I say glimpse because this is not even one-eighth of Manila.
Sadly and honestly, I have a negative connotation of the city. Manila, crowded. Manila, pollution. Manila, pickpocketers. Manila, corruption. But I have grown to love my country not for its government but half for its people and wholly for the places it houses.
After some research, there are two ways to go to Paco Park. If you are not in a hurry, Rizalenos may ride a G-liner bus going to Quiapo and then tell the conductor to drop you at SM Manila (do not confuse it with SM City Sta. Mesa). It’s a two-hour ride from Junction, Cainta. There are tricycles, motor and e-motor alike. Some would ask you to pay them a hundred, but find one that would take you for a fifty.
Another one would be riding the LRT-2 station. Go down at Recto (last stop) then train hop at LRT-1 at Doroteo-Jose Station and enjoy your ride toward Pedro Gil. Paco Cemetery is ten minutes away from there (check Google Maps).
I remember watching Last Night starring Toni Gonzaga and Piolo Pascual and hoping to visit Paco Park someday. And here I was, a year later, walking Paco Park like a tourist.
I had to admit, ignorant that I was, I thought Paco Park was as huge as Luneta or Intramuros. But Paco Park was small compared with them. Students were mostly there to practice for their presentations, there were no food stalls nearby, but it was peaceful (and it was free). I would gladly stay there for an hour after the renovations.
From Paco Park, you can walk back toward Padre Faura Street corner Taft Avenue. Jeepneys to Divisoria are available there. Just tell the driver to drop you off at Binondo (nearest Lucky Chinatown).
Our last stop was Lucky Chinatown. Again, I thought it was another park, but—a fool of me—it was an ordinary mall. What sets it from the other malls is its Lucky China Walk filled with Chinese lanterns and food stalls.
Take note that DSLRs aren’t allowed though. Sorry if I could afford a Pentax K-01 five years ago but could not afford the latest iPhone. Seriously, why?
E-tricycles going to Quiapo are available there. And from Quiapo, there are G-liner buses to Taytay.