Historic Manila Walk Tour

Intramuros, Manila

 While organizing this post, I stumbled on old pictures depicting Intramuros, courtesy of Sir John Tewell, a retired American pilot who is currently living in Manila with his Filipino wife; also an aerial photographer during his early.Some photos are from Sir J.Chew also. I salute them for sharing the great photos they own and some collected and now I became fascinated about them!🙂

the Great Walled City during the Spanish colonial times of more than 3 centuries, and then of Americans and  subject of invasion by the Japanese…

to view Intramuros in 1913, click on the link:



to view Fort Santiago in early 20th century, click on the link:



January 20,2013

I joined this free walk tour organized by Sir Rence Chan of the Filipinas Stamp Collectors Club, and I was soo excited to join this walk tour for so many reasons!

1. I have not explored much Manila and the Intramuros or Walled City, considering its just almost an hour, 2-train rides from my place..hahahahah.. shame on me huh?😀

2. I got fascinated that in our email-text-FB-twitter-mobile world, there are a few that have remained loyal to sending snail letters PLUS,they get to collect great stamps from all over the world! I really admire them!

3. I get to practice taking pictures on our country’s very historic core! and most of all….

4. its FREE,even if we have a very knowledgable and passionate history buff,Sir Rence ! hahahah..

Of course I can do the tour on my own, but since I’m not a history buff, its really good listening to people passionately share historical stories as we explore significant places during the height of Spanish colonization in our country..

Speaking of Philippine history, I’m really much more prouder the part where we have Jose Rizal,Andres bonifacio, Emilio Aguinaldo, Gomburza, and soo many more, who have fought for our freedom.

I learned alot from the walk tour. It made me dig in more on the history of the places we’ve visited.  It really pays to read and to know more about your country’s history coz you become aware of how your country have gone through and you just feel great pride being a Filipino.

So let me share you some through my pictures and little info I’ve learned🙂

The Manila Central Post Office

 Houses the country’s main mail sorting-distribution operations, originally built in 1926,damaged severely in WWII,rebuilt in 1946.

in 1930’s…


 war damaged post office, click here :







Puerta Isabel II

One of the 8 gates of Intramuros, better known as the Walled City. Intramuros is the oldest district and the historic core of Manila,the capital of the Philippines ,where Spanish government settled during its colonial period.

to view the old gate,click here>>




wartorn gate…


the gate now…


Statue of Queen Isabel II infront of  the gate,the last gate built in Intramuros,opened in 1861,damaged during the Battle of Manila in 1945, restored in 1966.


 Intendencia Ruins ( Aduana Building)

The site of Spanish-era Customs House, the American-era Senate and the post-war Central Bank before it was destroyed by fire.

We were informed that the place is guarded and strong solid metal grills are installed to prevent outsiders from going inside the area. Why? It’s rumored that it still houses gold and treasures buried inside after that fire..hmmm..let’s go treasure-hunting here! hehehehe😀

war torn Aduana>>


in 1920s…









Maestranza Wall

The 270-meter wall situated beside the Pasig River, where the historic galleon trade took place during the Spanish occupation; used also as soldiers’ quarters during the Japanese and American occupations..

It’s  currently being developed as a museum and historical tourist attraction.








the touring group


Plaza de Roma

Center of Intramuros and one of the 2 major public squares in the Walled City, was tagged as center of the city during the Spanish colonial period where bullfights and other public events being held in the plaza and later was converted into a garden in 1797.

It’s surrounded by Manila Cathedral, Palacio del Gobernador and Ayuntamiento de Manila.

Did you know that originally, it has the monument of Charles IV of Spain erected in 1824, to honor him for sending the 1st batch of smallpox vaccine to the Philippines (really??), but this was replaced in 1960 by a monument of GomBurZa, (the 3 Filipino priests- Gomez,Burgos and Zamora- who were executed after suspected by the Spanish govt and friars of supporting the 1872 Cavite mutiny( thou the mutiny was unsuccessful,many scholars claimed it started the Filipino nationalism that’ve led to Philippine Revolution of 1896 eventually); and to whom our national hero Jose Rizal dedicated his El Filibusterismo work),but Marcos ordered to restore the plaza and so the Intramuros Administration removed it in 1981 and re-installed the monument of Charles IV?

