What to see in Georgetown, Penang

The historic city of Georgetown is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Penang, Malaysia. The following places are the different popular and famous destination around Georgetown.  I walked all over the streets and also found tourist doing the same.

What to see in Georgetown

Goddess of Mercy Temple

Located in Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling and also called Kuan Yin Temple.  The popular temple is dedicated to Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy. The first foundation was laid in 1728 by Chinese settlers and completed in 1800. This is the oldest Chinese temple in Penang.

City Hall

Located in Lebuh Light.   Built in 1903, this is the headquarters of Penang Island Municipal Council.  The first World War monument for fallen soldiers is located here.

Town Hall

Located in Lebuh Light in between City Hall and Penang Art Gallery

Penang Art Gallery

Located in Lebuh Light and was officially launched in 1964. The gallery showcase outstanding works by international artists including from Japan and Thailand.

Esplanade

A seafront promenade bordering an open field where festivals and events are often held.  Located along the stretch are a War Memorial to fallen soldiers, a hawker food court and the ancient Fort Cornwallis.

Fort Cornwallis

Built when Captain Francis Light first landed in Penang, this ancient sentinel of George’s Town guarded over the island’s cape.

Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower

The 60 feet clock tower, commissioned by the wealthy Cheah Chen Eok was built in 1897 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.  Each foot represents a year in the Queen’s reign.

St. George’s Church

Located in Lebuh Farquhar.  Built between 1817 and 1818, it is said to be the oldest Anglican church in Southeast Asia.

Penang State Museum

Located in Lebuh Farquhar.  Almost destroyed in World War II bombing, this building houses a plethora of Penang historical artifacts.

Cathedral of the Assumption

Located in Lebuh Farquhar. The history of the church is as old as Penang itself.  It was set up not long after the landing of Francis Light and the arrival of Eurasians from Kedah on the eve of the Feast of Assumption.  In 1995, it was awarded the status of Cathedral.

State Assembly Buildings

Located in Lebuh Farquhar and Lebuh Light. These exquisite 19th century buildings were formerly the Police Court and are now the venue for State Assemblies.

Little India

This little quarter of South Indian culture is the place where early Indian immigrants first settled down in Penang.  It is the island’s epicenter of Indian music, savory cuisine, exotic spices and authentic goods.

Mahamairamman Temple

Located in Lebuh Queen.  Built in 1883, it is the oldest Hindu temple and was dedicated to Muthu Mariamman. A distinctive feature of the temple is its gopuram with 38 exquisitely carved Hindu deities.

Teochew Temple

Located in Lebuh Chulia. A prime example of Teochew architecture, the temple was built in 1855 and move to its present site in 1870.  In 2006, the temple received the Award of the Merit of UNESCO Asia-Pacific for Culture Heritage Conservation.  The temple is also known as the Han Jiang Teochew Ancestral Temple.  It is the first Malaysian Chinese temple to use fiber optic and LED lighting for its decorative details.

Kapitan Keling Mosque

Located in Lebuh Chulia.  Founded in 1801 by Kapitan Keling Kadir Mydin Merican, is the largest mosque in George Town.  Designed in Moghul architecture, it features beautiful minarets and domes.

Seh Tek Tong Cheah Kongsi

This clan temple features classic Chinese architecture and the surprising addition of British lion heads on the temple.  The lions symbolise the Straits Chinese loyalty to the British colonial powers. The Cheah Clan is one of the oldest Hokien clans in Penang,

Khoo Kongsi

Located in Lebuh Armenian.  Completed in 1906, the temple belongs to the Khoo Kongsi clan.  This temple features fine Chinese architecture and craftsmanship.

Masjid Malayu Lebuh Acheh

Located in Lebuh Acheh.  The mosque was founded by Tengku Syed Hussiah bin Abdul Rahman Hussain in 1808 for the early Hadrami Arab settlers.

For other posts, please check: Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia Penang Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour

 

Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

It was my first time to travel to Malaysia and I was doing solo traveling. I’d been hearing that Penang’s foods were very delicious. Penang was tagged as the Food Capital of Malaysia and I was intrigued by it and decided to book a flight to Penang.

