Navotas City

Hey there, fellow travelers and wanderlust souls! Feeling a bit adventurous? Well, let’s take an exciting virtual detour to a place that’s probably not on your typical tourist radar – Navotas City in the heart of the Philippines. Ever heard of it? If not, then buckle up, because we’re about to dive into this vibrant city’s charm.

Nestled in the chaos of Metro Manila, Navotas dances to its own rhythm, a delightful symphony of culture, history, and gastronomy. It’s like a well-kept secret in plain sight, humming with life and begging to share its stories. You know what they say, right? “The best places are often the ones least expected.” Well, Navotas is the living proof of that!

Manila Bay Sunset at Navotas Centennial Park, Navotas City
By Ralff Nestor Nacor – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

History of Navotas City

Navotas is a highly urbanized city in the National Capital Region of the Philippines. It is known as the “Fishing Capital of the Philippines” due to its vibrant fishing industry.

Navotas started as a small coastal settlement along the shores of Manila Bay. It initially formed part of Malabon. The early inhabitants of the area were primarily fishermen, and as the community grew, so did the fishing industry.

In the late 1850s, the inhabitants petitioned for Navotas to break away from Malabon. Their request, however, did not receive immediate approval. On January 16, 1859, a powerful storm separated the town of Navotas from the mainland of Malabon. This event urged the people to repeat their previous petitions.

Eventually, this petition paid off. On December 20, 1859, the Governor-General of the Philippines, Fernando Norzagaray, granted the separation of Navotas from Malabon. This marked the birth of Navotas as an independent municipality.

Over the years, Navotas prospered due to its thriving fishing industry. Its geographical location along the coast made it an ideal location for trade and commerce. This growth led to a further increase in its population and the development of infrastructure and public services.

In the 20th century, Navotas continued to grow and evolve. On June 24, 2001, under the Republic Act No. 9387, Navotas became a highly urbanized city.

Today, Navotas remains an important city in Metro Manila. The fishing industry continues to be a significant part of its economy, and it has also become a hub for other industries and services.


Navotas City boasts a vibrant cultural heritage deeply rooted in its fishing traditions. The locals, known as Navoteños, take immense pride in their city and its historical significance. Festivals play a significant role in Navoteño culture, with the annual Pangisdaan Festival being a highlight. This lively celebration showcases the city’s fishing industry through street dances, colorful parades, and food fairs, providing visitors with a taste of Navoteño traditions.


  1. Immerse in Nature at Navotas Centennial Park:
    Escape the hustle and bustle of the city by exploring Navotas Centennial Park, a serene haven nestled along the coast. This picturesque park offers breathtaking views of Manila Bay, making it an ideal spot for leisurely walks, jogging, or simply enjoying the sunset. With its well-maintained landscapes and refreshing sea breeze, the park provides a tranquil oasis amidst the urban landscape.
  2. Discover Navotas Fish Port Complex:
    A visit to Navotas City wouldn’t be complete without exploring its renowned Fish Port Complex, the largest in the Philippines. Witness the bustling maritime activities as fishermen unload their bountiful catch, and experience the vibrant atmosphere of the fish market. Don’t miss the chance to savor fresh seafood delicacies at the nearby eatery stalls, where you can indulge in mouthwatering dishes like sinigang na hipon (shrimp soup) and grilled squid.
  3. Explore the Navotas Museum:
    Delve into the city’s rich history and cultural heritage by visiting the Navotas Museum. This treasure trove of artifacts and exhibits showcases the evolution of Navotas City, from its fishing roots to its present-day urban development. Gain insights into Navoteño traditions, folklore, and the city’s significant contributions to the country’s maritime industry.

Food Cuisine in Navotas City

Firstly, the city takes pride in its fresh seafood dishes, a testament to its strong ties with the fishing industry. You can find locals starting their day early at the Navotas Fish Port Complex, the largest in the country. They eagerly gather the freshest catch to prepare tasty meals.

For instance, sinigang na isda (fish in sour soup) is a popular dish in Navotas. Cooks skillfully blend tamarind, tomatoes, and various vegetables with freshly caught fish. The result is a comforting, sour, and savory stew, usually served with steaming white rice.

Transitioning to another staple, Navotas also excels in preparing adobong pusit (squid adobo). Chefs sauté squid in soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and spices, creating a dish that is simultaneously tangy, salty, and sweet. The squid ink adds a unique depth of flavor and a distinct black color to the dish.

Furthermore, the city is known for kinilaw na tanigue (raw Spanish mackerel salad). This dish showcases the city’s access to fresh seafood. The raw mackerel is marinated in vinegar, lime, or calamansi juice, and then mixed with sliced onion, ginger, and chili. The acidic marinade cooks the fish, resulting in a fresh and zesty dish.

