Paco, Manila is not known as a walking-friendly city. But between the city’s history and culture, the smorgasbord of food choices, and dozens of hidden gems, the area is just waiting to be explored. Luckily, there are several unique places to check out–and all within a 10-minute walking radius from Avida Towers Intima (that is, if you can tear yourself away from the condo’s pool, jogging path, lounge, viewing deck, and clubhouse)!
4 minutes away
Cross the street to the Court Zone Badminton Center at 1142 Quirino Avenue Extension for a friendly game. The facility boasts 10 wooden sprung courts (P190/hour) and two matted courts (P250/hour). Built specially for badminton, the center follows IBF standards, has a ceiling height of 14 meters at the apex, and has great court lighting. Guests are charged P50 each, so consider getting a membership! Court Zone also has a snack bar, clean restrooms, and helpful staff.
Also a stone’s throw away from Avida Towers Intima is Lahore Fast Food Paco at 1468 San Gregorio St. corner Peñafrancia St. The ambience here may be pretty no-nonsense–like many hole-in-the-wall places you’ll encounter in the area–but you can expect legit Indian food bursting with flavors and spices. The biriyani comes highly recommended!
5 minutes away
There’s plenty of time for some food for the soul when Childhope Philippines is located just 5 minutes away at 1210 Peñafrancia Extension. The non-government organization continues the advocacy of the now defunct Childhope International, catering to street children at risk. Get involved by volunteering to help in one of their many noteworthy projects.
6 minutes away
Just six minutes away from home base is the Jose P. Laurel Ancestral House at 1515 Peñafrancia St. corner Sepulcro St. Declared a historic building by the National Historical Commission, the bahay na bato brings you back in time to Paco’s grand past. Laurel, the third president of the Philippines, lived in his Paco home with his wife and children for 29 years.
Equally historical is the Philippine Columbian Association located in Plaza Dilao. Established in 1907, the institution is over 100 years old! A membership club, the association offers facilities for banquet services and function rooms that can accommodate up to 500 people for weddings, birthdays, concerts, or seminars. There is also a tennis court, swimming pool, badminton court, bowling lane, and basketball court.
7 minutes away
A unique culinary experience that’s just seven minutes away from Avida Towers Intima is Traveling Spoon, located along Interior 11. Sort of like Air BnB for food, Traveling Spoon is an international service matching guests with home cooks who host lunch or dinner parties at their own homes. Some will even give you hands-on cooking lessons! A delicious home-cooked meal with fun company is just seven minutes away.
Aside from the numerous Catholic churches in the area, Sikh and Hindu temples nearby highlight the diversity of the Paco neighborhood. Khalsa Diwan Sikh Temple at 1350 UN Avenue is open to all, just be sure to dress modestly and bring a scarf to cover your head. If you come at the right time, you’ll be welcomed to the dining area for lagar, a free vegetarian meal of authentic Indian dishes that everyone can partake in.
8 minutes away
Just across from the Sikh temple is Assad Mini Mart at 1268 UN Avenue. The mini mart, which has three branches in the metro, started with their Paco store, catering to Pakistani and Indian expats. The business has grown into a one-stop shop for all you need to whip up your own Indian, Pakistani, and Middle Eastern dishes. Stock up on your herbs and spices, ingredients, and even snacks and ready-to-eat products.
9 minutes away
L’eau Vive in Asia is a hidden gem tucked away at 1499 Paz M. Guanzon Avenue. Run by Carmelite nuns, the restaurant specializes in French cuisine. With choices including nicoise salad, mousse de foie de volaille, gratin aux fruits de mer (seafood gratin), magret de canard au poivre et au porto (duck with pepper and port wine), and much more, you are definitely in for a truly blessed dining experience! Be sure to save space for the heavenly lingot au chocolat for dessert.
10 minutes away (by car)
This last destination will take you a bit farther away from your comfort zone, but you can’t talk about Paco without mentioning Paco Park. It’s a 16-minute walk from Avida Towers Intima, but hop in a cab and it’ll take you about 10 minutes max, depending on traffic. Once there, aside from the historical park, there are several dining options and cultural destinations nearby. Visit the museum on San Marcelino street (4 minutes away), the Museum of a History of Ideas (7 minutes away), and the National Museum complex (11 minutes away).
Are you ready to get intimate with your neighborhood? A whole world of culinary delights, cultural wonders, and more awaits when you explore Paco, Manila on foot.
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