Arrival at Penang and Sogor Girls

I had a two-way flight to Kuala Lumpur and transferred to Penang flight. My two flights were both delayed. I arrived at Penang International Airport at about 10 in the evening. While waiting for the Penang flight, I opted to arrange an airport transfer going to Sogor Girls Dormitory in Georgetown since it was already late at night.
I met Christine Koo and she was a tourist guide. I asked her first that I’d look for a money changer first since I don’t have Malaysian Ringgit yet. She offered her services to me for the tour in Penang. It was an hour drive from the airport to where I was staying. Christine also toured me along Georgetown at night before driving me to the dormitory. I was able to see the Queen Victoria Memorial Tower Clock and the Blue House. I told her I’d let her know if I would avail of her services.
Upon reaching the dormitory, the restaurant to where I should check-in was already in their closing time. After checking in, Albertine, one of the staff of Sogor toured me to the dormitory. There were only four of us, including Albertine who was staying in the 20-capsule type dormitory. There was a laundry area with the shower and bathroom. A common room is overlooking the street with books and magazines and on the mezzanine is an entertainment room with more books and a dining table.

One Day Tour of Georgetown, Penang in Malaysia

Georgetown City

The following day, I checked my itinerary first and decided not to avail the tour. I left the dormitory at around 9 AM. I was walking and trying to find a nearby bus stop when I saw the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows along Jalan Macalister. I went there to pray for my journey alone. I turned right from going to Jalan Dato’ Keramat and found McDonald’s near Penang Square.

The McDonald establishment was inside the Birch House. I had breakfast first and then I went inside Penang Times Square. I went back to McDonald’s and asked two men talking where was the nearest bus stop going to Fort Cornwallis. The man said he could take me there since he was meeting a client. His name is Lim and he was also tourist guide.
I got a free ride going to the famous Georgetown, a UNESCO Heritage site and it was past 10 in the morning. He told me that he would drive me nearby and he also offered his services to me if I need the tour guide the following day. He dropped me off in Goddess of Mercy Temple.

He also pointed out where I should go because the historical sites were also walking distance and near each other. I went inside the temple which was also called Kuan Yin Temple. From the temple, I walked to the left side of Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling. I turned right to Lebuh Light and found the City Hall, Town Hall and Penang Art Gallery.

I walked straight and saw Esplanade and at the stretch was the Fort Cornwallis. I went inside the Fort Cornwallis. I toured the fort for about an hour and also stayed there for a while since it was already noon time. There are hawkers stall near Fort Cornwallis. From the Fort Cornwallis, you could also see the Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower, which I was able to see from last night.


I walked from the tower and the Esplanade food court going back to Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling to check the St. George’s Church. It was closed for renovation at that time. Next to the church is the Penang State Museum. I went inside the Penang Museum and discovered the history of Georgetown. Besides the museum is Cathedral of the Assumption. Across the street is the State Assembly Buildings.


After which I followed the sign going to Little India. In Little India, I saw the Mahamairamman Temple which was also under renovation. Then I went to Teochew Temple. I went to the next street and saw Kapitan Keling Mosque. Still walking along the streets I also found Seh Tek Tong Cheah Kongsi, Khoo Kongsi and the Masjid Malayu Lebuh Acheh.

Penang Art

Upon reaching Lebuh Acheh Street I decided to take a rest from walking. I saw the “Boy on Chair” Street art in the wall of the restaurant. I went inside the Busy Bodhi Café and ordered a Mango juice. After 30 minutes I decided to check the street art and the marking Georgetown near the area.


But since I was already exhausted because of walking, I only saw the Lion Dance, Cultural Girls, Magic, and Kids on Bicycle along Lebuh Armenian. For the Marking, I saw Cannon Hole, Too Narrow. There were souvenir and restaurants in Lebuh Armenian, including the art galleries. I then walked back to Lebuh Light to ride the free Penang bus going to Komtar Mall.


From Komtar mall, I alighted at the Penang Town Square bus stop. From the bus stop, there was the Nagarathar Siven Temple and Huan Yan Temple before Baru road. At the end of the street was street food and I bought the chicken rice. I was really exhausted with all the walking for almost 7 hours, and it was really hot in Penang.
There were many other tourist spots I wasn’t able to see and there were other street arts and markings that I wasn’t able to check out. One day is not enough to explore Georgetown. The next time I come back to Penang, I would book a hotel along the streets of the UNESCO heritage site. I would still recommend walking along Georgetown.