I mean, really now, we would rather have the  monument of Charles IV who just brought the 1st batch of a vaccine THAN keep the monument of GOMBURZA who were unjustly executed but eventually contributed to Philippine revolution that have led to our independence? Really?? I don’t know,I’m quite affected here I guess..Tsk!





Palacio del Governador

Official residence of Spanish governors,built in the 17th century after the 1st Palace was destroyed by an earthquake in 1645 initially located in Fort Santiago;the 2nd palace built on current site was destroyed again by an earthquake in 1863, then reconstructed only in 1976 that now houses the Intramuros Administration ( established in 1980 by Marcos) and the different government offices like the Commission on Elections and Bureau of Treasury.



Manila Cathedral

Officially known as the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception; originally built in 1581 but was destroyed several times and for the eighth times and was last reconstructed in 1958; serves as the top seat of the Philippines’ Catholic Archdiocese.

Unfortunately,its currently under renovation so we were’nt able to go inside of the church.

the church in early 20th century:



 in 1945:









Ayuntamiento (Casas Consistoriales)

Ayuntamiento is a Spanish general term for the council of a municipality.During Spanish time, it housed important government units and was the Seat of the Municipal Council of Manila, became the place of Philippine Assembly in 1907 and Philippine Legislation in 1935 and later the Supreme Court moved in during the American and Commonwelth period. Destroyed in the Battle of Manila in 1945, reconstructed in 2010 and now the future Bureau of Treasury(BoT) office. Thanks to Atty.Tan,the administrator of the Ayuntamiento, for showing us around. Both Intramuros Admin and BoT  made an effort to recapture the original Marble Place and the attempt was good!

view the war damaged Ayuntamiento, click here>>


..in 1930s.


here’s now:











the original sala de sesiones


the restoration attempt

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more walks…

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and more walks along Recoletos…


along Muralla..

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along Baluarte de San Francisco de Dilao…


with co-walk tripper Mar Shi

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And for our final walk…

The Manila Metropolitan Theater (MET)

in late 1930’s…


Center of entertainment showing zarzuelas,operas,plays and the like.

Designed by Filipino architect Juan M. Arellano,built in 1924,inaugurated on December 10, 1931 having 1670 sitting capacity, damaged in 1945 during the Battle of Manila. Attempts to restore have done but always fell into disuse in the 1960s and later after its 1978 restoration when the Marcos government was overthrown in 1986.

Officially closed in 1996 due to ownership dispute between the city administration and GSIS( Gov’t. Service Insurance System).

In 2004, the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) received a whooping Php 50 million from former President Arroyo to restore it. More millions were donated and a Save the  Met project was even launched..

In June 23, 2010, former President Arroyo and Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim re-opened the theater after renovations.

But until now, the theater is left to decay AGAIN and so previous restoration attempts seemed to be going nowhere. I just wonder how much tax budget was spent here all in all and now,the money was just wasted as the building rots,YES, rots to its death. There are even new seats installed,covered with garbage plastic bags and it’s been said that the seats are donated by various individuals like Michael V.,Dolphy and more and the seat costs Php10,000 a piece! Huwatt??

I’m not happy when I saw the theater, not because of the ghost stories popularized by the theater but I’m more hunted by the fact that MILLIONS of funds have been allegedly used to restore it and yet now, it’s all gone to decay AGAIN! I just wished it wasn’t restored at all and they could have used the money to feed millions of Filipino poorest. What else I can say? anyway…..

read Save the Met blogs here:


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extra! extra!

Pasig river near Intramuros in 1902’s/1920’s:




Pasig River now viewed from Intendencia Ruins ( Aduana Building)



You see, if it wasn’t for this walk tour, I wouldn’t have a great interest to dig in more about our history. But it’s never too late of course to get to know more our country. Overall, I’m a proud Filipino and will continue to take pride of our country! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!🙂

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. lovemindanao
    Feb 09, 2013 @ 18:02:33

    your blog is one hell of a cutie Emm …I used to work here in Intramuros 3 or 4 years ago… the place could be more beautiful if the admin maintain a minimal intrusion in this nation’s land mark …keep up the hearty felt sharing of your journey😀


  2. emmthepinaytrekker
    Feb 09, 2013 @ 18:28:26

    thanks Love! ^_^ tnx for the blogging inspiration!🙂


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