The Walking Tour of Intramuros
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A few months before my trip back home, I'd been reading a blog about a walking tour of Intramuros by Carlos Celdran. The reviews of those who'd taken the tour were positive, I thought I'd give it a try once I get back to the Philippines for the holidays. Despite the fact that I had only a week to spend home, I decided to attend the tour, along with my brother and my nephew.
As we lived quite far from Manila, we woke up real early to get to the meet up place on time. We over estimated the travel time, so we got to Intramuros an hour before the tour. We had time for a breakfast of several cups of taho (soy with caramelized sugar and gelatin), and got to watch a wedding happening at the Manila Cathedral.
For those not familiar, Intramuros is the oldest district of the city of Manila. The name literally means "within the walls". During the Spanish colonial period of the Philippines, Intramuros was a city in itself, the government, military and church had their headquarters inside. The most powerful people in the country lived and did their business inside this walled city.
So it's not surprising that the oldest Catholic structures are inside Intramuros. The San Agustin Church, which has a beautiful garden, museum and well, the church itself is glorious. If you want to have your wedding here, you need to reserve at least a year in advance. My other favorite church is the Manila Cathedral. It has beautiful sculptures and a grand altar.
The tour walked us through the history of Manila (and the Philippines) from the Spanish Colonial Period, to the American Period, through World War II, post-war, the Marcos era until the present.
At the end of that tour, I found myself more appreciative of my country's history. Almost everyday, we hear bad news from the Philippines. But for those three hours, I saw my country through different eyes. And I do hope the foreigners in our group got a better understanding of the Filipino culture.