You can also tour Penang via the Penang Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour

Oslob Historical Sites

Aside from Oslob: Whale Shark Watching and Sumilon Island and Oslob Tumalog Falls and Samboan Aguinid Falls, here are the other places that you can explore in Oslob especially for those who love historical sites.

 

Baluarte

baluarte

It was one of the seven watchtowers built along the coastline of Oslob and was part of the defense system to protect the town. The Baluarte or Lantawan or Watchtower was built in 1788. One of the ruins is near the cuartel.

Cuartel

cuartel

At the intersection of Calle Aeternidad and Calle Aragones is an unfinished building made of coral blocks is known as Cuartel. It was a barracks for Spanish soldiers built in 1860 and remained unfinished until the end of the Spanish era.

Immaculate Conception Church

Immaculate Concepcion

It was built in 1848 with the Immaculate Conception as the patroness. The current church was made of cut coral stone and the adjacent tower was added 10 years. It is also connected to a parish house.

Mortuary Chapel

old mortuary chapel

Across the church is the old mortuary chapel.

Statue of Fr. Julian Bermejo

He was responsible in the effective coastal defense by building baluartes made of coral stone and limestone. There are forty baluartes that was made from the shoreline of Carcar to Santander, in which twelve was built in Oslob. Fr. Bermejo was also known as “El Parroco Capitan.”

You can also enjoy the view of the shoreline from here and the road. For other posts about Cebu, please check  Other Places in Cebu City Tour Historical Tour in Cebu City Churches in Cebu City Malapascua Island Diving Sites Malapascua Island Camotes Islands Bantayan Island in 2009 Revisiting Bantayan Island Why Cebu?

Historical Tour in Cebu City

There are different tour operators in Cebu City offering historical tours. Here’s one of my favorite itinerary. If you want to Do-It-Yourself Tour, you can start by going to the Colon Area.

Historical Tour

Colon Street

One of the oldest hubs in Cebu City and it is the oldest street. The street consists of main heritage sites.

Cathedral Museum and Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral

You can go to the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral and Cathedral Museum of Cebu where you can see regional Church architecture and artifacts. It is located F. Urdaneta Street. Near the Cathedral is the Sto Nino Basilica.

Basilica Minore del Sto Nino

This is the oldest church and one of the historical sites. You can walk from P. Burgos Street to reach the church.

Magellan’s Cross

Across the Sto Nino Basilica is the famous Magellan’s Cross. It is a Christian cross planted in order of Ferdinand Magellan upon arriving in Cebu in 1521. The cross is housed in a chapel along Magallanes Street in the middle of Plaza Sugbo. Plaza Sugbo also has a different monument for Sergio Osmena and Vicente de Rama.
In front of the city center are the Cebu City Hall and the monument of Jose Rizal along the street of P. Burgos.

Plaza Independencia

Plaza Independencia Statue is a symbol of independence and freedom from all the conquerors that tried to overtake the island of Cebu. The plaza used to be called Plaza de Armas in 1600s.

The Fort San Pedro

It is a military defense structure made of woods which was built by the Spaniards with the command of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi upon his arrival in Cebu.
The Fort was replaced by stone in the 17th century. The oldest triangular bastion fort in front of Plaza Independencia. There are museums inside the fort which depicts the history of Cebu and the Philippines. There are several canyons along with the fort.

Heritage Monument of Cebu

The Heritage Monument of Cebu is the illustration of sculptures which symbolizes significant events in the history of Cebu. It is located at Mabini Street and Sikatuna Street.

Museums and Ancestral House

Near the Heritage Monuments are other historical sites. Along Zulueta Street across Mabini Street are two museums, the Museo Parian sa Sugbo and the Jesuit House Museum.
Along Mabini Street is the Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House. One block away from the ancestral house is the newly renovated Casa Gorordo Museum. Another museum which is nearby is the Museo Sugbo or the Cebu Provincial Museum.