In addition, Navotas is famous for its unique street food. Locals and tourists alike enjoy the skewered and grilled “isaw” (chicken intestines) and “betamax” (blood cubes). These are not only affordable but also provide a flavorful experience, especially when dipped in spicy vinegar.

Lastly, Navotas offers a sweet end to the meal with leche flan, a creamy caramel custard dessert. Cooks prepare it by caramelizing sugar into a syrup, then adding a mixture of egg yolks and condensed milk. The mixture is steamed until set, resulting in a rich, velvety dessert that perfectly balances the savory flavors of the main dishes.

Tourist Spots in Navotas City

Begin your journey at the Navotas Centennial Park. As one of the most popular attractions in the city, it provides a picturesque view of the Manila Bay sunset. Along with the breathtaking view, the park also offers recreational activities that both locals and tourists can enjoy.

Next, transition to the Navotas City Hall. This magnificent edifice isn’t merely an administrative building; it also serves as a symbol of Navotas’ progress and development. Its modern architecture is a testament to the city’s continuous growth and innovation.

After you’ve appreciated the City Hall, make your way to the Agora Market. This bustling marketplace gives you a taste of the local life in Navotas. Here, you can find a wide variety of seafood, fresh from the local fishermen, and other local products that reflect the city’s rich marine resources.

Once your shopping spree at the Agora Market is complete, set your course for the San Roque Parish Church. Standing since the 18th century, this church is a testament to the city’s deep Catholic faith and Spanish colonial influence. Its vintage architecture and tranquil atmosphere offer a peaceful retreat from the city’s hustle and bustle.

Finally, cap off your tour at the Navotas Fish Port Complex. As one of the leading fishing ports in the country, it provides an enlightening glimpse into the city’s thriving fishing industry. You can watch the fishermen haul in their catches of the day, adding a touch of authenticity to your Navotas experience.

Festivals and Events in Navotas City

One of the most significant events held in Navotas City is the Pangisdaan Festival. Celebrated every January, it pays tribute to the city’s primary source of livelihood: fishing. The festival kicks off with a grand parade featuring intricately designed floats that represent various aspects of the fishing industry. Transitioning into the evening, the streets come alive with the lively ‘Street Dancing Competition,’ where participants adorned in colorful fish-themed costumes fill the city with energy and rhythm.

Next, the City Fiesta is another key event that occurs in Navotas every February. This celebration marks the feast of St. Joseph, the city’s patron saint. The Novenas, or nine days of prayer, precede the feast day, fostering a sense of spiritual devotion among the residents. On the feast day itself, a high-spirited procession takes place, showcasing a beautiful statue of St. Joseph carried by devotees. The celebration concludes with a grand feast, where families and friends gather to share meals and make lasting memories.

Furthermore, Navotas Day, observed every 20th day of January, marks the city’s founding anniversary. The city transforms into a hive of activity with a series of events, including the ‘Mutya ng Navotas’ beauty pageant, sporting events, and fireworks displays. The locals also celebrate ‘Araw ng mga Barangay,’ where each barangay, or neighborhood, hosts individual festivities and events.

In between these large celebrations, Navotas City remains a hub of cultural activity with smaller events. The city regularly hosts art exhibitions, musical performances, and food festivals, offering a vibrant tapestry of experiences for locals and visitors alike.

How to Get There

Navotas City is conveniently accessible by various modes of transportation, ensuring a hassle-free journey for visitors.

  1. By Air:
    If you’re arriving from outside the Philippines, the nearest international gateway is Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila. From the airport, you can take a taxi or ride-hailing service to Navotas City, which is approximately 20 kilometers away.
  2. By Land:
    For those traveling from within the Philippines, several bus terminals in Metro Manila offer routes to Navotas City. You can also opt to take a taxi or private car via major highways such as the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) or the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX).
  3. By Water:
    Navotas City is accessible via ferry or boat services that operate along Manila Bay. The Pasig River Ferry Service provides a scenic and convenient option, allowing you to reach Navotas City while enjoying the picturesque views along the river.

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So, who’s ready to pack their bags and explore this city of hidden wonders? I bet you’re wondering now, “What other secrets does Navotas hold?”

Well, that’s for you to discover! When you’re wandering through its busy streets, soaking in the culture and savoring the local delicacies, remember that every corner has a story to tell. It’s more than a city – it’s a feeling, an experience, a memory that will gently tug at your heartstrings long after you’ve left. So, are you ready to write your own Navotas story? Ready or not, Navotas is waiting for you with open arms!

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