If you’re looking for a nostalgically noisy, fast-paced, cheat-filled city in the Philippines, Caloocan is the place for you. Calocan is located in the northern part of Metro Manila Province, bordering the capital of Manila on the island of Luzon. With over 1.5 million inhabitants, Caloocan is the definition of a city.
To get around, you can take the bus, motorbike taxi, or jeepney on the highways and highways, but you’re likely to get stuck in traffic. Instead, opt for a rail system that transports locals around the city.
Between towering buildings, traffic jams, and crowded neighborhoods, there are plenty of cultural gems to discover, but you’ll need to know ahead of time where to start looking in this concrete jungle.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Carocan:
1. Bonifacio Circle Monument
Where it all started, the 1933 Philippine Revolution began here in Calucan. The sculpture of the Bonifacio Circle Monumento is the work of national artist Guillermo Tolentino, who is respected and revered in the Philippines not only as an artist but also as a progressive voice.
The sculpture features several Filipino soldiers fiercely pointing swords at their opponents and waving a flag in the air. It is a reminder that the Filipino people did not back down when their country needed it. It’s an exciting and thought-provoking piece of work that the city is proud of.
2. Cuba Tesa City Resort
Coming to Caloocan with a group? Consider staying at a fancy resort.
Beyond the standard air-conditioned rooms and pavilion spaces, there are plenty of recreational opportunities at Gubat sa Ciudad Resort.
This resort offers 7 swimming pools of different depths, suitable for all swimming levels. These pools have waterslides, fountains, and are big enough that you won’t be swimming next to some random stranger. For the kids, there are tree houses and play areas for children. There is also a basketball and volleyball court for family fun games.
3. La Mesa Watershed
Caloocan’s urban boundary borders the La Mesa Watershed – 2,659 hectares of protected wetlands and Manila’s main water source.
Visitors can visit the park trails, where you’ll see fishermen polling in the water in hopes of getting dinner. There are 50 miles of park trails in the watershed waiting to be explored; some of them are easy to tackle wearing a pair of flip-flops.
Keep an eye out for beautiful wildlife in the 4,400-acre forest. The La Mesa Divide is a bird watcher’s paradise, with an abundance of colorful birds, large birds, and even some endangered species.
No trip to Caloocan is complete without a visit to The Watershed!
4. St. Roque Cathedral
Visit the first Catholic church in the city of Calocan. The Basilica of San Roque was blessed by Pope John Paul II, which is a huge sum of money in the Philippines! He apparently agreed that St. Luke’s was up to the level and dignity of a cathedral church. As you can imagine, this makes the Basilica of San Roque a pride and joy for the people of Calorcan.
Sunday Mass here is huge, with locals huddled on pews for hours of worship. You don’t have to be Catholic to witness this major practice in Filipino culture firsthand. The cathedral itself is a beautiful sight, with a grand ceiling and an intricate statue of Jesus on the cross. A visit here will be an unforgettable experience.
5. University of St. Thomas Museum
To promote Philippine culture and heritage, the University of Santo Thomas Museum is open to the public. The works in this museum are not only used to educate the public, but also serve as learning tools for the university’s current students.
The main exhibit, which the museum calls the “core”, is the collection of gabinete de fisica. In layman’s terms, this is a natural specimen used by pharmacy and medical students, including plants, animals, minerals, and vegetables.
There are various exhibits that are always on display and always changing. After visiting the museum, stroll around the exquisite campus.
6. La Loma Cemetery
The land was used as a cemetery in 1884 and is now 130 acres of ancient tombstones. La Loma Cemetery has been a holy site for Catholic cemeteries since the Spanish occupation.
While much of the city was destroyed or damaged in the 1945 Battle of Manila, La Loma Cemetery was one of the few to escape the fighting. This sets La Loma Cemetery apart from much of the city, as it preserves some of the oldest heritage and artifacts for Calorcan’s Aboriginal people.
Wander around the cemetery and respectfully read headstones belonging to those born in the early 1800s. It’s both terrifying and fascinating.
7. Chinese Cemetery
Since La Loma Cemetery is a sanctuary declared by the Spaniards and suitable only for proper Catholic burials, the Chinese are not allowed to rest there. Another option is a separate piece of land.
The Chinese Cemetery is just like what you see in mainland China, with a red brick arch to greet you and a spectacular Buddhist temple called Chong Hock Tong Temple. You are welcome to pay homage to the Buddha inside the temple or marvel at its beauty.
There are monuments and monuments on site to honor the Chinese martyrs who did not back down during World War II, and the Ruby Tower Memorial to honor the Chinese Filipinos who lost their lives in the 1968 earthquake.
9. SM Center Sangandaan
Every big city needs a shopping mall. In this case, the big city has a super large three-story mall to match. SM Centre Sangandaan has everything you’d find in a western mall, and a few more.
For entertainment, there are IMAX theaters, electric mini cars for children, and cartoon meet-and-greets on select days.
You’ll find a variety of clothing stores, grocery stores, and even American-branded Ace Hardware stores. They have all the food options you could want like Dairy Queen, coffee shop, panini joints and more.
Parking is nice, but you can also easily get there by public transport.
11. Stowe. Niño De Pajotan Music Festival
This religious holiday is an opportunity for the people of the Philippines to come together to celebrate the wonderful grace bestowed upon them by their Savior, Jesus Christ. How is this festival different from the traditional Sunday Mass assembly?
Well, food and fireworks of course!
Attendees make large batches of traditional Filipino dishes to share with the community. In the Philippines, eating always brings people together! As night fell, just above the church pavilion, a spectacular fireworks display began.
You can take part in the festival the last weekend of January.
12. Luz Viminda Resort
This fun and quirky getaway might sometimes remind you of a circus, with its colorful decorations, castle towers lit up at night, and balloon paintings everywhere. If you’re looking for a little change this holiday season, this is the place to stay.
No doubt you will spend most of your time in the pool. There are colorful mushroom-shaped fountains in the pool to play in, rock waterfalls to climb, and a gazebo perfect for an afternoon picnic! There are even waterslides long enough to entice adults to act like little ones.
13. Green Paddle
Why not improve your table tennis skills or take your skills to the next level? Green Paddle is a top-notch table tennis training facility filled with professionals and experts who take this seriously.
You can have a one-on-one training session with a table tennis coach or come here with your friends. Experience what it’s like to play with some of the best table tennis equipment around.
Green Paddle is also the shop to visit if you need Caloocan table tennis supplies. Their onsite store is well stocked.
14. Taoist Temple
Located near the Fifth Avenue Skytrain Station, you’ll find a Taoist temple that is over 100 years old. However, this is no ordinary Taoism. The architects of this temple went all out to create a 3-story masterpiece.
For nearly a century, the temple has been a place of worship for Chinese and Chinese-Filipino residents of Kalukan.
You can certainly see how the temple has aged, the paint has started to peel and the cement walls can be cleaned with power. However, this slight dilapidation contributed to the conspiracy of such an ancient building.
15. Mr. Roast Meat
Are you full of Filipino food? Taste more Middle Eastern-inspired food at Mister Kebab.
Come in for dinner and you will be pleasantly surprised to see such a Middle Eastern replica reflected in the decor of this restaurant. Bright turmeric and cumin browns are everywhere, paired with a clean white wood table.
Shwarma, jasmine rice, and of course the kebabs – all were just right and fit the bill perfectly.
If you can’t get to their restaurant location, Mr. Kebab is also on FoodPanda.
Where to Stay: The Best Hotels in Caloocan, Philippines
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