The gate into Intramuros
When I got up in the morning, I was surprised to find the
headache had completely gone and my friends were more than ready to show me
around Intramuros. Intramuros is part of the old Manila
city. It is a small fort town built by the Spanish when they first came to
colonize the Philippines.
Today, it has been preserved as a historical site to commemorate the national
hero, Jose Rizal. A politican as well as a poet, Rizal is the pioneer of
Filipino nationalism. He was sentenced to death by the Spanish rulers for his
dangerous political movement. His footsteps from the cell to his execution spot
are now engraved throughout Intramuros and could easily be traced by visitors.
There’s a museum inside featuring the remnants of Jose Rizal, including the
last poem he wrote before his execution and one of his ribs which was pierced
by a bullet as he was being executed.
The Manila Cathedral in front of Intramuros
Only a short walk from Intramuros, there’s Casa Manila. It’s
an old colonial house which has been converted into a museum. What amazed
everyone here was an ancient sort-of flush toilet with two seats side by side.
We were told later that in the past, people apparently enjoyed doing tête-à-tête
conversation in CR (a.k.a comfort room – that’s how Filipino people refer to
restroom/water closet). Well, ok … but not for me, thank you.
Although still eager to explore more, the hot weather soon
exhausted me. “But it’s not hot at all,” my friends dismissed my complaint,
“You have to come here in April to feel what the real hot is like.” Although
is a tropical country, apparently there’s a season here called “summer.
Following Jose Rizal's foot steps
suspect it is due to the unbearable heat of the season. Because the day started
to become cloudy and it seemed very likely to rain, we decided to walk to dungeon
Starbucks. It is named such because it’s located in the dungeon of Intramuros
although the interior is not different from a million other Starbucks around
the world. Still, it’s lovely to sit down with a cup of hot drink while looking
at the rain outside.
When the rain stopped, we took taxi to Baywalk. It was
nearly sunset and we saw a couple having their pre-wedding photo shoots there. Then
I tried halo-halo in the legendary restaurant, Aristocrat. Halo-halo is a
famous Filipino dessert which mixes jelly, fruit, and ice cream together.
At night we went to a bar called Hobbit House in A Mabini Street. If
Max Brenner has bald waiters, Hobbit House has dwarves to serve customers.
There’s an entrance fee 125 pesos per person to get inside the bar.