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Blog > The Little Mail Carriers in Manila, Philippines!

We’ve just received an unexpected report from the Little Mail Carriers, all the way from the Philippines! We don’t know exactly when they were there as mail has been slow to leave the country in the past year… but we’re definitely not complaining — there’s so much to see in this amazing country, and it’s a treat to get a glimpse of it through the eyes of our little intrepid wanderers. Join us for another fantastic report of their travels!

Our host Jom (aka jugatmos) told us that the late Carlos Celdran (a popular cultural activist and performance artist) used to say: “If you can’t find beauty and poetry in Manila, you’ll never find it anywhere.”

Manila is commonly used to refer to the whole metropolitan area (Metro Manila), which includes not just Manila City itself but also Makati, Quezon City and 14 other cities, merged together in a huge metropolitan area. Today we’re focusing on the City of Manila itself, the place with most of the historical and iconic landmarks in the Philippines.

Little P waves in front of the National Museum of Anthropology

In order to learn more about the history and culture of the country, we’ll make a stop at the National Museum of the Philippines, which is actually a group of different museums housing the nation’s treasures. First on our list is the National Museum of Anthropology, formerly known as the Museum of the Filipino People, located in the Rizal Park.

Laguna Copperplate inscription

Here we can see the Laguna Copperplate, a document that shows the use of mathematics, inscribed in the Shaka year 822 (corresponding to Monday, April 21, 900 AD) and the earliest known calendar-dated document used within the Philippines Islands. This document is demonstrative of pre-Hispanic literacy and culture, and is considered to be a national treasure.

Baybayin writing script

Baybayin can be seen on the windows of the museum! Have you heard of it before? This is one of the Philippines many ancient writing systems, used before the popularization of Latin characters in the archipelago.

Filipino traditional dresses Filipino traditional dresses

And look at that these traditional attires — they’re made of piña, which are the fibers from pineapple leaves. Early Filipino clothing used several different fibers, including piña, jusi and abaca. The Maria Clara gown on the right, sometimes referred to as Filipiniana dress or traje de mestiza, is a traditional dress worn by women in the Philippines. It is composed of four different parts: a blouse, a long skirt, a cloth to wear over the shoulders, and a knee-length over-skirt.

Fabric weaving demonstration

Live demonstrations of fabric weaving from the Maranao and Maguindanao people were taking place on the day of our visit, to a really interested crowd — look at how colorful those fabrics are!

After the National Museum of Anthropology, we took a detour to the National Museum of Fine Arts, to marvel at its architecture and take a peek at some famous paintings…

National Museum of Fine Arts — architectural details National Museum of Fine Arts — architectural details

…like the “Parisian Life” by Filipino painter and revolutionary activist Juan Luna, or “The Progress of Medicine in the Philippines” by visual artist Carlos “Botong” Francisco. This mural was specially commissioned for the entrance of Philippine General Hospital and was later declared a national cultural treasure.

The Parisian Life The Progress of Medicine in the Philippines

The last stop on our Museum tour is the Museum of Natural History, a building with striking architecture where we met Lolong, the world’s largest crocodile to ever be measured. After he died in captivity in 2013, he was brought to the museum, where his remains were taxidermied.

Natural History Museum in Manila Natural History Museum in Manila - skeleton of Lolong

No visit to Manila would be complete without a stroll in Intramuros, the walled city within the city of Manila (intra = inside, muros = walls) which today remains rich and intact in its cultural significant. It was considered to be the educational and religious center in colonial times, where original campuses of the University of Santo Tomas (the oldest university in Asia) were once located. As Filipino writer Nick Joaquin would say, “Intramuros! The Old Manila. The original Manila. The noble and ever loyal city…”

Casa Manila in Intramuros Historical Café Barbara's

Inside the walls of Intramuros we stumbled on Casa Manila, a museum depicting colonial lifestyle during the Spanish colonization, which is a copy of an 1850s San Nicolas House that was once located in Calle Jaboneros. We took a rest at the packed heritage café Barbara’s nearby, before gearing up to visit the magnificent Manila cathedral as well as the San Agustin Church, the oldest stone church in the country and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Manila Cathedral San Agustin Church

Below you can see the gates of Fort Santiago. Built in 1590, it remains as one of the most important historical sites in Manila, as many significant events took place in it throughout the years.

Fort Santiago gates

One of these was the imprisonment of national hero Jose Rizal. Rizal’s writings partly inspired the Philippine Revolution, although he was not involved in its planning. He was held in Fort Santiago before being executed by the Spanish colonial government in 1896 for the crime of rebellion, and did not get to see his home country gain independence just 2 years later.

Jose Rizal cell at Fort Santiago Jose Rizal memorial steps

Rizal spent his last 24 hours in a chapel converted into a prison, before marching to his execution in Bagumbayan (now Rizal Park). There’s a memorial trail that traces his steps to the park, which we followed as night fell. There we found Rizal Monument, the final resting place of this martyr.

