor of Lapu-Lapu and the Battle of Mactan, Mactan Shrine is a reminder of our fiercely independent nature. You will also find a monument here honoring Lapu-Lapu’s foe, Ferdinand Magellan, and a covered structure with a mural depicting their epic battle. A short trip here will round out any Cebu trip and will imbue it with a sense of knowing one’s self as a Filipino. 


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