Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Budget Backpacker: INTRAMUROS. Entry: Wednesday May 18, 2011

The Walled City (by Kenneth Yanga the DP)

I got a chance to learn some more history of the Philippines. Even though I am Filipino, being away from the homeland for a while kind of made me forget the history (unfortunately). But it was great relearning it again--even the dark past.

Intramuros is located in Manila right next to the Pasig River. It's real close to Luneta Park and the famous Manila Hotel. You can easily get there by Jeepney or taxi. Whichever mode of transportation do you prefer. They're both really cheap, but Jeepney is more fun and way cheaper!

As soon as we got in Intramuros, we tried the Calesa ride (Horse Carraige). They were pretty much stationed next to the San Agustin Church. It was a decent priced tour, but could've been cheaper if you ask me. We paid about 600 PHP for a one hour ride/tour (roughly $14). I hear that the Carlos Celdran walking tour is the way to go. It's about 1000 PHP per head I think. The whole city is walkable, so if you don't want to pay anything, enjoy the structures and history on foot, just have to sweat it out.

So a bit of a history, Intramuros was built by the Spaniards in the 16th century and is the oldest district of the city of Manila. The name means "within the walls", meaning within the wall enclosure of the city/fortress, also describes its structure as it is surrounded by thick, high walls and moats. During the Spanish colonial period, Intramuros was considered Manila itself. But during World War II, the whole city was pretty much destroyed with only one structure survived.

(Taken from Wikipedia) Filipinos lost an irreplaceable cultural and historical treasure in the resulting carnage and devastation of Manila. The cultural patrimony (including art, literature, and especially architecture) of the Orient's first truly international melting pot - the confluence of Spanish, American and Asian cultures - was eviscerated. Manila, once touted as the "Pearl of the Orient" and famed as a living monument to the meeting of Asian and European cultures, was virtually wiped out.

Whew...I didn't think I was gonna be emotional there. Learning history is quite overwhelming. If you do visit the Philippines, I highly recommend going to Intramuros. It's really awesome! The structures, and buildings, are quite medieval looking. Plus, you get to ride a horse carriage--which to me was the cherry on top of a wonderful trip!

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