As the Philippines gears up for recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and gradually improves quarantine restrictions in some areas, many are already eager to tap into their strong desire to travel and bring back a sense of normalcy to their daily lives.
Private operator of LRT-1 Light Rail Manila Corporation (LRMC) is one with the country and the rest of the world in recognizing the role of tourism and economic activities in achieving inclusive growth.
To cap off the National Tourism Week celebrated every year, LRMC has released the ikotMNL train ride video featuring a virtual tour of points of interest near LRT-1 stations. The virtual tour begins at Roosevelt Station all the way to Baclaran Station. The video was produced in partnership with Cities: Skylines content creator Gilbert Roy Alva whose Gilbert Plays YouTube Channel has been active for the past five years.
The first stop of the virtual tour begins at the northernmost point at Roosevelt station, where shopping destinations SM North EDSA, Ayala Malls Trinoma, Munoz Market and S&R Congressional branch are easily accessible, as well as the Ninoy Aquino Wildlife Parks near the Quezon Memorial Circle. It is followed by the Balintawak station, where viewers are brought to the Ayala Malls Cloverleaf, Landers Superstore as well as the Balintawak Market.
The journey continues at the Yamaha Monumento station, with nearby Malabon Zoo, Andres Bonifacio National Monument, and the future SM Grand Central as locations of interest. Venturing deeper into the capital city of Manila, one can dine in D’ Original Palabokan sa Obrero for authentic palabok, accessible from R. Papa station. Those looking for good lechon can get off at Abad Santos station to try Manila’s original lechon places—you can also stop by the Manila Chinese Cemetery or visit the row of cheap furniture stores located on Rizal Avenue Extension from here as well.
Those looking to take the Philippine National Railways (PNR) train can alight at Blumentritt station for the interchange. Further up the line is Tayuman station, where the Dangwa and Dapitan markets can be visited for great finds and fresh flowers. Travelers looking to visit the University of Santo Tomas, Manila’s oldest university, or find medical supplies at a bargain can go down at Bambang station. Shoppers wanting to get a taste of the authentic shopping experience in Manila’s famous Divisoria Mall can stop at Doroteo Jose station, where the University Belt and the interchange to the LRT-2 line are also found.
Hungry for some authentic Chinese food? Alighting from the Carriedo station will bring you to Manila’s Chinatown in Binondo. Feast on noodles and more at restaurants like the original R. Ma Mon Luk, Sincerity Restaurant, David’s Tea House, and the Eng Bee Tin Flagship Store. The historic Binondo Church can also be found and the New Chinatown Arch. Near Carriedo Station, you can also shop for jewelry near Chinatown Gold Center or for handicraft at Quiapo 21 Awesome Budget Home Finds. The legacy site of SM (the first SM Store) is near the station too for items on clearance sale.
Looking to soak up the rich history of the city of Manila? What better place to go to than the walled city of Intramuros. For other must-see local tourist stops, alight at the Central Station to lead you to the Manila City Hall, Liwasang Bonifacio, and the newly-refurbished Metropolitan Theater. Other nearby landmarks to visit include the Rizal Park and the National Museum Complex. This is easily accessible from the UN Avenue Station. From there, city landmarks like the University of the Philippines Manila, the Philippine General Hospital, the Manila Zoo, Plaza Rajah Sulayman and Remedios Circle in bustling Malate can be reached from the next stop, Pedro Gil station.
More historic sites are up the street, as getting down on Vito Cruz station lets you go to De La Salle University and the College of Saint Benilde, Rizal Memorial Stadium, Coconut Palace, and Cultural Center of the Philippines. The next stop, Gil Puyat station, is near the Upside Down Museum, the Buendia Food Court (with a lot of great food options), the World Trade Center, and the bus terminals for provincial trips.
Shoppers will want to get down at Libertad station, which traverses the city of Pasay, as the famed Cartimar Shopping Center is located within walking distance from the station. The Dampa sa Pasay, Cuneta Astrodome, and the Pasay City Hall are also nearby. One more stop after this, EDSA station, places you near the SM Mall of Asia complex, with Conrad Manila, Dessert Museum, future IKEA store, and the Philippine Senate which are easily accessible. The MRT-3 interchange is also located at the EDSA station.
Last but not the least, the southernmost stop is Baclaran station, where the Baclaran Shopping Center, Baclaran Church, and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport are located, capping off the eventful trip through the metropolis. The Baclaran Station will soon connect to the new stations being added in the Cavite Extension Project once it is completed.
“Our ikotMNL tourism campaign aligns with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth, showing the importance of building back better especially after this pandemic. Through this video, we wanted to promote the value of LRT-1’s network, how it is connecting people to life-relevant destinations and delivering them to these places in comfort. These important destinations include food places, shopping areas, leisure sites, schools, work places among others. We wanted to reveal local spots of interest and encourage people to discover more of their neighborhoods via public or active transport, while traveling today still remains largely limited,” LRMC Head of Corporate Communications and Customer Relations Jacqueline Gorospe said.
“We have our mobile app, also called ikotMNL, to equip our commuters with better information about the train rides, destinations, and LRT-1 operations. It is available for download for free on Google Play and App Store to help them on their next LRT-1 trip,” Gorospe added.
With the strict implementation of its health and safety protocols, LRMC assures that LRT-1 passengers can have peace of mind while riding the train as they go out for essential needs or even leisure trips around the metro once again.
For more updates and info on the LRT-1, follow LRMC on Facebook at facebook.com/officialLRT1, Twitter at @officialLRT1, or download the ikotMNL mobile app for free on Google Play and App Store.