Monday, January 6, 2014

Philippines - Intramuros

I have a clear idea of what I wanted to visit during my brief time in Manila before boarding domestic flight to Laoag, Ilocos Norte. I wanted to go to Intramuros, an ancient walled city, deep in the central of Manila. This is the place to be if you want to get a glimpse of the colonial era and how the country looked like while in Spanish Empire. It is also where San Augustin Church, one of the four churches listed under UNESCO World Heritage Site, located at.

One of its few main gates to Intramuros

You can walk on top of the walk and have a good view of its surroundings

The walls were built to defend the city from foreign invasion back in the colonial days. However, it was heavily damaged in World War II and major reconstruction was done to rebuild to its current state. As you walked along the cobbled streets, you feel like being transported to the old times, with calesa (horse drawn carriages) passing by you.

Calesa goes perfectly with the colonial buildings

I didn't get to see the Baroque church as it was closed. Luckily, on my last day, I managed to sneak in during their Sunday Mass and suffice to say, I was awestruck by its interior. More on that later. There is the San Augustin Museum where artifacts from the church as well as its collections are on display. Entrance fee applies for the museum, though I am not sure how much it is as I did not enter.

San Augustin Church, undergoing paint job

Besides the San Augustin Church, another majestic religious site worth a visit is the Manila Cathedral. However, this cathedral was closed indefinitely for urgent repair works. Such was my luck.

Statue of King Carlos IV looking at Manila Cathedral

Other attractions that are in Intramuros are Casa Manila, a beautifully reconstructed colonial mansion of wealthy Spanish families, Plaza de Roma, the walled city's own plaza mayor or main square with a monument of King Carlos IV of Spain stood in the centre, Fort Santiago, a defense ground of the old empire, and Rizal Shrine, a moving museum dedicated to the life and works of Jose Rizal, Philippines' national hero.

Casa Manila

Again, I just briefly explored Casa Manila while I pushed back Fort Santiago to the last day of the trip. I just wanted to walk around Intramuros and sunk into its deep historical values. I left Intramuros about 4 p.m. and took first UV Express Taxi outside of Intramuros before changing to another taxi which took me directly to Terminal 3 airport for my flight with Cebu Pacific to Laoag.

2 hours is not enough to explore Intramuros


Sharing is caring. A word of advice and a piece of information.

Ninoy Aquino International Airport is the country's largest airport and a major transportation hub. There are 4 terminals to the airport, namely Terminal 1, 2, 3 and 4, also known as Manila Domestic Passenger Terminal. All terminals are not within close proximity and taxis are required to move around them. There is no specific rules towards which airlines flying to and out of which terminals but generally, all international airlines enter Terminal 1 while Terminal 2 and 3 are specifically for Philippines Airlines and Cebu Pacific respectively. Terminal 4 caters to domestic and international flights from AirAsia Zest and Tigerair Philippines. Therefore, make sure you are at the right terminal when you fly out of Manila.


  1. Nice one, Jeff :-). The calesas are so pretty. Is this part of Manila safe to walk around alone, do you think?

  2. Personally, I don't really like Manila as a city. I find it too crowded and a tad bit scary even for my brief time there. But Intramuros is better in a sense that it's not too hectic and there are tourists here and there. I walked around alone and I didn't face any problem. Hawkers and traders also don't really attack you to buy this buy that.

  3. wahh you also been there..that place looks good just that during my trip, it rained and the most important cathedral was closed for renovation.

  4. yea, Manila Cathedral is closed for ongoing renovation..

  5. nice place to have a visit. Is public transportation in abundance at that area?

  6. You can take trains to Central Station and walk to Intramuros. Besides trains, jeepney and taxis are abundant. If inside Intramuros area, I saw calesa and rickshaws around that area.