There’s more to Manila than its monstrous malls and its faddish crazes. Although there is much to be desired from our heritage sites, they are still there – needing both badly needed maintenance and visitors.
Several Sundays ago, my sister and I left our house in Cubao at around 2:00 PM to enjoy a leisurely afternoon in the old Walled City and its peripheries. We began at the Metropolitan Museum then skipped to the Manila Central Post Office then finally crossed over to Intramuros, entering through the Puerta del Parian.
We basically circled Intramuros.
We started at Letran, made a left towards the Dominican quarter and frolicked around the beautiful Maestranza. Afterwards, we took a while absorbing the haunting Intendencia edifice, a skeleton of an old important building which could be restored and turned into either a bazaar or even a cool-concept cafe or night club.
Afterwards, we plied Don Andrés Soriano Avenue and found solace from the unrelenting rays of the sun under the shadows of the impressively reconstructed Ayuntamiento, which now houses the Bureau of Treasury. The Ayuntamiento was the former City Hall of Manila (conversely Intramuros) and also housed the Real Audienca de Manila or basically the Supreme Court. When the Americans established their version of the Supreme Court, it was still initially housed in the Ayuntamiento. Because of its renowned generous use of marble, it earned its nickname of “the Marble Palace”. It was bombed during the Liberation and was turned into a parking space. It was only a few years back when the project to reconstruct it was turned into a reality. It’s a handsome edifice today.
Plaza Roma, of course, is a place to unwind and take photos. We noticed that there were many, many foreign tourists that day and we were really pleased to see them.
From the Manila Cathedral, we walked along Luna street and of course, stopped by the San Agustin Church – the only structure left standing after the violent Liberation of Manila – and cooled down within the shade of Plaza San Luis.
That’s where the amiable staff of La Cocina de Tita Moning, headed by Trining, called my attention! They were so happy to see me. They brought halo-halo from the house for Carlos Celdran’s guests.
After Plaza San Luis, my sister and I went further down Juan Luna and took a left at one street I forget the name of, which leads back to the Puerta del Parian. We then climbed the walls of the muralla and took many pictures of the ramparts as well as cannons and the view of Manila City Hall.
We capped off our day on top of the Bayleaf Hotel, specifically, at their Skyview Deck, which has marvelous views of Manila’s glorious bay and well, err, its less attractive city.
The buildings, billboards and other hideous structures truly destroy Manila’s skyline. But at least, one can still see some of the more notable elements of Manila’s neoclassical corridor starting from the Manila Central Post Office down to the National Museum.
At night, one can marvel at the illuminated buildings from afar, probably Makati but feel a tinge of sadness for the dark edifices in Manila that were unlit.
At any rate, it was truly a unique, different way of spending our weekend.
My sister got super tired after our walking tour but she thoroughly enjoyed…most especially since it was my treat!