Despite having once been a Manila girl, this year is the first time I’ve gotten a closer look at Manila’s oldest district – Intramuros. It may not have been the first time I stepped foot on it, but it is definitely the first time that I actually felt connected, felt interested and was enchanted by Manila’s history and how Intramuros came to be what it is today.
I always thought touring Intramuros would be boring and tiring but while taking the time to go around Intramuros with the Bagets and again for my Rizal Passport – I realized Intramuros had more to offer.
History is boring. I never liked AP classes or Philippine Constitution and I’d get so bored just studying it. However, when you’re in there – in that specific place where history happened, it’s a different story. It doesn’t seem at all boring.
The “Walled City” has much more to offer than just the old walls, the tiled floors and the old structures – in fact, it’s such a charming place that if you’re into photography walks and history, Intramuros is the place to be.
Once huge, the Intramuros of today only consists of part of its total area. The monuments, walls, museums, gates, churches and ruins that remain include:
The University of Santo Tomas – or at least its old location is now reinstated with a statue replica of Miguel de Benavides, who is the founder of UST.
Fort Santiago – which had been the Spanish military headquarters, had most of its parts renovated after it was severely destructed during the war. Today, the fort now stands as a museum for some of the country’s most remembered moments.
This is also where Rizal Shrine is located. Entrance to Fort Santiago is P75 for adults and P50 for students.
Ateneo Municipal de Manila – its original location, now called the Clamshell 1, which is a place for events.
Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila – or PLM, also built in Intramuros and had previously been the location where Cuartel de Ray had been built, a place where Jose Rizal was put to trial.
Puerta Isabel II – the last of all the gates to be built but had been damaged during the war. The remains of this gate is only about 15 chambers.
Aduana or Intendencia – or the remains of Customs House. Below is its history:
Hospital De San Juan De Dios – Now standing in its place is Lyceum of the Philippines University
Plazuela de Sta. Isabel – a monument dedicated to the victims of the war
Casa Manila – which is a recreation of what upper class homes had looked like. Utmost care is requested in Casa Manila, I remember we were only allowed to step or walk on a carpet for safety’s sake during my 6th grade field trip.
Manila Cathedral – the most important church in the country, built and rebuilt several times.
Palacio Del Gobernador – this had been the home of the Spanish Governor recreated to become the structure that had been destroyed in the 1863 earthquake.
Manila Bulletin – the location which San Nicolas de Tolentino Church had once stood
Freedom Wall – a park filled with graffiti and drawing where young kids spent some time skateboarding was one of my favorite spots of my Intramuros tour. It reminded me a little of Mexico and gangster movies – except this park was quite small, but interestingly had a lot of great works by talented people. If you’ll be taking photographs, don’t miss this part, getting great shots of the youngsters here is a cool story for photographs.
There is more of Intramuros that I haven’t seen, visited or admittedly – understood, however, if you have time, make sure to do a walk around the walled city of Manila, at least through this post, you have an idea on places to visit in Intramuros.
The best thing about Intramuros though – is that it’s probably one of the cleanest places in the city, bears the historical charm and is a place where catching fresh air is actually possible.