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Monday, July 25, 2011



Intramuros Front Gate
My office in 2009 through 2010, was in the port area of Manila, Philippines and right outside of this gate of the old walled city.  Intramuros is the oldest district of the present day city of Manila, the capital of the Republic of the Philippines. Nicknamed the "Walled City", Intramuros is the historic fortified city of Manila during the Spanish Colonial Period. Located then along Manila Bay and south of the mouth of Pasig River, its thick defensive walls were built by the Spaniards in the 16th century to protect the city from invasion. Its name in Spanish, intramuros, literally "within the walls", meaning a city enclosed by thick, high walls and surrounded by moats.

Old City Map

Often, I would go there to conduct business such as work permits and banking.  My fiance, now my wife, suggested we tour Fort Santiago.

Pearl at Fort Santiago Entrance

The fort was the site of several key battles over the years.  Built in 1571 it was destroyed in 1574.
Pearl at the cannon
Me at the cannon

Golden Foot Print of Rizal
1896.  A national hero of the Philippines, Jose Rizal, was held prisoner by the Spanish and executed nearby on December 30, 1896.  Moments before his execution by a squad of Filipino soldiers of the Spanish Army, a backup force of regular Spanish Army troops stood ready to shoot the executioners should they run awry. The Spanish Army Surgeon General requested to take his pulse: it was normal. Aware of this the Sergeant commanding the backup force hushed his men to silence when they began raising "vivas" with the highly partisan crowd of Peninsular and Mestizo Spaniards.  His steps are traced in gold.  It was powerful to see.

Unlikely Soldier
Later, after the Spanish-American War, Intramuros was the headquarters of the US Army.  The US trained Filipino soldiers and we got to try on their uniforms.

Pearl looks serious
In 1941, the Japanese invaded and kept many prisoners in the dungeons of Intramuros.

Pearl in the Dungeon

Pearl in front of Casa Maynila
After touring Fort Santiago, we headed over to Casa Maynila.  It is a reproduction of how people lived in the 1800's Reproduction because, during the Battle of Manila in 1945, every building was destroyed.  Not many pictures on the inside because it was forbidden to take photos.  We would have done it anyway, but the guards haunt you.  I guess they get a bonus if they catch you.

Pearl at the garden of Casa Maynila

I highly recommend the Carlos Celdran tour.  We caught the last bit of this one as we had to go work an overnight shift.   Carlos Celdran is not only knowledgeable but he is hilarious and some of routines make the history come alive.  You can book him here.  Overall, the tour of Intramuros was inexpensive and historical.  We made a lot of our own fun.  We went in January so it was cooler than usual.  But still beware the tropical sun and drink plenty of water.


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