Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Returning to The Walled City - Intramuros, Manila

The last time was in 2003, when my cousin Erin was around and we showed her the place. Luckily, that wasn't my first time in Intramuros but it seemed all new to me because the first time I went there it was nighttime and there were some bands playing some tunes over near the ruins of a church.

This time we went there to walk around the area with our guest, member Barbskie who has been living in Switzerland for the past oh, 20 years or so. The rustic charm of the walled city is still evident. Some areas had been restored while others still stood where it was 400 years ago. Like the San Agustin Church. Nothing much has changed. Although what really caught my eye, which I didn't notice before, were the chinese figures (in the likeness of dogs) that were made to stay under the idols in the facade. there, of course, was the contrast of the Spanish and Chinese cultures. The european touch is more simple and predictable while the asian - as mysterious, alive and invigorating.

There was the Manila Cathedral where several weddings were being held literally one after the other. It's rather costly to get married there these days and I heard that if you would like to tie the knot there, you'd have to book it 1 year in advance. 1 year?! Facing the cathedral was a statue of King Carlos (I think that's what his name is) who had sent vaccines to the Philippines. Good guy? I wouldn't be so certain. Maybe so to deserve a monument. The Spaniards may have wrought havoc in our land but they did do some good things too.

As we walked along, coming from the ruins of a church, I noticed a lone brick window of a dimly lit room. It looked really old and I couldn't be certain whether it was made to look that way or it has really stood the test of time. Anyway, it did catch my fancy so I figured it was worth having a creative shot of it. I tweaked the settings of my camera (it is one of those point and shoot cams with some manual settings on it), positioned myself right in front of it and took the shot. As the flash came on, a voice emanated from that dark room... it was a man, in his underwear, his back facing me! Apparently, he was startled by my intrusion and got up from where he was. I was surprised too and got a little scared, that I ran toward my companions who were about 100 meters away from where I was standing. They had a laugh when I told them what just happened.

We didn't have the time to go to Fort Santiago because the guys wanted to watch the sunset at Manila Bay. After all, that, according to some, is one of the most picturesque in Manila.

Intramuros is still beautiful and would be a perfect venue for a Filipiniana wedding. Well, you might be wondering about the Manila Bay sunset - we were late!

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