Jose Rizal National Monument

Entitled "Motto Stella” (Guiding Star), the monument by Swiss sculptor Richard Kissling is composed of a standing bronze sculpture of Rizal in overcoat holding a book that represents his novels Noli Me Tángere and El Filibusterismo, with an obelisk commonly understood as Rizal’s masonic background with its three stars standing for Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao (the three main island groups), set on a granite stone base inside of which his remains are interred.

There are at least 118 Rizal monuments in the Philippines with an exact replica in Madrid, Spain. Other similar monuments can be found in Wilhelmsfeld (Germany), Jinjiang, Fujian (China), Cherry Hill Township (New Jersey), San Diego (California), and Seattle (Washington), Reforma Avenue in Mexico City (Mexico), La Molina in Lima (Peru), Litomerice (Czech Republic), and Singapore to name a few.

We were told the monument has a “photo bomber”, an ugly residential building that peeks out on the right side, spoiling a lot of the photos… So we’re glad we decided to take our selfie there at night! 😜

This report is getting long already, but there’s still so much more we have to show you, so much to discover in the Philippines… So stay tuned for further broadcasts!

PS – Our huge thank you to jugatmos for this fantastic report, and for taking the time to show the little guys around so many interesting places!

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59 comments so far

abbyaguas, Philippines
Oh yay! So happy to see that they finally visited Manila! Thanks jugatmos!
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martin23, Germany
Jomel is an engaged penpal and it’s wonderful to see and read how he portrays Manila through his eyes. Very inspiring. Definitely lets me think about visiting there some day somehow in a Post-COVID-era. Well done, Jomel!😊
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HookedonPostcards, Canada
*Love* that you are sharing the adventures of the Little Mail Carriers! It's lovely to read about other places and cultures, learning along with the carriers!
They are delivering more than letters; they are delivering connections to the world... :-)
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jugatmos, Philippines
It was an absolute pleasure having The Little Mail Carriers around! Finally, a feature long-awaited by the Postcrossing PH community. Can't wait to see the rest of the series from their visit to the Philippines!
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tomphila, United States of America
Manila certainly a place to visit as I have been there countless times and someday hope to return
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lexey97, Russia
It's been a pleassure for me to learn more about the very wonderful place like Manila. I wish I could turn out there with the Little Mail Carriers.
Jomel has made a really tremedous contribution to his homeland and to us to learn more about Manila, a good option to visit! Good job!)))
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annatheislandgirl, Canada
Thank you for sharing...have visited and seen these amazing places..thank you for sharing
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aerobear, United States of America
So happy to see the Little Mail Carriers and their adventures! And now I know so much more about Dr. Jose Rizal, who has a park named for him here in Seattle.
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Kewl, Philippines
Oh!!!!! Welcome to the Philippines. I wish we were able to meet them! The cover photo has buko pie (made with young coconut meat) in it. That is from my place - Los Baños, Laguna!!!! Happy to know they came to our corner of the world!
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Kewl, Philippines
Thank you, Jomel for the well written piece!
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BlueVWBeetle, United States of America
Thank you Jomel, I found it all very interesting especially the Baybayin.
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Luziaceleste, Brazil
Nice to learn more from Phiippines! It looks very interesting. Thanks.
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Flippie, Canada
I loooooooove those stories, Thank you for sharing.
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sealed4ever, United States of America
what a delightful post and beautiful photos! Thanks little mail carriers and Jomel
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supek, Czech Republic
I would love to see for myself.
So hopefully I'll see you in the Philippines someday.
Thank you Jome
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renegade_cavalcade, Canada
So nice to have the little mail carriers visit Manila, makes me a bit homesick!
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cabbie, Philippines
Thank you from the deepest part of our heart for including the Philippines as part of the Little Mail Carriers series. It is very heartwarming to see Manila and other places in photos and reminding us that our history is as beautiful. Thank you jome for the adventure feature.,
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ThePOSTCARDPerfect, United States of America
Thank you for taking time to visit Philippines. This males me.miss my.home country even more.We held several Postcrossing Meet ups in some of those places mentioned above
I can't wait to go home by the end of this year.
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la_luna_pusa, Philippines
I never thought the Little Mail Carriers would arrive in the Philippines. Maraming salamat po sa pagdalaw. (Thank you very much for visiting.) I hope they had fun touring around Manila. Mabuhay (Long live) Little Mail Carriers and Jomel!
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TankerYanker, Canada
Wow!! Amazing work . Hopefully one day I will be able travel to the Philippines. Thank you for bringing me closer to my reality and dreams ahead
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haeinj, Taiwan
I've been away from home for a few months now, and reading this post made me feel like I'm back in Manila even for just a short while. Thank you for this.
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wifetoalineman, United States of America
Awww! I have been waiting for this for forever. Thank you so very much for featuring my beloved native country the Philippines. It makes me missed, even more, the Philippines with these beautiful pictures.
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angeli91, United States of America
Maraming salamat, Jom (and Postcrossing team), for featuring the Philippines in this series! The Philippines is my homeland so this was a fantastic adventure to see and read. Can't wait to go home there again once we can travel more safely :)
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Luciano, Brazil
That Cool Jomel! I really enjoyed getting to know your region. Beautiful photos! I also hope to be able to meet there someday! Take care!!!
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EDC83, United Kingdom
Cushty, love it! :) Thank you for sharing this my good friend. :)
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yuriy_atos, Russia
It was very interesting to get to know your region. I learned a lot about Manila. Thanks a lot, Jomel.
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Luki83, Poland
It's very good to read! Intresting photos and in my opinion there are valuable infos for tourists.
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aggie628, Taiwan
Thanks to take me to the Philippines, hope I can travel those by myself!
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SLPascual, Philippines
This is so cool.....
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JFerrari, Brazil
An excellent postcrosser I had the pleasure to get to know. So proud of you, Jomel!
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ludenisu_78, Indonesia
😱😱👍😎
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0enesodabasi, Turkey
I learned very beautiful facts about Phillipines. Thank you!
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D2M2, United States of America
Thank you for showing us this beautiful historic city!
I am fascinated by the great garments made from pineapple!
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oels, Germany
Wow ! The "little mail carrier"wears the emblem of DEUTSCHE POST on his back.May he inspire many German tourists to go to Manila after
covid-19 ! A great and interesting country is waiting.Thank you,Jomel !
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JasonDavid, Canada
I enjoyed learning more about Manila - nice to see the interior of the UNESCO-listed cathedral. Thanks for the tour, Jom!
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sarinubia, Thailand
Wow, i think the museum and historical place is so cool!
Actually once time Pina temporary exhibition at Museum Siam, Bangkok, Thailand too
I’m see process before to textiles it look interesting!

