For over a year now, I have specialized in facilitating tours around a once-fabled arrabal of Manila, San Miguel de Manila.
The year has been great for these tours. I cannot count anymore the number of times, groups and individuals I guided around San Miguel. And boy, these have been very mixed groups. The very first group was a group of 30+ participants from the Heritage Conservation Society – Youth while the last one was a group of three. I’ve toured locals and foreigners alike, high school classmates, relatives of friends and friends of friends abroad! There are so many things one can see in such a small area, all within walking distance. All the participants are amazed by the remarkable difference of San Miguel from the rest of downtown Manila, which is often experienced horrendously. The pungent smell, the sight of garbage and the fear of crowds are almost never experienced in San Miguel.
Modesty aside, yours truly also provides a holistic view of Philippine heritage through this tour. No Church bashing and no political flag-waving. What you will hear from me are some comments on Philippine art styles, culinary traditions (and techniques too, hehe as I also love to cook), the influence of the Catholic Church on our lives, architecture, values and behaviors and also pre-war Manila lifestyles. This won’t simply be a tour of taking pictures, memorized dates and names and saying if a structure is neo-classical, neo-gothic or art deco.
In San Miguel, one can visit at least three churches! If one includes San Sebastian, which is an architectural gem in the Philippines, that makes 4. You can also see pre-war mansions albeit from the outside. However, the conclusion in La Cocina always brings the tour to a triumphant, meaningful end. Banned from taking pics of the Presidential Palace and being bared entry from any of the mansions owned by the Office of the President, it is climactic, redemptive that the graceful folks of a former Legarda residence allow people to tour and actually EXPERIENCE the genteel life of pre-war San Miguel through La Cocina de Tita Moning.
On 7 December, marking my first year, I am again hosting another tour of what was once the Philippines’ “millionaires’ district”, a genteel suburb of summer mansions, an abbey and a beer brewery. I invite you all to come, join and bring your friends and loved-ones for this Holiday trip!
The 7 December tour includes the following itinerary:
Meet-up at the LRT2 LEGARDA STATION (9:00 AM)
SAN SEBASTIAN CHURCH (part of Quiapo actually, not of San Miguel) (9:30 AM)
SAN BEDA ABBEY (10:00 AM)
ST. JUDE’s CHURCH (10:30 AM)
MOSAICOS de MACHUCA Office (11:00 AM)
PASEO to MALACAÑANG PALACE, passing-by GOLDENBERG MANSION and TEUS MANSION (11:30 AM)
SAN MIGUEL PRO CATHEDRAL (12:00 NN)
LAPERAL MANSION (12:30 PM)
Tour, Merienda and Conclusion at LA COCINA de TITA MONING (1:00 PM)
The tour facilitator’s mobile number is 0917-4690717. Disclosure of budget will be done through this number.
Many, many thanks and see you all!
For more on San Miguel de Manila, read my article on Kamusta? Magazine [http://www.kamustamagazine.ph/san-miguel-de-manila-arrabal-de-una-abadia-buenas-familias-y-cerveza/]