Friday, December 31, 2010

A Walk to the Walled City: Intramuros

Yesterday was Rizal Day. I just remember it as I was going home from work. I was used to doing nothing at home at times like this but the government transferred the holiday to another day (December 27) instead of commemorating it on the 30th. If I were Rizal, I'd be angry with this. It was like you are going to be sentenced to death at a date earlier than you expected!

You see, Rizal Day is the day that Jose P. Rizal was sentenced to death at Bagumbayan, now Rizal Park, on December 30, 1896 through firing squad. He was considered as the Philippine's National Hero. He is a doctor, a novelist, a sportsman and a certified chick-boy. Yes, he has all that talent. I bet if he lived up to this day, he would also become a blogger and we would comment on his post and we'd follow his blogs (lol).

I remembered going to Intramuros the past month with Joms (those were the days..) to have a visual tour of the place. Intramuros was a city in the Spanish era wherein it is enclosed within walls. This is the center of everything at that time. Schools, Churches and establishments were all in the place. I've also read that the place is exclusive only for those who have Spanish bloods or those who had married Spanish decent. Today, the old walls remained, some schools, buildings and churches are still standing but there are a lot of improvements around. It has also become a tourist spot.

Golf Course around Intramuros and City of Manila at the far back

Walking around the wall, you can see the City of Manila and at a near distance, a golf course that surrounds the walls. There are also remains of the cannons and artillery from the past wars. If your imagination is wild enough, you can see that the people from the past use this to guard the city. At the far end of the city, near the Pasig River is the Fort Santiago. Here is where Rizal was imprisoned. A museum now stands at the ruins of the fort.

Old canons and shells

There is a fee upon entering Fort Santiago, P75 for adults and P50 for kids. I am not sure of this but that is what I've remembered.

You can ride the kalesa around

The entrance is a long garden and at the end is a really cool site, it reminds me of a scene in Mini Ninjas only less Asian (I tried to find an image but couldn't. Guess you have to play it if you want to see.. :P). We saw ducks in the small river under the bridge looking for a place to stay. It was hot at that time, I think they are looking for a shade.

The Mini Nijas wall! lol Entrance to Fort Santiago
Inside the Fort
As you enter the fort, another garden will welcome you, at the far end is the museum where they keep a copy of all Rizal's belonggings inclusing his sculptures, novels, poems, clothes, and other stuff. You can read the Mi Ultimo Adios in different Languages. Here also is a chamber where you can see a figure of Rizal writing. It is really dark here so I couldn't take a decent photo.

Copy of Noli Me Tangere, Rizal's novel

Rizal in his cell (blurred)

As you go back outside, there is a sort of balcony overseeing Pasig river, you can see the dungeons where prisoners are locked up. It was really creepy there. It says that there are a lot who died there and they have candles in honor for those victims.

Dungeons ~_~

If you walk the garden, you will notice some gold thinggy on the road. These are Rizal's footsteps as he marched his last steps to Bagumbayan. This was embedded here at the centennial celebration of his death anniversary but sadly most of it are gone. Some are stolen I think because it is made of bronze. If you follow it, it will lead you to Rizal Park.

Bronze footsteps of Rizal.

Rizal Park is now a tourist spot in Manila, but back in the old days it was the execution spot for those against the Spaniards. The monument where Rizal stand is said to be his final resting place. Back in the days, they say that he was put in another grave to avoid those who want to steal his body from finding it.

Rizal Monument

The tour around Intramuros was really fun and educational. There are a lot more sites there like the churches and the school. You can go around the area for half the day. It would really enrich your knowledge of Philippine history (a subject I only liked in college) and your culture as a Pinoy.

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