History class was never this entertaining. A tour in and around the walled city of Intramuros in Manila, discussing briefly its significance in Philippine history.
I never thought a tiny walled city could mean so much in history. Not until I joined a barter tour inside the famed Intramuros in Manila.
The barter tour is called Walk This Way. It is being handled by an uber enthusiastic tour guide/historian/activist Carlos Celdran. It is one of those “to do” things if ever you get to visit Manila. Also, it was called a barter tour because instead of paying for the tour, you trade-in creative things that you might want to give Carlos. He also accepts back rubs if you will. In my case, I gave him a plastic camera with an underwater casing, plus film. The tour, if you don’t barter, would cost 1,000 pesos (around US$30) per head. It is a 2-and-a-half hour tour, which would take you around the walled city of Intramuros while Carlos talks about Philippine history. He talks about the events, people, culture that we might have read in history books and those that weren’t written about.
Walking in and around Intramuros gives you an idea of how important this place is to Filipino history. It was the seat of power during the Spanish occupation, not only for the government but also for Catholicism. Here, we could see the ruins of where the once mighty Spanish conquistadors took office as well as the oldest church built in the country. Towering over all this walled city is the bell tower of the Manila Cathedral, which signifies which seat rules over the other. The walls themselves are astonishing, you might think over how they made such walls and structures during such primitive times. People may not know that these huge stones and other materials used in putting up this city were all imported from other neighboring countries and as far as Spain and Mexico.
The tour talks about the pre-Spanish era up to the end of the Fil-American era. It was very educational and many times entertaining, especially those snippets of trivia that you might not be able to read in many history books. This tour could be your whole college history course in itself. It also shows how destructive wars can be. The bombs that were dropped during WWII pulverized most of Intramuros, what was left were pieces of the good and bad of Filipino history. Intramuros serves as a symbol of what Filipinos have came to be. Amidst destruction and hard times, it still stands out throughout the years.
And for that one huge bomb that was dropped during WWII, who dropped it? You might just need to join the next barter tour to know whose it is.