If you are looking for a glimpse of the new urban Manila, then Caloocan is definitely a destination place for a day or two. It is colloquially spelled as Kalookan, meaning “innermost area.”
Historically, Caloocan was the center of activities for the revolutionary group, Katipunan during the Spanish occupation in the Philippines. Hence, today stands a monument of their leader, Andres Bonifacio located on a roundabout in the North part of EDSA Highway. Aside from its connection to the Katipunan, the city is also known these days for having a high volume of motorcycle dealers and motorcycle spare parts dealers.
The airport destination is the NAIA or Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. From there, there are various modes of transportation that you can take.
If you are coming from a different island in the Philippines such as Visayas or Mindanao, you will be getting off at the Manila Port. From there, you can take a jeepney or taxi to LRT 1, then get off at 5th Avenue station. You can also opt to take a taxi straight to Caloocan City
From any northbound terminal along EDSA, you can ride a bus to Baclaran-Malanday via EDSA, McArthur. You will get off at Araneta Square Mall, which is located along Samson Road in Caloocan City.
If you are taking the train, take the MRT 3 along EDSA and ride any northbound train going the North Avenue Station. From there, take a bus going to Baclaran-Malanday as well and you will get off the same mall. It is also worth noting that the extension to the MRT 3 has started operations recently and now has a station in Caloocan City.
Getting around Caloocan City, you can take a jeepney or a tricycle. The cheapest is a jeepney where you share the space with 13 other people – the fare depends on the destination. The tricycle is the motorcycle with the side car. This is more private but a little bit more expensive.
If you want a blast from the past, you can visit the bronze monument or more commonly known as Monumento located at a rotunda in the Northern part of EDSA. This is a very memorable statue in Philippine history because this marks hero Andres Bonifacio’s famous “cry” (sigaw) and the convening of 1,000 “Katipuneros” who tore up their cedulas to mark the first Philippine revolution.
While sightseeing, might as well drop by the corner of M. Hizon and C. Apostol streets where the Horace Higgins Hall – Philippine National Railways is located. The structure used to be a warehouse and the place of the first train trip in November 1892. While at the place, take notice of the architectural detailing and how it was preserved over the years.
One more venue to visit is the Thai To Taoist Temple Pagoda, which is over a hundred years old. This is notable in the area because this marks the thriving Chinese community in Caloocan as they were one of the first settlers in the city.
If you own a motorcycle and you are looking for parts – or you are simply in the market for a new set of bi-wheels, then it would be worth going to the 10th Avenue area and P. Zamora and A. Mabini streets where there are clusters of motorcycle units and spare parts vendors. Anything you need for your motorcycle are guaranteed to be found here, and at very affordable prices!
There is also the Gubat sa Ciudad (or Forest in the City) Resort located in Bagumbong. It was very popular in the 90’s but has still tried to keep up with the times. It is a forest-like resort where it used to be famous for having the longest pool slide and had trees all over the place. If you are looking for more of the 90’s feel and you are in Caloocan, this is the place for you.
There are also festivals in the city, the most famous among those is the Pajotan Festival held every last Sunday of January on Maypajo street. This is the festival that pays homage to the small version of the mango called pajotan. If you happen to choose the dates of your travel, try to pick these days – otherwise, you can still enjoy other festivities happening throughout the year. If you are more on the urban thrill, there are various malls to choose from: The most common is the Victory Central Mall in Gracepark, Caloocan; there is also the Ever Gotesco Mall, Araneta Square and of course, there will always be the popular SM Sangandaan located along Marcelo Del Pilar street.
The must go-to restaurant when in Caloocan City is the Boy Ching Woo Restaurant located along General Luna street. The restaurant was founded in 1939 and stands to this day satisfying the appetites of residents and tourists alike. While in the area, you can also go to A. Bonifacio Avenue, McArthur Highway and Rizal Avenue extension to check out more restaurants and have your very own Caloocan dining experience.
For a sweet ending, the rice cake is the specialty in the area. Visit Dolor’s Kakanin along McArthur Highway or Sally’s Homemade Kakanin and choose from a wide assortment of rice-based desserts.
Night-goers also have their fair share of destinations in Caloocan City. There is of course the famous Padi’s Point located along Rizal Avenue extension. For the more hip and younger crowd, there is the Hangout Food Park along Camarin Road. The set-up is more of the open air type with vendors selling any and every type of food you could think of. From pork barbecues, to isaw, to affordable steaks and burgers to pasta – all sold at very affordable prices. The park offers a more communal feel and gives an urban, modern and clean style of fun at night.
Ideal for travellers, there are various affordable options of Caloocan Hotels. There are various Sogo Hotels along LRT Monumento Station and EDSA Caloocan. There are also other choices such as Eurotel and Kabayan Hotel all within the price range.
For the more relaxed atmosphere, you can also check into the numerous private resorts that have pools and offer recreational activities. The most recommended of which are Villa Hizon Private Resort in Victory Heights Subdivision, Villa Rico Events and Garden Resort in Vista Verde North and Villa Celedonia Recreational Resort in Bagumbong.