Intramuros, the Old Walled City of Manila, which my favorite National Artist, Nick Joaquin immortalized its former glory in the many essays, plays and books he wrote about life inside the ancient walls.
Joaquin described the time when the day dawns sa loob ng Maynila and the cobblestones echo with the clip-clop of horses’ hooves. The guardia civil opens the Parian gate and Chinese merchants throng its puerta to set up their stalls for the day. Students make their pensive way to the many universities within a walking distance from Fort Santiago, where the morning-shift guardia civil man the defenses.
Not very long, the Governor-General will be passing in his carruaje through the Puerta Real on his way to the Palacio del Gobernador to attend his office while a friar paces meditatively a top a bridge way above Calle Real to San Agustin Church.
The rising sun lights up the elaborate façade of wealthy Spanish casas, with their capiz shell windows, heavily carved doors and solid piedra china flagstones.
Close to four hundred years, Intramuros was the Spanish medieval nucleus. It was the core of Philippine church and state until its cruel decimation when Americans and Japanese forces reduced the walls to shambles and the city to rubble during Liberation of Manila in 1945.
Today, I cannot count the number of visits I had in historic Intramuros. The pleasure of reminiscing those educational grade school field trips at Fort Santiago or the several memorable weddings we attended at San Agustin and annual visita iglesias we had which according to family tradition should always begin at the Manila Cathedral make me go back sa loob ng Maynila over and over.
It was a few years ago when I had my first walking tour of Intramuros. Just like the Amazing Race, our history professor listed down the “pit stops” within the Walled City. The instruction for this mandatory project was to take photos of these places, write a reflection about the tour and present the project in a fancy folder. After that whole day tour, Intramuros has become a curiosity.
Probably it’s the nostalgia of my youth or perhaps the history heard deep within the ancient stones which I never gotten tired of listening again and again where I found inspiration to walk around Intramuros’ moss-covered adobe walls and travel back in time to its romantic glory over and over until this day.
Part 1 –Intramuros ׀ Part 2 –Plaza Roma ׀ Part 3 –The Art of Manila Cathedral ׀ Part 4 –A Short Walk from Postigo Gate ׀ Part 5 –Bitter-Sweet Love Story (Scandal) of 1621 ׀ Part 6 –Casa Manila ׀ Part 7 –San Agustin Church ׀ Part 8 –San Agustin Museum ׀ Part 9 –Father Sepulveda Murder Case ׀ Part 10 –The Augustinians, Franciscans, Jesuits, Dominicans and Recollects | Part 11 – The Assassination of General Bustamante | Part 12 –The Power and Might of the Cross ׀ Part 13 – Lady in Blue Sash and the Cradle of Basketball in the Philippines ׀ Part 14 –Calle Muralla ׀ Part 15 –Trail, Travels and Travails of the Statue of Isabel | Part 16 – Nung Bata Pa si Sabel | Part 17 – Around Intendencia ׀ Part 18 –The Legend of the Twisted Sword ׀ Part 19 – Fortress of Empire: Fort Santiago | Part 20 –Tales of Death from the Dungeons and Jail Cells of Fort Santiago ׀ Part 21 –The Lost Villages of Extramuros | Part 22 –The Grand Marian Procession | Part 23 –Maynila, Ever Noble and Loyal City