Viva México!!!. I had the opportunity to explore and experience México City by myself recently. Though the trip is primarily not for tourism, I grabbed all the chances to learn and understand the city and its culture as much as I can, and not be just a tourist passing by. I pretty much have an idea about México City (including how notorious it can be there) still, before jumping into the plane, I did my research about my destination and meticulously planned how I can hit two birds with one stone (business and pleasure). I also asked my Mexican friends for their suggestions, so I can maximize my trip to the fullest. Armed with enthusiasm and ideas of the must things to do, eat, see & learn and off I traveled to México City.
It was a three-day trip, but the fun part only happened in less than 24 hours. And yes, I hustled to cover most of the stuff on my list. Surely, I achieved what I was hoping to gain from this trip, fond memories, better understanding, and deeper respect for México and its people. Here are some of the photo highlights of my trip, and may it give you an idea on what you can do in México City in less than a day.
Aerial snapshots of México City
I’m getting so giddy when finally I can see my destination in sight. Listed as one the biggest metropolitan in the world and joining the list of top 10 highly populated city. Indeed, México City is HUGE!
El Ángel de la Independencia, along Paseo de la Reforma
First stop, Angel of Independence. Since the landmark is on my way to apppoinment, I stopped by. A shrine where the remains of some of the most outstanding leaders of the Mexican Independence movement like Miguel Hidalgo, Vicente Guerrero, and Ignacio Allende rest inside its base, which also includes the sculptures of said insurgents and a beautiful sculpture of a lion guided by a boy that represents the dominance of truth and intelligence over strength.
Basílica de Santa María de Guadalupe, in Villa de Guadalupe Hidalgo (or simply “la Villa”)
Next, I hopped into the bus heading to the northern neighborhood of Villa de Guadalupe Hidalgo (or simply “la Villa”), about 30 minutes away from the City center. The Basilica and its patron saint are among the most sacred places and miraculous saints in the Americas and highly visited by many Catholic devotees. In this Basilica, Pope John Paul II celebrated mass several times on his trips to Mexico, among them, the canonization of the Indio Juan Diego. It served as a mini pilgrimage for me to give thanks for all the provisions in my life.
Zona Rosa (Pink Zone), Colonia Juárez
Zona Rosa, another interesting place to check out for local and international restos. The streets of Zona Rosa became a fashionable place and its coffee houses to be a place to see and be seen. Colonia Juárez was thus invested in by several businessmen, mainly focused on tourism, elegant hotels are located in the area, as well as modern and sophisticated commercial centers like the Jacarandas Mall. The coffee shops, fashion boutiques, art galleries and exotic personalities from artistic and literary spheres who used to meet there, then later named as Zona Rosa. A Mexican personality once thought the area was “too shy to be red, too daring to be white”. But, one far more interesting thing about it, is that during a period of decay in this area in the 1980’s, other social groups saw an opportunity to settle themselves in the area, such as the Korean community and especially the gay community. Zona Rosa is one of the first places of open respect for gay and lesbian rights. It is quite interesting to know how the acceptance of the third sex evolved in a macho culture.
El Monumento a la Revolución, in Plaza de la República
One of most sumptuous buildings in the city, is El Monumento a la Revolución (The Monument to the Revolution). This monument was turned into a mausoleum, that houses the remains of some protagonists of the Mexican Revolution: Francisco I. Madero, Venustiano Carranza, Francisco Villa, Plutarco Elías Cales and Lázaro Cárdenas. Since 1986, the monument’s basement serves as the Revolutionary Museum. Today, the museum and in the great open space surrounding the Plaza, cultural activities take place. One example is the Tecnogeist, the most important festival of electronic music and of multimedia art in the Latin America. It is also a place where local protests are staged. This landmark is just 2 minutes away from the hotel where I stayed in, it is the first landmark I checked out the minute I freshened up and settled in.
Zócalo, El Centro Histórico
Zócalo is definitely a must to see in México City. It is a monumental public space surrounded by some of the most emblematic urban landmarks in the city, that constitute to be one of the largest and most important public plazas in the world. The main square of the city is called Zócalo, but its official name is Plaza de la Constitución. Within the square, you can visit The Palacio Nacional (National Palace) where you can admire the murals painted by Diego Rivera. Located in the square too are the Catedral Metropolitana, which replete with colonial religious art and beautiful gilded altarpieces, Federal District buildings, Nacional Monte de Piedad and on the northeast of the square is the Templo Mayor. Finding the square is quite easy, with its enormous Mexican flag, you’ll know you’re in the right place.
Torre Latinoamericana, El Centro Histórico
My time is running out, last night in México. What is the fastest way to get an excellent 360 degrees view of the city? Well, it is an easy yet tall fix, climb to once the tallest building in México, a classic skyscraper of the city. One of the most important urban landmarks, Torre Latinoamericana. This skyscraper has 43 office floors and an antenna from which radio and television signals are transmitted. It also has a belvedere on the last three floors where you can get an excellent view of the city. And, if you still have time, you can also check the museum in the building only few floors down from the viewing deck. The mood up there can get pretty romantic especially if you’re with your special someone enjoying the big city view.
Televisa & Arena México, last-minute stop
I’m leaving México City and bringing with me, are such tremendous and wonderful memories, but it’s not over yet. The morning of my afternoon flight back home, I decided to check out one more place, which is quite close to the heart of Filipinos. I went to take a peek of the television network that made Filipinos fell in love with Thalia’s telenovelas such as Marimar, María del Barrio, Rosalinda, etc. Another iconic event in México is the Lucha Libre, the arena is just on the opposite street of the television network.
And that was a wrap! Will I ever come back to México? One big YES! (hopefully soon). Overall, what made my trip extra special aside from the amazing places that México has to offer is the warmth of its people. For all the Mexicans who gladly gave me a free inside scoop and guided me with its culture and history, thank you. You made me feel at home, I’ll always be grateful and will hold México closer to my heart. And on my last note, México City is definitely not that bad after all, it is about understanding and respecting what is evident and travelling smartly.
Hasta luego amigos!!!
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Con mucho amor,