December 18, 2010

A day within the walls

Manila, the Pearl of the Orient back in the days of prosperity of the beautiful country. The Pre-World War II city was a favorite destination of the western countries, it was the Queen City of the East. The Philippines was put into the map of destinations for the westerners.

Conquered by the Spaniards in the 1571 until 1898, Spain introduces Christianity to the Filipinos who were were worshiping idols. 1899, the Americans came and introduced the western culture to the country. This was the period when the Philippines prospered and was a famous place. Under the Commonwealth period, The US Government and the Philippine Republic was preparing for its freedom.

December 8, 1941. Planes hover above the aerial space of the Archipelago. Bombs fell out of the sky, explosions and panic amongst the Filipinos. The men of the Rising Sun has arrived! The Japanese Imperial Army had invaded the country.

Today, much of the history of the invasions remained and has become part of the Filipino culture. One of which is Intramuros or "The walled city". Built by the Spaniards in the 16th Century and it would be one of the bloodiest urban warfare of WW2 during the battle of Manila where civilians were targeted by the Japanese and 100,000 other Filipino Civilians died during the retaking of Manila in 1945.

Intramuros, it was the little Vatican of the East. It had more than 7 Churches inside its walls, it is where I study now. The school I'm attending to was established in 1620 and is the oldest institution still on its original location.

Street Children are rampant around the walls
The once beautiful Intramuros has been a shelter for informal Settlers, the cobbled stone roads are few and ruins have been victims of defacing and vandalism. Although some of the important ruins are being taken care of, I still get frustrated of what Intramuros looks like today.

The Manila Cathedral

Last December 8, me and my classmates were tasked to take photos of historical places around especially the past and present places of the Churches (Because the project was for Theology course) and we, have been studying inside the walls for 3 years already hasn't really walked around much. So we did!

Jairus here looking at the historical landmark of the old Ateneo
What's really funny about the trip was that we were holding a past and present map of Intramuros because the legends were different. We were comparing a 2010 map to a 16th century sketch of Intramuros. Tour guides and Kalesa coaches were quite convinced that we were tourists.

The old Ateneo de Manila Municipal.
Walking around town doesn't tire you out, as long as you wear socks. Intramuros is only less than a kilometer       

A beggar sleeping at the sidewalk.
Poverty is seen around. Beggars, children and sometimes people who talk to themselves. I get really sad when I see them because I don't know what to do, I want to help but how? I just refuse to look at them because it really hurts me.

Walk the walls with your friends, it never hurts to have some company unless you wanna be alone.

After 4 hours of solid walking, map comparing, mistakes in navigation and lots of shared laughter. We ate at our favorite place. "Allysa's Sisig" which is definitely a must try!

This is called the "Kantunan Alley" or "Alley of Canton Noodles" because all the stalls there serve 1 main dish, the Instant Pancit Canton
I hope the preservation of Intramuros strengthens and gets support from the Government. This place is historical foot by foot and a symbol of the mixed culture of the Filipinos.

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