Maybe after covid-19 gone will visit your country
Thailand and Philippines not far!
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ukcrystal, Germany
Hey Jom, thank you for that inspiring tour :) My first thought: "That postman is from Germany." My second thought: "For taking a similar tour here in Germany you would need at least half a dozen of permissions for taking photographs." – Hopefully, your tour was more relaxed ;) Take care, Mischa
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Misiasio21, Canada
Thank you for the great story with a lot of history and photos.
There are also monuments of Dr. José Rizal in Canada. I am aware of three of them - in Montréal, Quebec (1999), in Markham, Ontario (2019) and in Winnipeg, Manitoba (2020).
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orange_memo, United States of America
Such a beautiful post and views would love to visit the Philippines someday.
Thank you, Jome for this joyride of culture.
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manencov, Romania
Wonderful presentation for Manila.
Despite its poverty, it is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world and its metropolitan area is the economic, cultural, educational and industrial center of the country. Manila is often called the Pearl of the Orient.
There is a patch of land east of the walled city informally called Extramuros, the Classic Senate House sited on a spot where it can only be viewed obliquely and less grandly on a passing glance, and by now demoted as the National Art Gallery, The Art-Deco stylish Metropolitan Theater, and the City Hall with its subdued Mughal-Big Ben style clock tower are situated nearby.
There are so many to visit but we are waiting for the next material.

Here is a story of “Homes of the Senate of the Philippines”
https://www.officialgazette.gov.ph/featured/homes-senate/
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nm_rockhound, United States of America
Little Mail Carriers should be wearing a mask, right?
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Demmi, Romania
Wow, the new adventures of the Little Mail Carriers!
Thanks for sharing!
Stay safe and healthy and travel wisely!
Happy Postcross travel! ❤️
:) :D
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Gustavsb, Latvia
👍Nice.
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mmmontserrat, United States of America
Thank you so much! My family is from Manila. I’ve heard many beautiful stories about Luna, Rízal and these sights such as San Augustin, Fort Santiago, but I have never been to these places. Your photo and blog tour opened my eyes and helped me live my own family history!
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Fotfan, Czech Republic
Very interesting! One can learn a lot of useful information. Jomel is simply great!
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NIDUSKA, Finland
Thank You
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pappo, Japan
Thank you for letting me know a lot about Manila, Philippines! :)
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vytas, Lithuania
thank you to Jugatmos for this interesting report and excursion from Manila amazing places !
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juth, New Zealand
So love your story....my highlight was to see the weaving....so wish I could visit oneday....
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nikanf, Russia
Thanks Postcrossing, thanks Jomel! I have not been to Manila, but thanks to this report, I learned a lot of interesting things. Nikolay.
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salimpenfriendz, Algeria
Hello Jom. Thank you for the information about the tourism attractions in Manila
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rosenbusch, Germany
Great story with many informations. Thank you, Jom!!!
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SnappyJ, Ireland
I love this! Really great article! Thanks Jom!
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jabmnz, New Zealand
Thanks Jom!! Amazing, good job :)
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stouffer, United Kingdom
Hey Jom, very interesting and inspiring tour !! Can’t wait to see it for myself one day !
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mkolsv, Ukraine
Thank you, for this magnificent report from Manila!
I hope someday I can visit this wonderful place.
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silvy, Netherlands
Lovely to read about places in the world in this way.
Good idea!
Inspirational.
Thanx,and stay healthy and save ,everybody
Silvy
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Dascia, Switzerland
Very interesting article and great Pics! Thanks Jomel!
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sundancecz, Czech Republic
I would like to see it all with my own eyes! Thank you for Philip-show-nes! Greeting from Czech republic.
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