Within the walls

Within the Walls (intra muros) Less than an hour away from the hustle and bustle of Makati city is a whole different world. Pass Taft Avenue, take Roxas Boulevard and in a few minutes time, you’ll enter a city that seems to be exactly what Jose Rizal described in his famous book, ” Noli Me Tangere”. Intramuros is often referred to as the ” Walled City”. This is because it is literally enclosed with thick high stonewalls. Last Saturday, July 21, 2007, I, along with my group mates, visited Intramuros. I had been before, several times actually, for basketball games, parties and gatherings but never really to see and tour the city. It was only until last Saturday that I realized that it was such an amazing city. For some reason, everything just seemed so fascinating and enthralling. We got on a horse-driven carriage, or what Filipinos refer to as a ” kalesa”, and explored the city. Everything in Intramuros is so well preserved. The long and tight stoned streets, the grand lampposts, the huge stone buildings that were turned into company offices, the massive steel-barred gates, the grand churches, everything just seemed so full of life. My imagination ran wild, there was so much life to everything that it seemed so possible any minute then to see Sisa, the crazy woman in Noli Me Tangere, suddenly run out of San Agustin Church screaming her head off for mercy or to see Juan Crisostomo Ibarra, another character of Noli Me Tangere, walking around the streets in deep thought, as he was usually described in the book. The students of MAPUA and Lycyeum University all seemed to have their own agendas, tourists followed their tour guides in awe, soldiers, dressed up so elegantly, guarded their posts, workers had their hands full with their daily tasks, many children were in front of the churches and museums selling sampaguitas, rosaries and bracelets, just about everyone in the city appeared to be busy. We saw the Manila Cathedral, San Agustin Church, Casa Manila Museum and many other popular land marks that Intramuros’ boasts of but it was the McDonalds and 7-Eleven stores that caught my attention for some reason. Although they are part of our modern pop culture today, they were still built in an old fashioned way. They didn’t look like the usual McDonalds and 7-Eleven stores we see around, instead were designed with the Spanish-Filipino architecture style in mind. This just goes to show how hard the people of Intramuros and the department of tourism worked to preserve the city’s beauty and history.