Recent Intramuros Tours

Calle Urdaneta, Intramuros, Manila

Calle Urdaneta, Intramuros, Manila

Ever since I took my tours seriously, I’ve focused mainly on the San Miguel area.

Part of Alex Romualdez' were my tour guests recently. Here they are in front of the sanctuary of San Beda Abbey Church.

Part of Alex Romualdez’ were my tour guests recently. Here they are in front of the sanctuary of San Beda Abbey Church.

My tour in the said district usually includes the Basílica Menor de San Sebastián (commonly known simply as San Sebastián Church), which is Asia’s only all-steel, pre-fabricated church,

When we visited, a Benedictine monk surprised us by opening all the lights of the Abbey Church. The lights showed the grandeur of the small church, and it was a treat for my guests.

When we visited, a Benedictine monk surprised us by opening all the lights of the Abbey Church. The lights showed the grandeur of the small church, and it was a treat for my guests.

Our Lady of Montserrat Abbey Church (or San Beda Church), the National Shrine of St. Jude, a view of the the Malacañang Palace, Teus, Goldenberg and Laperal Mansions, Machuca Tiles office, San Miguel Pro Cathedral and Casa Roces. All these San Miguel tours end with a hearty merienda at La Cocina de Tita Moning at a Legarda house in Calle San Rafael.

The group on top of Puerta del Parian

The group on top of Puerta del Parian

Intramuros' walls during sunset; the Lyceum at the back

Intramuros’ walls during sunset; the Lyceum at the back

More often than not, when a group asks for an itinerary, San Miguel is on top of my list. However, when a group asks for a specifically Intramuros tour, I do concede.

Puerta de Reina Isabela II

Puerta de Reina Isabela II

And I also concede that the Walled City’s charm never tires me. It’s always a joy to bring people around the old capital of the “Pearl of the Orient Seas”. Intramuros, once the bastion and stronghold of the Spanish empire in the Far East, is a story of glory and massacre, of beauty and death. And today, we are continuously hoping, that a new chapter of hope and resurgence will finally happen.

A view of San Agustin church's belfry from the convento's clausura.

A view of San Agustin church’s belfry from the convento’s clausura.

2015 is the “Visit the Philippines” year. Thus, the rehabilitation of Southeast Asia’s most European walled city is a necessity. Currently, we are looking forward to the fruits of the Intramuros Administration’s pedestrianization policies and the opening of the Intramuros Ecclesiastical Museum, which will be housed in the reconstructed San Ignacio church. As we speak, the former Mother Church – the sueño de oro – of the Jesuits is being rebuilt.

A view of the Manila Cathedral - the Mother Church of the Philippines - from Plaza Roma

A view of the Manila Cathedral – the Mother Church of the Philippines – from Plaza Roma

An oasis of beauty: San Agustin's inner courtyard

An oasis of beauty: San Agustin’s inner courtyard

Lately, I have toured guests in Intramuros and they have all been very enjoyable groups! The most common questions were:

1.) Why is Intramuros seemingly bereft of tourists considering it is the old capital?
2.) Why are there so many dirty parts?
3.) How come there are very limited food choices?
4.) Why were the ruins not preserved or conserved?

Tree tops seen from the ramparts of the walls of Intramuros

There was no easy answer to their questions. One reason though which contributes to the seeming stale experience in Intramuros is urban sprawl. It’s too cut-off from the high-traffic areas which are frequented by locals and even foreign visitors (i.e. Makati Central Business District, Araneta Center, Ortigas Business District, and Bonifacio Global City).

The stunning view of San Agustin Church from the coro or choir loft. Notice the marvelously painted (yes painted, not carved!) ceiling.

The stunning view of San Agustin Church from the coro or choir loft. Notice the marvelously painted (yes painted, not carved!) ceiling.

The clausura of San Agustin is sadly the only cloister left in modern Intramuros. After the Battle of Manila, the churches and convents were destroyed either by artillery fire or demolition.

The clausura of San Agustin is sadly the only cloister left in modern Intramuros. After the Battle of Manila, the churches and convents were destroyed either by artillery fire or demolition.

At any rate, my guests still tell me how they enjoyed and learned so many things about Philippine history and cultural heritage through my tours in Intramuros. Usually, my tours start at Plaza Roma then we proceed to the Manila Cathedral, San Agustin Church and Museum, Plaza San Luis then we pass by the Ayuntamiento, the Intendencia, the Maestranza, the Puerta de Isabela II, then we pass by el Colegio de San Juan de Letran and from there, we walk ON the walls (Muralla), passing the Puerta del Parian and exiting at the baluarte (bulwark) in front of the Lyceum. My tours usually end with meriendas or drinks at the Skydeck of the Bayleaf Hotel, which offers breathtaking views of the Manila Bay. It’s a wonderful experience to watch the iconic Manila sunset from the said restaurant which gives you a 360 degree view of the city.

Benny and Jeane at the San Agustin Musuem.

With Benny and Jeane at the Bayleaf Hotel's Skydeck with the Manila City Hall at the background.

With Benny and Jeane at the Bayleaf Hotel’s Skydeck with the Manila City Hall at the background.

For your Intramuros or San Miguel tour needs, don’t hesitate to reach me at 0917-4690717.

Intramuros' skyline just after the sun had set.

Intramuros’ skyline just after the sun had set.

Manila despite its countless problems and ugly/dangerous areas has so numerous nooks of beauty and inspiration. It’s always a joy for me to bring people to those places hicieron ayer.

A view of the National Museum complex from the Bayleaf Hotel's Skydeck

A view of the National Museum complex from the Bayleaf Hotel’s Skydeck

#VisitthePhilippines2015
#VisitPHL2015
#Itsmorefuninthephilippines

About hechoayer

Things made yesterday still influence us until today. Things made today will influence us tomorrow. Things of the essence such as faith, culture, food, music and values should never disappear nor eroded by the times. Instead, these must be recorded, lived and shared. Something made yesterday - hecho ayer - can be tomorrow's saving grace. Never ignore the past.
This entry was posted in GUIA: TOURS, OLD MANILA and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Recent Intramuros Tours

  1. David says:

    How to contact you? ¿Cómo contactarle? Me ha gustado mucho su blog. I liked very much your blog!

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