Manila’s tourist arrival is back on track despite of not so good travel advisories from other countries. For most tourists who already visited Manila, the City remains to be the safest and more fun place to visit in Asia. Being a tourist attraction itself, The Manila Hotel continues to help promoting Manila by introducing Manila Revisited, a special room package inclusive of an Intramuros Tour and other exclusive privileges at the Hotel.
Taproom Bar Manila Hotel
I’m already familiar with Intramuros, In fact I’ve been touring around some of my local and foreigner friends since my college days. But despite the familiarity, I still joined the tour to meet old friends and besides joining tours not only give me the opportunity to collect new photos, I’m also interested to learn new things from professional tour guides.
Fort Santiago Today
The group gathered at the Taproom Bar inside the historic Manila Hotel where I met fellow travel bloggers and tourism writers from print media. From the hotel, we started the tour by choosing our own Calesa and together with Marky and Monette, we traversed the long Dewey Boulevard (old name of Roxas Blvd) to reach our first stop – Fort Santiago.
Fort Santiago as a US Army Headquarters – photo courtesy of http://www.skyscrapercity.com/
Fort Santiago is located right beside the Pasig River and it is an old settlement of an ancient ruler in Manila named Rajah Sulaiman. In 1571 the Spanish army was able to defeat the native resistance and constructed Fort Santiago symbolizing its dominance over the locals.
Calesa in Fort Santiago
Inside Fort Santiago, we visited Rizal Shrine, a museum that houses a collection of memorable artifacts that belongs to the Philippines’ national hero Jose Rizal. Also located inside the Shrine is the Rizal Prison Cell which was originally used as a food storage area. In 1945, the fort was destroyed by the Japanese forces during the World War II. After the war, Fort Santiago was restored and was open for public viewing in 1950.
Calesa Ride in Intramuros
After our short tour at the historic fortress, our Calesa brought us to Casa Manila, a classic example of an upper-class colonial house. Located in Barrio San Luis (one of the four districts in Intramuros), the house represents the house of the Filipino “ilustrado,” – the educated, well-travelled Filipinos from the “enlightened” elite class during the Spanish era.
Casa Manila Intramuros
Inside the beautiful old colonial house, our tour guide described how the rich lived during the Spanish era. Today, Casa Manila is one of the top tourist spots in Intramuros. The place can also be rented for weddings and special events.
Casa Manila Kitchen
Casa Manila is a three-story building replica of the house of Don Severino Mendoza – a wealthy merchant in Binondo. Its main door on Calle Real leads to a patio with a fountain at the center, something that is common in most houses in Intramuros during the spanish era.
Weddings in Casa Manila
Our last stop was in Rizal Park – the National Park which is also known as Luneta Park. In 1601 the area was called Bagumbayan Field where a Spanish Military Hospital was placed. Right in front of the monument, a marker serves as the point of origin or Kilometre Zero to all other cities in the Philippines.
We visited the Diorama of Rizal’s Martrydom. Located right beside the famous Rizal monument, a set of statues depicting Rizal’s execution, situated on the spot where he was actually martyred. Contrary to some historians belief, the execution site of Jose Rizal is not on the same location where the monument was erected but it was on the northern side from the monument and right beside the new Chinese Garden. The execution site serves as the killing ground by the Spaniards where 140 Filipinos were executed.
Tourists in Intramuros
We left Luneta park before the sun sets and headed back to Manila Hotel’s Presidential Salon to culminate the event with a night of Kundiman. Mabuhay Singers performed some of the greatest Kundiman Songs and one of those was “Bundok Banahaw” – our contest piece in the regional choral competition when I was in High School. It was my first time in the 11th floor of the Manila Hotel, From the Window, It was nice to see Intramuros, Manila City Hall, Roxas Boulevard and Luneta on a birds eyeview. Kudos to Manila Hotel for such a wonderful Manila Rediscovery package, I can only describe it in two words… Fantastic! Nostalgic!
Rizal Execution Site in Luneta
This two and a half hour tour will take guests to the historical Walled City and Rizal Park on a horse drawn carriage and historical anecdotes will be provided by a certified guide from Castillian Carriage and Tour Services.
Manila Hotel Lobby
The tour will include a visit to Fort Santiago, Rizal’s Execution Site, Casa Manila, Palacio del Gobernador, Manila Cathedral, San Augustin Church, and the former headquarters of General Douglas MacArthur. The tours highlight the recollection of centuries-old era while touring the sites on board replicas of Victorian horse-drawn carriages, Spanish carjuaes, and Filipino calesas that plied the streets of Manila.
Mabuhay Singers at Manila Hotels Presidential Salon
After a day of remembering the rich history of Old Manila, your room at Manila Hotel is lavishly prepared to give you a relaxing haven furnished with world class amenities. Rejuvenate at the Manila Hotel Health Club and enjoy the calm at the Pool and Garden Area and stay connected and up to date with complimentary 24-hour WiFi connection.
Intramuros at Night
This room package also includes a buffet breakfast and welcome fruits and drinks. Superior Deluxe is priced at PhP 7,500.00 NET for single occupancy and PhP 8,500.00 NET for double occupancy. Sunset/Sunrise suite is priced at PhP 15,500.00 NET for single occupancy and PhP 16,500.00 NET for double occupancy.
For inquiries and reservations, please call Manila Hotel landline 527 0011 local 1100.