Santa Cruz is a district in the northern part of the City of Manila on the right bank of the Pasig River near its mouth, bordered by the districts of Tondo, Binondo, Quiapo, and Sampaloc, and Grace Park (Caloocan City) and La Loma (Quezon City).
Prior to the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors to the Philippine Islands, the district of Santa Cruz was partly a marshland, patches of greeneries, orchards and partly rice fields. A Spanish expedition in 1581 claimed the territory and awarded to the Society of Jesus whose members are known as 'Jesuits'.
The Jesuits built the first Roman Catholic church in the area where the present Santa Cruz Parish stands in 1619. The Jesuits enshrined the image of the Our Lady of The Pillar in 1643 to serve the pre-dominantly Chinese residents in the area. The image drew a lot of devotees and a popular cult grew around it.
During World War II, the Japanese occupational forces, caught unaware of the fast approaching liberation in 1945 by the combined American & Filipino soldiers from the north, abandoned the northern banks of the Pasig River including Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz and much of the northern portions of Manila were spared from the artillery bombardment and many pre-World War II buildings and houses still stand in Santa Cruz.
Jeepneys ply Rizal ("Abenida"), Recto and Abad Santos avenues, and routes link the district with the rest of the city as well as Pasay, Parañaque, and Caloocan.
- 1 Manila Chinese Cemetery. The second oldest cemetery in Manila after La Loma Cemetery and was designated as the resting place for the Chinese citizens who were denied burial in Catholic cemeteries during the Spanish colonial period.
- 2 Manila North Cemetery, Blumentritt Road. Manila's largest cemetery. Notable people buried includes Philippine presidents Sergio Osmeña, Manuel Roxas, and Ramon Magsaysay, and actor Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ). Other landmarks inside is the Mausoleum of the Veterans of the Revolution, dedicated to Filipino revolutionaries who were killed during the Philippine Revolution and the Philippine-American war, and the Bautista-Nakpil pylon, an Art Deco grave marker designed by the architect Juan Nakpil
- 3 Santa Cruz Church, Bustos Street (Around Plaza Santa Cruz). One of the well known landmarks of Santa Cruz district, named after the Holy Cross, the church was built and administered by the Jesuits up to 1768.
- 1 SM City San Lazaro, Lacson Avenue (Nearby train stations: LRT-1 Tayuman and Blumentritt, and PNR Blumentritt. Jeepney route: PITX/Baclaran-Blumentritt), ☏ . 10AM-9PM daily. Redeveloped from the San Lazaro Racecourse which has moved to Cavite, it is the only large mall in the district, with more than 300 shops, boutiques and outlets. Has a food court, 6 cinemas, and a department store. -
- Blumentritt street market. Just below the LRT. this street is full of small stalls selling all kinds of cheap products. Some products include: shoes, baking materials, beauty products and clothing. Although patrolled by police, it is still full of pickpockets.
- SM San Lazaro Mall - Has a lot restaurants and fast-food chains to choose from. Some include: Yellow Cab Pizza, Sbarro Pizza, Jollibee, McDonald's, KFC, Karate Kid, and Congo Grille.
- Laguna St. - There are small 'carienderia' (local canteens) located in this are that sells locally cooked foods. Although these are clean, please take extra pre-caution as these foods are home-cooked foods and not closely monitored by any government agency.
- Blumentritt Street Market - Also sells street food. Please choose the food which you think is clean. Unlike other countries in Asia, street food in the Philippines is not closely monitored by any government agency.
- Goldilocks, Rizal Avenue - Sells different kinds of cakes and Filipino delicacies.
- Jollibee, Blumentritt - Philippines' number one fast food chain, famous for its fried chicken.
- Chowking, Blumentritt - Philippine fast food that sells Chinese foods like dimsum and noodles.
- Mang Boks Manok (Chicken), Blumentritt - As the name implies, this stall is famous for its Lechong Manok (Filipino Style roasted chicken). Whole chicken costs around ₱200.
- 7th Eleven Convenience Store, Blumentritt - If you are up to a quick snack, 7th Eleven sells hotdog buns and some other instant rice meals/ noodles.
- 1 Swiss-Belhotel Blulane, 609 Tomas Mapua St, ☏ . Features a Cantonese restaurant and breakfast buffet for a surcharge; otherwise, there's a complimentary basic breakfast. Wifi and a/c and TVs in the rooms of this highrise. ₱1874.
- 2 Manila Grand Opera Hotel, 925 Rizal Avenue corner Doroteo Jose Sts. Sta. Cruz (Beside Doroteo Jose Light Rail Transit Terminal, Rizal Avenue. A few kilometers away from domestic and international airports, the city’s business and commercial centers and tour destinations), ☏ . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. The Manila Grand Opera Hotel, the only elegant hotel in downtown Manila, stands at the former site of the Manila Grand Opera House known for many years as the “theater with a history”. ₱2000.
- Alabang - 40 minutes away from Blumentritt via PNR. Fare costs around ₱20.
- Quezon City - 20 minutes away from Blumentritt via Line 1. Hop down at Roosevelt Station. Fare costs around ₱15. 30 minutes away from Blumentritt via jeepney. From Rizal Avenue, take a jeepney bound for "Munoz Frisco" and ask driver to drop you off at Frisco. Fare costs around ₱11.
- Tondo - 10-30 minutes away from Blumentritt. From Rizal Avenue, take a jeepney bound for "Divisoria", hop-off at Tutuban Mall.
|Routes through Quiapo (by car)|
|Tondo ←||N S||→ San Miguel → Sampaloc|
|Ermita ← Quiapo ←||S N||→ Tondo → Caloocan|
|Tondo ←||S N||→ Binondo|
|Routes through Quiapo (by rapid transit)|
|Pasay ← Quiapo ←||S N||→ Tondo → Caloocan|
|Divisoria ←||N S||→ Sampaloc → Makati|