AWESOME photoset of Intramuros. You got a great shot of the graffiti wall on Anda Street.
When non-Filipinos plan a trip to the Philippines, they are often advised to spend as little time as possible in Manila and just jet off to their island paradise of choice (Palawan, Bohol, Sirgao, Batanes, etc).
I’ve never felt that way, of course. Manila is chaotic, for sure, bit it’s home for me, and I love it - traffic, noise, dirt, and grime notwithstanding. My family lives not too far from the the city of Manila and when I lived in Manila and I had friends from abroad visiting, I always make sure to take at least a day to show them Old Manila: Intramuros, Fort Santiago, San Agustin Church, Manila Cathedral, Rizal Park, Binondo. My mom and I love shopping in Escolta and Carriedo for stuff and in Ongpin for food. I think the drive along Roxas Boulevard towards the Quiapo Bridge has many buildings that showcase the Philippines’ rich Architectural Heritage. It’s quite amazing, really, but it does take a lot of effort to see past the traffic and poverty that dominate the landscape.
For those interested in seeing the beauty of Manila, I highly recommend that you check out Walk This Way - a tour of Old Manila led by Carlos Celdran.
Carlos is funny, witty, opinionated, irreverent, and very, very animated. Don’t expect a textbook-like tour, an affirmation of MacArthur’s god-like persona, blind veneration of Uncle Sam and everything American. If you’re a conservative Catholic, this might not be the best tour for you. Not that Carlos is anti-Catholic or anti-religion (the tour included a moment of silence and saying the Our Father to commemorate the fallen Filipinos of WWII), but my sense is that he is against the Medieval way Catholicism/Religion practiced in the Philippines and this is quite evident in the tour. Anyway, ‘nuff said about that.
What really comes through in the tour is Carlos’ love for Manila. He’s passionate about raising awareness on the importance of preserving Old Manila - a place so rich in history and beauty if one takes the time to see past the modern-day distractions.
I’d like to come back to Manila and experience Carlos Celdran’s tour :)