The island nations of the Philippines and Singapore are filled with incredible examples of the culture which permeates throughout Southeast Asia. Discover the old and modern architecture, art in a variety of forms, and natural wonders throughout the two countries. Read on to discover some of the beautiful sights within them.
Across 7,641 incredible islands, the Philippines provides a wide array of culture and heritage, available to all who visit it. From the mystery surrounding the ruins of the Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson Mansion to the colorful neighborhood of the Valley of Colors, the Philippines builds on the culture of its past to inform the story of its present.
Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson Mansion
While the structure is formally known as the Don Mariano Ledesma Lacson Mansion, “The Ruins,” as locals call it, are the remains of a 10-room manor from the 1920s. While no one knows the whole truth behind the home’s building, it’s widely believed that sugar baron Don Lacson built the home in tribute to his wife Maria, who had died in an accident while pregnant with their 11th child. The mansion burnt down during World War II and remained untouched by the public for decades. Today, the gardens and structure have been restored and are a beautiful space for the public to frolic around and see the historic building up close.
In April 1991, a group of scientists convinced officials to evacuate 65,000 people from the area around Mount Pinatubo after reporting steam eruptions on the side of the mountain. Three months later, Mount Pinatubo erupted in the world’s 2nd largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century. Almost 30 years later, the dust has long settled and the mountain has once again become a popular destination for visitors. It’s wonderful for climbing and swimming in the caldera lake. About 60 kilometers away from Manila, the town of Capas is the closest access point to the mountain.
Valley of Colors
If you’re looking for some vibrancy in your life, the Valley of Colors is a wonderful place to find it. Located in La Trinidad, Philippines, the series of houses are painted in a wide array of colors. The project was completed by the Department of Tourism in collaboration with local artists and residents. Each home sits on the hillside, creating a long, colorful canvas for visitors to take in.
Let’s hop over to another beautiful island nation in Southeast Asia to learn more about the culture of the area.
Though just about 278 miles squared, Singapore packs an incredible amount of culture into such a small area. The city-state is home to striking modern architecture, such as Gardens by the Bay, The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, and the Helix Bridge. The art within its buildings is just as impressive, with the National Gallery Singapore boasting wonderful collections.
Gardens by the Bay
Arguably one of the most famous attractions in Singapore by the waters of Marina Bay, the lush and beautiful 101-hectare Gardens by the Bay, is dominated by the sleekly sculptured biodomes – marvels of architecture, design, and engineering.
Two futuristic structures rise out of the greenery, which is designed with environmental sustainability in mind. They are the Flower Dome, and the Cloud Forest cooled conservatories, which was listed in the 2015 Guinness World Records as the world’s largest glass greenhouse. The freestanding unsupported glass roofs enclose expansive spaces, unmarred by any pillar or column. Besides ultra-modern design, the conservatories also use cutting edge technologies for better energy efficiency.
While you are there, do not forget to check out the distinctive Supertrees – 25 to 50-meter-tall vertical gardens that collect rainwater, generate solar power, and act as venting ducts for the park’s conservatories. If you’re in the mood for a spectacular view, take the OCBC Skyway, a 128-meter-long walkway suspended between two Supertrees, for a bird’s eye view of the park.
For more information, please visit https://gardensbythebay.com.sg.
Gardens by the Bay. 18 Marina Gardens Drive, Singapore 018953
Bay South Outdoor Gardens: Daily 5am – 2am
Cooled Conservatories (Flower Dome, Floral Fantasy, Cloud Forest): Daily 9am – 9pm (last ticket sale at 8pm)
Supertree Grove & OCBC Skyway: Daily 9am – 9pm (last admission at 8pm)
National Gallery Singapore
Located in the heart of the Civic District, the gallery is housed in the City Hall and former Supreme Court – two iconic buildings that have played a monumental role in Singapore’s history. Utmost care was taken to ensure that preservation guidelines for these two national monuments were being upheld even as they were being remodeled into a state-of-the-art museum for the public.
Dedicated to curating a collection that will provide insights into the unique art, heritage, and history of the region, the gallery is a must-visit destination in Singapore. At 64,000 square meters, it is the largest visual arts venue in Singapore and one of the region’s largest. The gallery showcases more than 8,000 pieces from Singapore’s National Collection, making it one of the world’s largest and most invaluable public collections of Singapore and Southeast Asian modern art from the 19th century to the present day.
The Rotunda is a work of art itself, making it an amazing spot to take pictures. The gallery often works with other museums around the world, such as the Musée d’Orsay and the Tate Britain, to ensure proper presentation of Southeast Asian art in a global context.
For more information, please visit https://www.nationalgallery.sg.
National Gallery Singapore. 1 Supreme Court Lane, Singapore 178879.
Mon-Thu & Sun 10am-7pm; Fri & Sat 10am-10pm.
The Fullerton Hotel Singapore
Originally built as a fort in 1829, the magnificent neo-classical Fullerton building later became home to Singapore’s General Post Office in 1928, followed by the Exchange Room and Exchange Reference Library, and the prestigious Singapore Club. For nearly a decade, it has played a pivotal role in Singapore’s rich history.
Gazetted in December 2015 as a National Monument, The Fullerton Hotel Singapore has now been transformed into a stunning 400-room heritage hotel overlooking the Singapore River.
Fullerton Hotel Singapore. 1 Fullerton Square, Singapore 049178
The Helix Bridge
Opened in 2010, the 280-meter-long Helix Bridge is the longest pedestrian bridge in Singapore. Overlooking Marina Bay, it serves as a passageway between Marina Centre and the Bayfront area in Singapore.
Its unique form is modeled after the double-helix DNA, symbolizing ‘life and continuity, renewal and growth.’ Look out for the pairs of colored letters’ c’ and ‘g,’ as well as ‘a’ and ‘t’ on the bridge, representing the four bases of DNA – a fun detail that will please the science geeks among us.
Take in the city skyline’s impressive views and enjoy the special visual experience while crossing the bridge at night.
Helix Bridge. Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 038981
Daily 24 hours
As you explore Southeast Asia, we hope you’ll have a chance to take in the history of the Philippines and the incredible art and architecture of Singapore. Both are sure to enrich you on your journey.