Walking at Steamy Manila Noon

Manila: Past and Rough

Its been a while since I last walked the old Manila. Somehow, I have this fascination over urban exploration, despite that I prefer living in the suburbs or even at the provinces. I am provoked for some adventure without going far or bleeding my wallet to death. Good thing though, my friend Gibb from Cebú was here. The tour wasn’t planned nor choreographed. We just like to see Manila in its real heartbeat. So off we walked from San Agustin Church in Intramuros to Quiapo Church which is in-of course Quiapo!

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Plaza Mexico: A Little Forgotten Spot in Intramuros

The 400 Years of Maritime Expedition Monument of Mexico and Philippines

While most of the people focused on the landing of Galeón Andalucia in Manila last week, my friend Gibb and I stumbled on this area that seemed to have been forgotten by time (and perhaps some maintenance too) itself. Called as Plaza Mexico, this place-the banks of Pasig River in Intramuros Manila-has been the original port of call of the fabled galleons of the past. Indeed, the 270 years of galleon trade that became one of the Spanish Empire’s economic machinery and an event that triggered globalization into a whole new level.

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Fortress by the River: Fort Santiago of Manila

Fort Santiago Gate

After lunch, we head back to Intramuros and went to our ultimate destination: Fort Santiago. Why ultimate? Because it is where Jose Rizal was incarcerated for the last days of his life. Before he was shot in Luneta (err…Bagumbayan), he was imprisoned here by the Spanish authorities due to accusations of instigating mass revolts that are erupting all over Luzon and some parts of the country.

What is it about Fort Santiago? Except that it is popular as a fieldtrip destination of kids and tourists, it is one focal point of authority during the Spanish colonial era…a manifestation of foreign grip in the Philippines.  It is located at the northernmost part of the walled city, like a sentinel guarding the mouth of Pasig River and the walled city itself. Its location is as strategic as it is important to the Spanish crown colony, as most of the military power emanates from this fuerza real. Continue reading Fortress by the River: Fort Santiago of Manila

Intramuros: From Puerta Real to Plaza Roma

It was almost 11AM when we left Luneta for Intramuros as we continue our walk in reminiscing Rizal’s last footsteps. Sure enough, Intramuros is just a walk away from the park…but beware of crossing Padre Burgos Street though…big trucks and cars rush over the road…just wait for the pedestrian crossing light to turn green, ok? In anyways, it was just a short walk entering Puerta Real and Revellin de Real de Bagumbayan…the Royal Gates of the medieval Manila that was.

Intramuros in a glimpse was THE Manila of the Spanish colonial era. The Spaniards live here amidst the protection of its walls and fully-armed cannoned baluartes from the foreigners or extranjeros such as piratas, Moros, Briton, Neerlandes, Portugues and most especially Chinos infiel. Built from Rajah Matanda’s old wooden palisade community called Maynilad, the settlement grew to be the colony’s center of governance. It survived all the way until World War II when it was heavily damaged during “The Liberation” in 1945 which was also the venue for hundreds of thousands slain by the Japanese imperial troops in the wake of the American forces “liberating” Manila. Three decades later, it was restored and now managed by the Intramuros Administration under the Office of the Philippine President.

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July 2011
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