The Walled City of Intramuros

At last I got the chance to visit the most historical site in Metro Manila. That site, of course, is Intramuros. It is located at the heart of Manila and stores the large part of Philippine history.

Intramuros is the center of the Spanish colonial government during the time when the Philippines is under the rule of the Spanish Empire. Intramuros is both a city and a fort and is protected by thick walls made of adobe and cannons that were used to repel foreign invaders and Filipino revolutionaries. Now, Intramuros serve as the country’s largest open-air museum showcasing different relics of the past.


I visited Intramuros during my birthday, accompanied by a friend. I thought that I will tour the whole Intramuros by foot. Thankfully, a pedicab driver cum tour guide offered us a ride.
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Touring Inside Intramuros



A visitor of Intramuros can visit the many points of interest by walking. However, this is not recommended for those who have a limited time to tour the place. Intramuros is a big place and walking will tire you out before you enjoy the sites and the relics within the whole city.


What I recommend is that you hire a pedicab driver (note: pedicab is a bicycle with a sidecar covered from sunlight and rain) to take you to the many places in Intramuros. The pedicab driver/tour guide knows the ins and outs of Intramuros. The one we hired, for instance, is armed with a pamphlet showing the historical places within the walled city. Thus, you could rely to the pedicab driver to tour you around the place if you are not sure where to go. The pedicab driver charges 100 pesos per hour. In the end of the tour I paid him 200 pesos for the two hours of service plus a tip of 50 pesos.


Aside for the pedicab, you could also hire a “kalesa” (a horse drawn carriage) to tour you around the city, but it is more expensive hiring a pedicab. You may also opt for a formal tour offered by established tour companies and associations in Intramuros. The formal tour offers a ride on nice kalesa (probably a model of kalesa used by the affluent during the Spanish period) and a certified tour guide. However, it is the most expensive of all the touring options in Intramuros.
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A foreign tourist enjoying her tour on a “kalesa”







Baluarte de San Andres


Our first stop is Baluarte de San Andres. It was built in 1903 to protect the Old Real Gate (the gate facing the Manila City Hall) and reinforce the Southeastern part of Intramuros. The Baluarte suffered two major destructions; the first is during the British siege of Manila (1762) and the Battle of Manila (1945). What I like most in this site is the set of cannons that were preserved since Spanish times. I couldn’t help but imagine a scene where our Katipuneros were being bombarded by these deadly cannons.

Here are some of my pictures of the cannons in this baluarte:

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Puerta Real and Revellin de Real


These two places serve as a mini-museum of Intramuros. Puerta Real and Revellin de Real contain old bells, samurais and kabutos (armor of a Japanese warrior), ancient guns, small cannons and cannon balls. These ancient relics were unearthed within Intramuros. However, you could only look through the window to see these relics since entering the room holding these things is prohibited.

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A room filled with cannons, guns, and helmets. The ball on the table on the lower left corner is a cannonball.
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This is the largest of all the bells present in the room.
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Here’s the few of the samurais unearthed within Intramuros.



San Agustin Church


The San Agustin Church is one of the churches that were built inside the walled city. Unfortunately, I did not get the chance to see the altar and the other things inside the church because it was locked. Because of this, I just contented myself at looking at the beautifully engraved doors of the church.

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The locked doors of San Agustin Church.
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Attempts to enter the church were thwarted by the threat of being eaten by the Church’s guards.



Manila Cathedral


The Manila Cathedral was the place where the late President Cory Aquino was interned before she was sent to her final resting place. The cathedral serves as the office of the Archbishop of Manila. Located at the heart of Intramuros, the cathedral symbolizes the importance of the Church in the Philippine society.

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The entrance to the Manila Cathedral.
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Inside Manila Cathedral. The altar is too far be seen.
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This is the best church door that I had ever seen.
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The Church, the ship of salvation.



Fort Santiago


Our last stop is none other than Fort Santiago. The fort is the oldest fortification in Manila and dates back to the time of Rajah Soliman. Various places could be found inside Fort Santiago like Jose Rizal’s prison cell before he was sent to his execution in Bagumbayan (now known as Rizal Park), Rizal’s last footsteps, and the Dungeons. There is also a well-maintained park with food and souvenir shops. There is an entrance fee of seventy-five (75) Philippine pesos to enter the fort.

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If you see this iron sculpture, then you know that you are in For Santiago.
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This is the real entrance to Fort Santiago.
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Rizal’s “footsteps”
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I didn’t know that I am much much taller than Jose Rizal.



Other Interesting Places in Intramuros


We also saw other places inside Intramuros. Here are some of them:

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Gallery of Philippine Presidents.
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Replica of General MacArthur and President Quezon.
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Streets of Intramuros
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Guns and cannons of Intramuros
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Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, which is under renovation.


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6 comments:

  1. My first time in Intramuros was early last year with my college friends. We managed to walk from Baluarte de San Andres all the way to Fort Santiago. Tiring but it's all worth it.

    I remember going down the small gate of the dungeon somewhere in Fort Santiago. Someone approached me and told me that voices could be heard down there especially in the afternoon. Probably the voices of those who were confined a long time ago. We were all hesitant to go down but I really wanted to check it out so I gathered all my courage and initiated the act. I positioned my ear close to the gate. I even looked inside. I heard nothing!

    Were you able to go inside the Rizal Museum? His backbone gave me goosebumps. I'd like to go back there. Thanks to our Rizal subject, it made me admire our national hero more.

    Okay, enough. Haha.

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  2. Haha! Yup, I also went to that dungeon gate but I did not hear anythig. I also visited Rizal Museum but I forgot to take pictures of the museum pieces.

    I like Intramuros, but I am more focused on the guns and the armaments. I don't know. Maybe being super interested in wars made me think that way.

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  3. I just couldn't remember the year when I had a visit of Intramuros. For sure though, it was during my college years. We went there one night just so we could experience a dinner there and nothing much I could remember about the place. Reading this post reminded me that I should visit this historical place again. And yeah, Rizal was kind or short, around 5' or 4'11. How's that for a typical Pinoy guy? Great post. Thanks as well for dropping by my place. See yah around blogosphere! ^_^

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  4. Haha...the ghosts of Intramurs is calling you back to visit them. :-)

    Hope you get there back again.

    Thank you too for visiting my place.

    God bless.

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  5. wow! this reminds me the first time i went to Intramuros, too. and it's been a long time.

    hope to c u in my blog, too :)

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  6. Heya Leaves,

    I am glad that I brought memories of your visit to Intramuros.

    Thanks for visiting me here. I'll drop by your blog. Hope to read from you again here.

    ReplyDelete

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