Caloocan is one of the busiest cities in the Philippines and currently the third most populous. The city is lively night and day with its bustling commercial areas, but Caloocan has places of interest that make it one of the most historic places you can visit in Metro Manila.
The Bonifacio Monument serves as the gateway of Caloocan from Quezon City and stands at the center of the area known as Monumento. Its massive sculptures of revolutionary leader and nationalist Andres Bonifacio and members of the anti-Spanish society called Katipunan depict the group's first battle against the Spaniards on August 3, 1896. The monument was sculpted by national artist Guillermo Tolentino.
Another attraction to see is the Thai To Taoist Temple Pagoda. The structure is said to be 100 years old and one of the most amazing creations of Chinese architecture in the country. It is also said that the Chinese were one of the first settlers in Caloocan.
Pilgrims can visit the Caloocan Cathedral, also known as the San Roque Cathedral. The historic church was built on April 8, 1815. It became a meeting a place for the members of the Katipunan during the Philippine Revolution. The church was also heavily damaged during the Philippine-American war. It was later on used by the American soldiers as a field hospital and stable. In 2000, the San Roque Cathedral was declared by the Archdiocese of Manila as one of the Jubilee Churches.
After visiting the historic places in Caloocan, shoppers can enjoy browsing through the stores in Gotesco Grand Central Shopping Mall.
The city is accessible by train, specifically via LRT-1. The line passes through the 5th Avenue and Monumento stations, both of which are located in Caloocan City. From there, buses and jeeps are available to take you to various points within and around the city.
Buses bound for Caloocan also ply the major thoroughfares of the metro such as Taft Avenue, Ayala Avenue, and EDSA. Take the bus that says “Monumento” or “UE Letre” If you’re unsure, you can also ask the bus conductor for assistance.
You can also ride public jeepneys to get to Caloocan. These are usually found along Taft Avenue. Look for the ones with signboards that say “MCU.”
By Taxi or Ridesharing Services
The most convenient way to get to Caloocan City is via taxi. The metro has quite a number of taxis roaming its streets, so hailing one wouldn’t be a problem.
Ridesharing services like Grab and Uber are other convenient alternatives. You can book a ride with just a couple of taps on your smartphone.
How to Get Around
Jeeps and tricycles are readily available all over Caloocan to take you to different places. Intercity buses are also available to take you to nearby cities like Malabon, Navotas, and Valenzuela.
What to See
The Andres Bonifacio Monument is perhaps the most notable attraction in Caloocan. The monument, built by National Artist Guillermo Tolentino, stands 45 feet tall in a roundabout in the midst of the southern portion of the city. This monument built in 1933 serves as a tribute to the bravery and heroism of Andres Bonifacio and the members of the revolutionary society Katipunan who fought valiantly against Spain for the country’s freedom.
Caloocan is also where you can find Tala Leprosarium, which is now known as the Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital. The hospital was built in 1940 to accommodate patients with Hansen’s disease from the entire Luzon region. It now serves as the principal referral hospital for leprosy patients and as a public health department for those who live in Tala in Caloocan and the nearby areas.
The Thai To Taoist Temple has been standing in the city for almost a century now. This five story structure boasts impressive traditional Chinese architecture and was built to serve the thriving Chinese community in Caloocan.
Founded in 1815, the San Roque Cathedral bore witness—even serving as the venue—to some of the important events in Philippine history. It was where the members of Katipunan held meetings during the revolutionary period. General Antonio Luna once sought refuge in the church during the Philippine-American war. When it was invaded by the Americans, it was then used as a field hospital. Now, it serves as the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Caloocan.
Those who want to freshen up and enjoy summer all year round can do just that in the city. Caloocan is home to a couple of resorts such as Gubat sa Ciudad Resort and Luzviminda Resort (also known as Home of the Castlesliders) where you can spend quality time with your loved ones while enjoying its outdoor swimming pools.
Events and Festivals
Every year during the latter parts of January, the entire city of Caloocan comes alive to celebrate the Pajotan de Santo Niño Festival. Colorful processions of various images of the Santo Niño and street dances are held as part of the festivities.
Where to Eat
When in Caloocan, it’s a must to stop by Boy Ching Woo for a meal. The restaurant specializes in mouthwatering Chinese dishes. Apart from its food, the restaurant is famed for being the oldest restaurant in Caloocan, having been founded in 1939. Another favorite Chinese restaurant in the area Silver Crown Panciteria Inc., which is located right along Samson Road.
Amber Golden Pot, one of the metro’s well-loved Filipino restaurants, also has a branch in Caloocan, at the corner of Rizal Street and 10th Avenue. Whether you are dining in or having your food delivered, do not forget order their ever famous pichi-pichi.
For those who are looking for a cozy spot in the city where you can enjoy light fares, delightful pastries, and delicious cups of coffee, head to City Cakes Coffee and Pastries.
Where to Shop
Shoppers will surely delight in knowing that there are quite a couple of shopping options in Caloocan like Victory Central Mall and the Araneta Square where various merchandises ranging from home appliances to clothing items are sold at affordable prices. Supermarkets such as SM Hypermaket in Monumento and SM Center in Sangandaan are also found in the area.
Fare: PHP 20.00++
The minimum fare for a jeep ride is PHP 7.00 for the first four kilometers. The fare for the LRT-1 ranges from PHP 15.00 to PHP 30.00. Bus fares, on the other hand, are PHP 15.00 minimum.
If you’re taking the taxi, the flag down rate is PHP 30.00. For every succeeding 500 meters or 90 seconds of waiting time, PHP 3.50 will be added.
Food: PHP 200.00 to PHP 500.00
The dining options in Caloocan City are very reasonable and pocket-friendly. One can already enjoy a full and satisfying meal for only PHP 200.00. There are also a couple of upscale restaurants in the city too where you can spend around PHP 400.00 to PHP 500.00 per meal.
Shopping: PHP 200.00++
Shopping for items in the city are easy on the budget. Good quality shirts start at PHP 200.00, while jeans are PHP 500.00 and up.
Accommodations: PHP 1,500.00 to PHP 3,000.00
For backpackers and budget travelers, there are budget lodges in the city that offer quality rooms for as low as PHP 1,500.00 a night. In some hotels with more complete amenities and facilities, a stay ranges from PHP 2,500.00 to PHP 3,000.00.
Activities: PHP 200.00++
Most attractions in the city don’t require entrance fees. You can freely explore the sights and sounds of Caloocan without having to spend too much. The resorts, however, charge entrance fees starting at PHP 200.00.
Other Fees and Taxes: PHP 20.00 to PHP 50.00
When dining in the city, a service charge is usually added to your bill so you don’t have to leave tips anymore. But if you insist, leaving PHP 20.00 to PHP 50.00 should be sufficient.