Perhaps one of Macau’s iconic landmarks, the Largo de Senado or Senate Square is often depicted, along with Ruins of St. Paul, in countless photos and features. The area is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Historic Centre of Macau, a narrow stretch of buildings and structures with unique architecture from the 15th – 19th centuries. Wow!
I was invited by the Macau Government Tourism Office-Philippines (MGTO) together with other travel writers and bloggers for a familiarization tour to this interesting place last May and it was a beautiful experience with its cuisine, glitz and old world charm. The traditional Portuguese pavement is familiar, wavy, two colored and stretching from one side of the square to the opposite end. Forward and back, whimsical and playful and at the same time, directing one’s vision to the imposing structures built along this historic square where Macau’s main road, the Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro, passes. It still is a surprise being there.
Santa Casa da Misericordia, all white, neoclassical building, the Leal Senado, General Post Office, St. Dominic’s Church, all found in this small area. If not for the modern signages, still the old meets the new theme, McDonalds, Starbucks, Häagen-Dazs, and the camera toting and posing tourists, one could easily mistake of being transported back to times past. But really, I don’t like crowds too much especially if I want to photograph architecture and being at Largo do Senado is a bit of a problem.
To better enjoy this place though, either you can do two things: just gaze up and eliminate the visual clutter of people scattered in the square or just people go watching. You’ll be amazed at the quirkiness of tourists of different nationalities. Although walking around does provide a relaxing exercise, unless it rains or the pavement is wet which can be slippery.
At night, its a different matter. Everything is subdued, the buildings well lighted and not much tourists around except for the occasional Pinoys and other expats resting from the day’s work, or those looking for fun.
If crowds are not your thing and prefer a quite and contemplative moment, better head to the area where St. Augustine’s Church is. Following one of the narrow streets beside Leal Senado, up an incline, the familiar Portuguese wavy pavement tells that you’re already there. There are no crowds and you can just sit on of the cement benches under a huge tree or hear mass at the church where lots of Filipinos go to.