The Walls of Intramuros
“If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t it is a part of a tree.”~Michael Crichton~
There will come a time when our best appreciation of the past more so of history and art can come only later in our lives. Mine came during my mid-30s. Although my father has exposed me to several galleries as early as my childhood days, brought me to a few shows at the PICC (Philippine International Convention Center) and CCP (Cultural Center of the Philippines) with my mom (who will just sleep from the beginning up to the end of the show). Introduced me to the most famous painters of all time (from his library). That was our world then.
One of my uncle was a self-made painter too. Some of his works still hanging on our walls. While papa was an illustrator and had been in the top 10 list of the most sought after artists during his time. It was a time when illustrated comics are a staple to every house in our country. Said industry died, at that time when modernization occurred when this used to be a very strong industry but took a back seat when internet went into the scene. It left my papa heartbroken (but that’s another story). The manner he expose Arts to me I thought then was enough. The bohemian blood runs in the family. 2 of my cousins are professional dancers (one of which was a beauty queen), another one is an Architect. And my mama took up Fashion designing. The last of brood with traces, was me, who took up Interior Design during the early 90s. Yet, it was papa whom I consider as the most influential human being in my entire life. I was his legacy. He didn’t fail to share with me his world. They were illuminated by the music we’ve favored, the stage plays we’ve watched, the paintings on our walls, the books that we’ve read. Even in the food that we served, art is incorporated at all times.
Little did I know, that there was a certain hunger in me to personally capture “Art” face to face. Go out of my way to witness them in my own eyes just so to validate my father’s claim of how beautiful and special that world is.
Realizing this, I prepared my list. The first of which to take an actual peek is the historical Intramuros. It is located at the heart of Manila, tucked within stoned walls that’s estimated to be 15 feet high. It was meant to protect the Spaniards from the Japanese soldiers and eventually from the Americans at that time when attempts were made to conquer the land which originally known then as “Las Islas de Filipinas”.
Neighboring countries fought over the land, living proofs as to how enticing our mother land specially during her prime. Beauty that is still evident now.
I woke up early and double checked my itinerary for this particular day. It’s just a day trip anyway, still, I am usually excited. We reached the place afternoon. The welcome arch literally welcomed us and triggered our curiosity like telling us to proceed and discover what’s behind these walls.
Our first stop was the walls itself. Visibly, they were made of pre-cast stones and a lot bigger than the usual that we see at present times, according to my college professor, the size of the block is an indication (if it’s bigger) that it was constructed hundreds of years ago.
As nowadays, they utilize the smaller ones. I remember myself during college, if time permits, I visit my high school friends who were studying in Mapua Institute of Technology, Letran College and Lyceum of the Philippines (universities lined up outside the walls) and I passed by these walls several times and during then, I do not care at all. Now, it struck me, I imagined my country when she was still young and it gave me a kind of pride, and a kind of genuine concern recalling what she has gone through hundreds of years ago.
This city was the seat of Spanish sovereignty in the Orient for over 300 years. A pentagonal wall enclosing an area of almost 64 hectares. A lot has occurred within these walls from 1571 to 1946, but it was only in 1979 where restoration and development was given a serious thought by the government to create a monument to the Hispanic period out of it realizing its essence being part of the richness of our culture and history for futures genres to see.
We then headed to this Casa.
It’s a sort of museum that charges a very minimum amount for the maintenance of the place and to pay for the employees manning the museum.
We were ushered to the sala, the bedrooms, the kitchen, the dining room, even in the comfort rooms. If I may use the word “cute”. I will. I find their comfort rooms cute. Ahaha! I was saddened that we were not allowed to take pictures of the Casa’s interiors. It’s cute for me as the way life was lived then, Art was in synch in all facets. I even saw a vintage watering can, condiments in the kitchen, but I was not allowed to take pictures of them as souvenirs. =(
My favorite part was the azotea.
During then, events were held here. It just so happen that during our visit, there was an event as well. A wedding. =)
Usually, the wedding is held in San Agustin church or Manila Cathedral and reception follows at this Casa. Now I kept dreaming of Crisologo street. The cobble stoned streets symbolizes the Spanish era.
I especially like the sound of horses and their shoe against the cobble stones. And just in time I saw one.
I am so excited I wanted to ride in one which we eventually did. They will charge you a hundred to bring you around the Intramuros.
The “kutchero” (the guy driving the horse), brought us to the Manila Cathedral which brought me to a time when my papa and mama used to bring me here as little girl. As little as I was, I dreamt of being married there, it was so big, and a long train will look pretty while you are walking the isle of the church. Instead of a car sending me off, I’d choose the calesa! ahaha!
We were supposed to have dinner at Illustrado, but luck wasn’t on our side, it was already closed when we arrived.
We ended up shopping in the store in front of it. So in way, I was still smiling when we headed back home.
Leaving Intramuros, the hunger is torturing me once more to keep learning. It is an endless thing anyway. My list still includes a lot from Manila. See you soon! (–,)