Churches in Cebu City

There are so many Catholic churches in Cebu City alone. There are actually nineteen (19) to be exact. For now, here are the different churches that I was able to visit in Cebu City.

The Basilica Minore del Santo Nino Cebu

Santo Nino Basilica or Minor Basilica of the Holy Child of Cebu is the most famous amongst the churches in Cebu City. It was founded in 1565 by the two friars, Andres de Urdaneta and Diego de Herrera. The Santo Nino Basilica is the oldest Roman Catholic church and is the symbol of the birth of Christianity in the Philippines. The famous icon, a statuette of the child Jesus, is where the Basilica was built on the spot where it was found.


There is a convent, a museum and a library inside the church. There are the pilgrim site and the candles offering. The museum is located at the basement of the Pilgrim Center and the library was opened for public in 2000. The Basilica’s main entrance is located at Osmena Street in Cebu City.
The annual Sinulog festival is celebrated in January for the feast of the Sto Nino.

Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral

Another church which is two blocks north of basilica is the Metropolitan Cathedral and Parish of Saint Vitalis and of the Immaculate Concepcion, the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cebu. On August 14, 1595, the province of Cebu was established as a diocese. It is also one of the first churches in the Philippines that was built for St. Vitalis and by the two friars that built the Basilica. A mausoleum was built for the final resting place of the remains of the bishops and clergy.

Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe de Cebu

Our Lady of Guadalupe is the official patroness of Cebu by virtue of a pontifical declaration decree dated May 9, 2006, issued by the Vatican’s Congregation of Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments. The parish church is located at barangay Guadalupe. It was established on May 1, 1933, and was declared as the Archdiocesan Shrine.

The Redemptorist Church

It is known as the Congregation of Our Mother of Perpetual Help Church. The old Chapel and Monastery was blessed and occupied on the 2nd of August 1929. It was built under the direction of Fr. William Byrne, CSsR. The Church was built with the help of the donations of parishioners and was open for mass in the Christmas of 1949. It is located at Queen’s Road, Cebu City.
The Redemptorist Church is the closest to my heart as this was my first church to visit in Cebu. I always booked my hotel near this area and attended mass every time I visit Cebu. There are 15 more to visit. I’ll tick it off the list next time.

Historical Sites in Iloilo

The Spanish conquest has been evident in the Western Visayas.  The Spanish influence in Iloilo is depicted by centuries-old churches.  Here are some of the historical and religious sites in the towns of Iloilo City, Guimbal, Tigbauan and Miag-ao in Iloilo.

Miag-ao Church or Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Parish Church

The baroque architecture was built from 1787 to 1797 and became a fortress during the Moro pirates attacked.  The church was preserved as it was named  UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tigbauan Church or Saint John of Sahagun Church

A unique church because of its Latin American churrigueresque architecture that had been built in the 16th century by Augustinian friars.  Inside the church is a grotto containing the chapel of Sto. Nino.

Guimbal Church or St. Nicholas de Tolentino Parish

The Spanish-colonial style church was built using corals and adobe.  It was also known as the iconic Iloilo’s Yellow Stone Landmark because of the yellow colored limestone blocks and coral powder used. The four-story-high belfry serves as a watchtower against Moro pirates during the Spanish era.

Santo Nino de Arevalo Parish Church

The church possesses the third oldest Sto. Nino figurines in the Philippines brought by the Augustinian friars during 1581. The church stood in one of the places that were first to be named in Spanish as La Villa Rica de Arevalo and is now known by the locals as Villa de Arevalo.

Molo Church or St. Anne’s Parish

A Gothic-Renaissance inspired church exudes beauty which was built by Dominicans in 1831.  A feminist church due to the presence of sixteen statues along the aisles is feminine saints.  The massive two belfries consist of 30 different sizes of bells.

Molo Mansion

Across the famous Molo Church is a mansion of the Yusay-Consing clan or widely known as Molo Mansion.  It was turned into a heritage museum.

Jaro Cathedral or National Shrine of Our Lady of Candles

The cathedral is declared the National Shrine of Our Lady of Candles and also the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Jaro.   Housed inside the church is the stone image of the miraculous Our Lady of Candles.

Jaro Belfry

Separated from the church is the belfry across the national highway and situated in the Jaro Plaza.