Today we went on a Carlos Celdran Walking Tour through Intramuros and learned about Manila
and Filippino history.
Intramuros is the old city of Manila which was inside a wall. Carlos first talked about Manila being under Spanish rule. The architecture and language were similar. The Spanish sold the Philippines to the US, along with 5 other countries for 20 million dollars. Being under the American influence changed the architecture, and language to English. Manila became an uglier place. Manila was the first place in South East Asia to have toilet paper, toothpaste, movie theaters, shopping malls to name a few. The Philippines was the first country to have their own airline as well.
Fort Santiago, the government compound was first built out of bamboo. It was to flammable so it was then constructed out of compact volcanic ash.
After the 2nd world war, the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed the Americans unleashed a bunch of bombs on Manila. The Americans didn’t want to carry the bombs back to the US. Manilas pride and joy church was blown away because of someone else’s war. There are still remnants of the bombing today. What used to be the
Manila University and Church are just piles. The only funding Manila was given was from the US to restore US sections of the city.
St. Augustine Church was the only church that survived the bombing. The Catholic Church still stands today at 400 years old. After the explosion all the buildings, and dead bodies were bulldozed into the river, along with 400 years of Filipino history.
Carlos’ was very entertaining with his photos, costumes and stories. I have to say, it was probably the most entertaining history tour I’ve ever been on. He was very high energy. On the tour we got to ride in a horse drawn carriage, and try a local delicacy called Halo Halo; which translates to mix mix. It’s a concoction of ice, jelly, peanut, beans, sugar and a milk. Carlos says it symbolizes Filipino culture, ie: if you were told what halo halo was you would probably think it sounded gross, but if you just try it you see that it works. This is the same as Manila: You have to “taste” it to enjoy it.
Indonesia has Borobudur, Cambodia has Angkor Wat, they say the Philippines has Intramuros
started his tour he asked everyone to turn off their cell phones. Tris asked me if I had his, and when I said no we realized we forgot it on Lex’s back seat. Now we were wondering how the heck we were going to get a hold of him after the tour. Neither of us knew his number. We would have to find access to the internet to check my email for his number, find a phone, and hope he answered while in his class. Thankfully to our surprise Lex was there at the end of our tour waiting. He texted while stuck in traffic and heard ‘beep’ coming from the back seat. Lex saved the day! If we weren't able to get a hold of him it would've been horrible. We don't know the address to his house as he's always met us somewhere. He also had all our bags as we had planned on catching a night bus.
After the tour we met up with some other couch surfers; a few locals and a guy from Japan. We first ate at a Central American restaurant, and then moved on to a Burger joint. It was really fun.
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