The dungeons of Fort Bonifacio are what I remember best when I first set foot in Intramuros, a Spanish Colonial citadel and the historical core of Manila.
Walls were built to protect the city during the 16th century. The Sky Deck View Bar of The Bayleaf provides a bird’s-eye view of the walled district. The Bayleaf is a stone’s throw away from Brandon’s school, the Mapua Institute of Technology, where he is enrolled in BS mechanical engineering. Brandon, Chin and I met at the hotel’s lobby for the start of our Intramuros tour.
I already made a mental list of the things to do before entering the puerta near Mapua. The midday sun was menacing, a pedicab ride was a bit of a relief. We went to see the San Agustin Church, the oldest stone church in the Philippines, built in 1589 (and what a beauty!), before letting ourselves cool down at Barbara’s, the quaint cafe across the street.
At Barbara’s, Brandon’s linguine with tuyo and the bibingka we shared were less than we expected, though I enjoyed my watermelon shake and pavlova (real delish!)
If you have lots of time to spend in Intramuros, Bambike, a socio-ecological company that builds bamboo bicycles, offer bike tours, an alternative way to explore the Walled City.
We strolled farther on to Plaza de Roma and the newly renovated Manila Cathedral or Manila Metropolitan Cathedral Basilica, originally a simple parish established in 1571. It was made a cathedral in 1581, and the seat of the Catholic Church in Manila in 1595. The timeless beauty and elegance of the cathedral make it a favored wedding venue.
We beat the heat with pandan juice and tea at Ilustrado. I remembered to order sampaguita ice cream, a novel national flower ice cream Ilustrado is known for. The strange flavor will be intimidating at first and the most pleasurable part is the last part. Cakes were good and the chorizo de Bilbao I fancied was something light if we talk about drunching.
Ended our Intramuros tour at Silahis Art and Artifacts, a wonderful store for uncommon Filipino things.
By the way, you can also tour the old district on a calesa for the price of 350 PhP.
Photos of author by Brandon Tan.
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