“To foretell the destiny of a nation, it is necessary to open the book that tells of her past.”
Intramuros, the “Walled City”, was a fortress for the soldiers of WWII. Stretching for about two kilometers in length, this historical site is located in Manila, Philippines. Now at 5 centuries old, it has transformed into a landmark visited by tourists and locals alike.
Intramuros goes back in the 16th century when Spanish Conquistadors discovered the Philippines. You will see the year etched at the stones from when it has been built. I am almost certain that you would be amazed (as I have been) knowing that you can still touch and feel these silent witnesses to history. It somehow gives you a yearning to dig deeper and know the secrets that the walls have kept.
Built at the mouth of Pasig River, Intramuros served as the seat of trade, politics, education, religion, and power. It has been acknowledged by the late kings of Spain, a place of stature during the American and British reign, and was the last stronghold of the Japanese colonizers. No wonder why Manila is a melting pot of cultural influences!
And surely, the place lived up to its promise. It served as the shelter for its inhabitants before and now a sanctuary for the delicate artifacts of the years forgotten. It’s being preserved meticulously that it feels like you did jump in time just walking down one of its streets.
Read on to see how you can travel back in time thru the silent walls of Intramuros!
There are two ways on how you can enjoy the place. First, you can join a day tour or second, have a delicious walk from the outside walls to the churches deep inside the place. Day tours offered are a way of seeing and feeling the past with the guides turned historians (that’s about how good they are). Either way, it would take you about 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on your pace. If you don’t want to sweat out because of walking, you can still hire local rickshaws or bicycles made out of bamboo!
But one thing is for sure, the place is highly photogenic you would end up having a thousand good photos after.
The restaurants and canteens have the Filipino theme for every meal. My top favorites are Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant for a buffet style of feast, Ilustrado for a high-end type of dining, and 9 Spoons at the Bayleaf Intramuros for a relaxing vibe. Otherwise, eating at nearby cafés and canteens are not so bad for its price.
Try Adobo, the crowd favorite and do not let Sinigang go out of your menu. I highly recommend Halo-Halo for dessert and finish all with a cold mango shake on the side. For a different dining experience, try out Balut!
People are very generous with helping tourists, especially with directions; however, be mindful of the ones who would charge you even though they are not registered guides. There are also plenty of hungry children outside, and we managed to feed a few before moving on to the next spot. If you do not want these hassles, I recommend you plan out your tour with a travel agency. Carlos Celdran’s Day Tour is the best out of all, he is a performing artist/guide, and surely you would be taken away by his impeccable service.
Lastly, do not attempt to go at night; you will appreciate the place more in broad daylight. Also, it speaks for your ultimate safety if you go during the day.