You don’t need to sail away to China to see the grandiose Great Wall. Not far from where we all live, there is a district of historic attractions. It is in the very heart of thePearlof the Orient situated within the Pasig River and in close proximity to the Manila Bay. History and mystery are built into the two and three-quarter miles of walls that surround the old capital of the Philippines.
How to get there? Just an hour of a bus ride, jeepney or train, can make your travel worthwhile. You can ride a G-Liner going to Quiapo, go down by SM Manila and take a short walk. Or the MRT and alight in UN Avenue and walk going to Luneta. With few pennies in your pocket, you could tour around the heart of Manila for just a day.
If you want to see a well-maintained park where visitors can enjoy the nostalgic legacy of the bygone Spanish Colonial Era within its gardens, Intramuros is the perfect place to be, where the heavens opened and hell broke loose. To watch great, small, dirty, fascinating and incredible lives which rise and fall, bloom, break into thousand of pieces or become whole again. It’s like looking at all the facets of a diamond.
It is necessary to tell the story of the Spanish city in the heart of a foreign country. The Walled City was built about five hundred years ago, enclosed by thick high walls with moats and fortresses. Through the leadership of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, the oldest city and historic core of Manila had been established, founding the Spanish Cultural Heritage in thePhilippines. Intramuros suffered devastation as time goes by.
It has been constructed many times before the government declared it as a historical monument in 1951. the district was declared as a historical monument and FortSantiago, a national shrine with Republic Act 597 – with the policy of restoring, reconstructing, and urban planning of Intramuros. Several laws and decrees also followed but results were deemed unsatisfactory due to limited funds.
[photo copyright: Walled City of Intramuros by Jun Acullador opentravelinfo.com]
It is the only district of Manila where the old Spanish Era influences are still seen in so many ways. Newer buildings are built in style of the era. As in the Colonial Spanish period, Intramuros still houses some of the higher education in thePhilippines. One of the greatest things to look forward o during the travel is seeing and discovering the city of Manila.
The Manila City Hall, located just outside the walled city is one of the district landmarks in the capital of the city. With its hexagonal tower having three red-faced clocks on three of its facets, it received unfavourable reviews in its initial years because of its sober architectural design, lack of entrances and the placement of the clock tower. The building’s floor plan had been dismissed as similar in shape to a coffin or, in the other end, like the shield of Knight’s Templar. This building is also believed for being haunted by spirits than what human can imagine. But these stories remain fictitious especially when critics praise the design f the said hall. It is located in the center of tourism area where major government buildings and landmarks are located.
At night, the tower is illuminated with its details highlighted by beautiful lighting. Every hour, the bell rings three times followed by a melody. It is recognized as the largest clock tower in the archipelago.
The post office building was built in neo-classical architecture in 1926. It was severely damaged in World War II, and rebuilt in 1946 preserving its original design.
It will take you fifty steps approximately from the unique-styled post office building to the walled city. If you have spent all day striding around Intramuros and your feet are tired, not so far from it is the Luneta Park.
The park has been a favorite spot for unwinding, socializing, and urban oasis for family picnics on Sundays and holidays. It is one of the major tourist attractions of the city. Just recently, the ever beautiful dancing fountain by night was created to uplift the tourism in the country. As the fountains sway, your heart too, will. It is not only for kids but also for kids at heart. Good for all ages. Surely, there will be unexplainable happiness when you get to see the water move and lights go on and off with different colors along with the music whether it is techno, jazz, classic or mellow.
The city at the time boasted hospitals, military barracks, schools, churches, domestic accommodation and a Governor’s Palace. Some of these buildings over the years were preserved as ancient artifacts.
Today, Intramuros is a tourist hub that lures scores of people from all walks of life. The district however is the only area in Manila that is influenced by the Spanish. Alongside the walls of Intramuros is where modernized constructions took place.
So there. You don’t have to go far just to unwind and enjoy the beauty of a place. It’s not all about the place anyway. It’s all about the story.
[credits: Ava Marie Guinto, co-writer :)]