the old spanish manila and dining at nihao china town! bwahaha!
Manila Travel Blog› entry 61 of 106 › view all entries
April 25th, 2009 – by: lauro
so we left las piñas at 1:00 pm, because i dont know if were gonna get caught in a traffic jam. as usual, it was only a one bus ride to go there. to be honest, i had mixed feelings going back to my old college. i am proud that it is the oldest boys school/college in asia founded in 1620 by the spanish dominicans and having our own saint! san vicente liem de la paz!!! and yet, i am regretful that i didnt finished my college.
as we entered the border of manila, i was more excited that ben was! i felt like i was back in time 13 years ago! riding the bus early morning to catch my classes at the colegio which was psychology. meeting friends and classmates at the benches of the psychology department, or smoking outside the colegio entrance before going to class or deciding whether to cut classes! hahahaha oh so many memories, specially with my best friend in college, were we used to cut classes in trigonometry and economics because it puts us vietually to sleep! hahahaha and coercing other classmates to cut classes in sociology! ahahahaha then attending classes drunk!, then gambling inside the classroom hahahaha those were the good old days of studying! less book less writing but more cutting classes! hahahaha
ben couldnt believe what he was seeing - HE WAS SUPPOSED TO BE THE ONE WHOE EXCITED AFTERALL! but the twinkle in my eyes wont fade as we passed the longest street in manila - taft avenue, oh so many memories of my teenage years.
we got off at lawton station, i know, i still remember! but its dangerous to go to the underpass because lots of street urchins roam it and rob people, so even if its illegal, ben and me crossed the wide avenue as fast as we can to avoid going down the underpass!
we were there an hour early but it doenst matter, as i am really really teary eyed seeing my colegio, el colegio de san juan de letran! call me corny, but i guess, if a person like me, puts everything behind and then visiting the place again after so many years, it puts back so many memories that will always put smiles on my face even if i am in my downest.
the colegio still didnt changed though! it still has the same beautiful belle epoque facade, but i am so curious to see it inside, but i intended not to, as i would feel embarassed while jumping inside! hahahaha. we went up to the old fotress built by the spaniards to protect against invaders, then went down and suprised to see white tourists around the area. then we went to the back of the colegio because i wanted to see the gym. still didnt changed.... the only thing missing was the swimming pool, because it was now replaced by tennis courts, i remember our physical education which was swimming and i was forced to learn to swim just to be able to pass it! hahahhaa
then we got thirsty and went to 7-11 to buy some drinks and sat there. ben ordered a slurpee something with coconut milk and he didnt liked it, taste like medicine he said! hahaha.
the reason why i want to meet ted, is that he is chinese, he can guide us to the chinatown easily and also to be honest, even if i studied in the colegio, i do not know the old spanish manila very well, because i dont go out the vicinity of the colegio, sounds stupid but its true! hahaaha i only knew the entrance to the colegio and puerta de isabella II! hahahaha.
after we finished our drink, we set off and walked up in the old wall of intramuros, the itineray was to find casa manila, iglesia de san agustin - the oldest church in asia and manila cathedral - the oldest cathedral in asia.
we walked along the old wall and every remaining casement, there were mock soldiers dressed in old spanish uniform! then we went down and entered puerta del parian, but there was a wedding about to take place, so we didnt stayed long.
then we passed for the first time in my life cobblestone street in manila! now we are in the old city! we saw san agustin church, the oldest church in asia built in 1607, we cuoldnt get inside because there was a wedding, then just across it is casa manila, a spanish colonial villa which is converted into a house gallery, it is beautiful inside, it really puts me back in time, because everything was spanish style, the writings and even the security guards who were also dressed in mock spanish army uniform in the colonial times.
then the last part is to head to the largest and oldest cathedral in asia, the manila cathedral or basilica minore de imaculada concepcion. to be honest, the cathedral would never ever be compared to the majestic cathedrals in europe, but it has a distinction that no other cathedral in the world would claim - it was destroyed by a typhoon, a fire, 2 earhquakes and world war 2 and yet is still standing proudly in the city of manila and stood all the tests of time!
after that, it was time for refreshments! we decided to eat dinner in chinatown! we took a cab and stopped at binondo, the heart of the chinatown. ben was so wideyed seeing the chaos on the streets mixed with chinese billboards and signs all over!
the manila chinatown is the oldest chinatown in the world! it was established in 1594 as the philippines and china had trade relationship centuries ago!
ted suggested we eat at eng bee tin, i laughed so hard! because comedy shows all made fun of the word "eng bee tin" i thought it was an urban myth! but it was not! the establishment is for real! hahaha
when we went there, as usual, the chinese are the first class race, as ted said and i know it because i had a spanish-chinese boss before.
the chinatown is a mix of chaotic structures, condominiums for the rich chinese and poor shacks from the poor filipinos. a strange but very curious mixture!
then ted wanted to have some coffee at makati city, where it is calmer, because in the china town it is so chaotic! so we hailed a taxi going to makati city, but this is what i hate about taxis, the driver wont go into makati city because of the traffic jam and he wanted more money from us, i mean it is stupid, why drive a taxi if you choose the destination and not the passengers themselves?! crap! eventually ted made a bargain with him!
we stopped first at ted's condominium to fetch his car and he drove us to the "poshiest" place in metro manila, called the fort and serendra.
but its so weird! we still didnt had any letter of confirmation! anyway we took a walk in serendra where people pose with their dogs wearing expensive clothes while ben and me laughed. hahahaha.
we decided to have coffee at bo's where its so fucking expensive and the people on the other table were so loud with their fake american accents. after a couple of hours it was time to leave! as we have to rest for our "flight" tomorrow!
we thanked ted for a nice company and he brought us with his car halfway to las piñas!
thank you very much ted for a nice tour of history!!!
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