Venice in the Philippines - An Italian-inspired Tourist Destination
A replica of Ponte de Amore bridge
One of my many dreams is to travel to Italy, taste its world-famous cuisine and then visit the equally world-famous city of Venice were riding a gondola is the main tourist attraction but that is still a dream and I don't know if it is going to be an unfulfilled dream.
Then 2015 came when the Venice Grand Canal Mall opened to the public in my beloved country, the Philippines. The mall has an Italian-inspired architectural structure, the canal is of course inspired by the world-famous Grand Canal in Venice, Italy.
The canal really got Venetian vibe because it is surrounded by Italian-inspired architectural structures on both sides.
When people who visited the canal started to post photos on the internet I was astonished by its beautiful Venetian vibe, so I said to myself, "I will visit it one day".
But my visit took three years in the making and in November of 2018, a holiday falls on Friday making the weekend a perfect time to make a visit to any place since there are three days to spare until the next Monday.
I have to admit, sometimes an unplanned trip always has the tendency to be one of the most memorable and it holds true to me because my family was not alone to travel that time. My family was with the whole family of one of my brothers and one of my elder sisters, so, the more the merrier.
While on our way I am actually excited to finally see the canal. Arriving at the canal we took a stroll alongside the canal and feast our eyes with its man-made beauty and also took pictures of the canal scenery itself.
A view from the other end of the canal
The photo above was taken from the end of the canal where gondolas are circling to return to their dock. As you can see on the left side of the photo there is a lot of tourists already present to visit the canal.
My first impression of the canal is... Wow! The canal is truly magnificent and stayed true to its inspirations, the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy, and I could feel that I am actually in Venice.
A bridge from the other end of the canal.
Of course, just any other tourist I took numerous selfies of me with the canal in the background so that I could tell my friends, hey, go and visit Venice Grand Canal.
I also noticed that most of the tourists that I encounter are also being mesmerized by its beauty and they can't also help but take selfies of them with the canal in the background.
A photo of me with the canal in the background
While strolling I took a photo of some tourists taking selfies on the canal. I can also tell that at the time of our visit the canal is already a pretty popular tourist destination after three years since its introduction to the public especially because of its beauty and romantic Venetian vibe and also with the help of photos being posted by the people who already visited the canal.
While walking alongside the canal I took the opportunity to take photos as many as I can for remembrance. As you can see there are some people caught by my smartphone's camera because there are a lot of people already inside to visit the canal at the time.
Even if the canal is located in a mall the canal itself is open-air it doesn't have a roof. Basically, the canal is located in the center of the mall and you don't have to worry about food when you get hungry. Restaurants and food stalls are everywhere so whenever you got hungry you can find a place to fill your hungry stomach.
Here are some of the photos that I took while strolling alongside the canal...
By the way, the shape of the canal is like a huge "landline telephone handset". The photo below with a gondola is at the end of the canal where gondolas are making their u-turn to get back to the beginning of the canal where their dock is located.
A gondola taking a u-turn (I tried to get close to the gondola but I am on the other side of the canal)
When you ride a gondola you will be treated with one round trip to the canal. The ride will take about fifteen minutes depending on gondolier that is directing the gondola.
A look at the gondolas' dock from afar
Tourists feasting their eyes on the beauty of the canal
If you are feeling romantic and you want to declare to the world your love for your partner the canal features a replica of the famous Ponte de Amore bridge at its end, where canal tourists can participate at the canal's love locks installation.
Many are saying that this mall is the most romantic mall in the country simply because of the canal and its love locks bridge where everyone is encouraged to install a lock on Ponte de Amore Bridge.
Love Locks installed at Ponte de Amore bridge
Halfway on our stroll, I saw a gondola up close for the first time with a gondolier guiding it through the canal. The gondola is indeed very similar to the gondolas that I am seeing across the internet, specifically when I am browsing photos of the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy. And also the gondolier is dressed just exactly the same as the gondoliers are wearing in Italy. From afar the gondola looks somewhat small, but you can see that it is huge when it is near.
After taking a stroll we decided to ride the gondola. Riding the gondola is a little bit expensive but it is worth the experience since it is an experience of a lifetime. The gondola can carry a minimum of four persons and a maximum of six excluding the gondolier.
Riding a gondola brings back a lot of experiences to me since I have already known what it is like riding a boat during my childhood. But riding a gondola brings a different experience to me since the setting is of a Venetian vibe. You can actually feel that you are in Venice riding a real gondola, what more, the gondolier can make you feel very at ease because they are very accommodating and also helps you to take photos.
After riding a gondola we again decided to take a little stroll at the other side of the canal to see how the canal looks like at night time.
Little did we know that the canal's ambiance is so romantic at night when all the lights of the canal turn on.
Below are the photos while the night is approaching...
Tourist riding a gondola while night approaches
Tourists having their dinner by the canal
And it is night time. If you want to truly appreciate the beauty of this man-made tourist attraction you need to see it at day time, stay for a while, wait for night time, to see how it looks a night.
Day and night visit to the canal provides a different feel and ambiance. At day time you can see clearly all of its glory and at night it will transform from vibrant scenery to a romantic one (perfect for lovers).
I will surely return to ride the gondola at night. Below are some of the photos that I took during night time.
That concludes our travel to the Venice Grand Canal Mall. I definitely recommend this tourist attraction to include in your bucket list.
When you visit make sure to wait for the night so that you could see how romantic the canal becomes when all the lights are turned on.
As for me, I will surely return to ride a gondola at night.