Walking along a stone road, I found myself in awe for seeing something for the first time that was just a few kilometers away from where I usually am. Spanish colonial architecture, grand churches with distinct baroque features, and kalesas plying the old streets with tourists from different nations. Walking further, I found myself in a charming public space with a fountain at its center. I was in Intramuros, one of the cities that intrigued me the most while I grew up in Metro Manila.
My curiosity for Intramuros began when I realized I can work anywhere with my current remote job. Out of all the places one can work, I thought of Intramuros, mainly because of its charm and mystery.
Eventually, I found myself in Barbara’s Cafe — my introduction to what would become a pleasant, personal affair with the walled city of Metro Manila.
I went to cafes, ate at restaurants, and visited old sites, both free and those with a fee. One thing I realized is that the Intramuros Administration is doing a ton of work to make Intramuros the way it is now. If you’re thinking of visiting the walled city, now would be the perfect time and here’s why.
Rich in history
This should go without saying, but, nonetheless, there is just so much history in the walled city for one to simply pass it by. When you look at the map of Metro Manila, Intramuros is this one, fascinating segment that just begs one to come and visit it.
If you are thinking of whether the place is overrated or not, I would suggest you instead look into the history. While Intramuros is becoming more and more popular as tourists, both foreign and local, start to flock in, as well as the recent re-opening of the dungeons in Fort Santiago, I would strongly recommend that you still go for the purpose that there will be a lot of things to learn.
One fun fact is that Intramuros was not initially called Intramuros. Before, it was, essentially, Manila. After the war, and when Manila began to expand, was the time it was called ‘Intramuros’ to refer to it as the ‘walled city’ or in Latin, ‘within the walls.’ So you could just imagine Manila back then being this tiny, congested space, guarded by strong, sturdy walls and filled with Spanish colonial architecture.
Perfect for dates
If you’re sick of the usual movie, cafe, concert, or mall types of dates, why not go to a historical site?
The perfect time to visit Intramuros with a date is during the night. The walled city shines during the night, and in every corner you’ll discover its hidden charms.
Just be sure both of you are in it for the long run (if ya know what I mean). Just kidding. Moving onward.
So many pleasant surprises
Every time I visit the walled city, there’s always something new to discover. You’ll have to see it to believe it.
It’s not just old sites and historical discoveries. There’s also the diverse handicraft in Silahis Center, the sumptuous wine in Destileria Limtuaco Museum, and the charming canteen-style food in Patio de Conchita.
Simply put, there are so many things to see, learn, rediscover, and re-learn in the walled city. If you feel like you don’t know much about your own roots, then going to the city would probably be the discovery you need. If you need a breather and fresh take on life, then going there would probably make you feel better. Whatever it is, this city is for everyone.
Lastly, the most important thing about Intramuros is that it’s one of the center points of tourism in Metro Manila. We know not that many tourists visit the city because of traffic, but slowly, we can change that, and if improving the walled city is part of that process, then let’s continue supporting that progress.
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