Hello Ladies and I hope that you have a fantastic weekend with your family and friends!
I had a very busy weekends finishing my drafts and proposals and I could say that it was a fruitful weekend. I honestly thought I couldn’t make it again, but hey I’m so glad I did – while sipping my favourite brewed coffee (oh I need that strong kick!) and listening to Charlotte’s rant on the Sex and the City’s rerun.
About two weekend ago, I was humbly invited by Biore Philippines and Digify along with fellow beauty bloggers to visit the Old Manila. I was so excited that finally, I will have a chance to have a walk tour inside the old walled city, which was once invaded for many many years.
This post might be loads of photos so please bear with me. I’ll be sharing my personal thoughts and experience and not to literature-nazi because I know that if I do, you’ll be skipping this post and not reading it all throughout until end, LOL.
For some literature-facts, I will let you explore it by yourself through online research or better have a walk tour too!
So where will we start?
Yes, it is gloomy and have a shower of rain (gladly I have my umbrella with me) but surprisingly there are many guest coming in. Not minding about this depressing weather, both local and foreign guest have all that excitement on their faces – visiting the walled city that was once one of the “urbanite” then housing with the IT and powerful people of Manila.
It was severely damaged in the Battle of Manila in 1945. The Baluartillo restored in 1950s and Reducto in 1983.
Once we entered the Baluartillo, that eerie feeling started to cover me. And every steps that I made into this walled city, I kept myself so silent. Words can’t come out in my mouth and just absorbing that strange power that this place has welcomed me. A power that is so unexpected and a kind of power that I wouldn’t want to carry along.
While our tour guide was patiently sharing the story back then, there I was contented shooting with using my reliable Huawei P9, and capturing the remains of the old city.
It was lovely that the new era of caretakers have installed these benches and wooden tables so that guest can have a place to have a rest, and probably have a little snacks with them (just pray that they won’t litter). And before I continued my walk tour, I’ve brought along my sunscreen lotion – the newest Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel Sunscreen Lotion to protect my skin from any sun damages – even in this kind of gloomy weather.
We continued our walk tour inside and I am truly amazed how this walled city is still standing proud for many years, though yes some part of it are already restored, most are not. Which made me wish that someone, or a group of philanthropist hopefully adopt the restoration of this city, because it will cost millions.
The architecture of the entrance gate is so impressive, with all those carvings influenced by the Spanish era, and how proud the community was before.
Though the walls are now covered with the molds of centuries old, which I think are now protecting its structure, you could still see and imagine the life back then.
There might be good times I know, the glitz and glamour even without Instagram and Fashion Week, and how I wish they have rescued those tangible things of the past.
Because all I could feel in this walled city is full of braveness, and depression.
And that eerie feeling started to cover me.
The past and the present times. You know how I wish Manila is like Japan wherein Japanese people have incorporated the two cultures in one.
Do you know how I wish that these two eras have never have that conflicts.
Ah would that be stay as wishes?
Okay I tried to be cute despite of the heavy eerie feeling that I am carrying since we’ve stepped inside the old city, and I guess I didn’t pretty well here. Thanks that I have my Biore UV sunscreen for more protect from sun damage.
We’ve visited the cell where the late Jose Rizal was imprisoned, and also checked his other personal possessions that was save by the brave women of those days.
And yes I couldn’t help but admire that Jose Rizal is a genius guy! He’s a doctor, an educator, a poet, engineer, and architect, a sculptor, a painter, etc. etc. and I think that’s awesome. And no wonder he is also adored by many women. And for every places that he visited there is one woman who is next to him, unconditionally love and adorned him.
Jose Rizal have everything – the wealth, the fame his amazing talented brain and skills, and his many women – no wonder he was a target of jealously during those early years.
If there selfie exist during those days, I think Jose Rizal will have many fans who would die to have a selfie with him. These are some of his portraits from many years during his journey in and outside the country. A well-dressed gentleman, with his hair sleek-back, it would be a misfortune not to give him at least a glance.
In the museum also housed the two famous books of Jose Rizal – Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. Don’t be flattered because these are not the original books – these are just copies for museum display purpose.
Am sharing you something that most of tour guides and guests of Intramuros doesn't know.
I remember two years ago (sometime in September 2015) when I attended an exclusive auction in Salcedo. Part of the connoisseur collection, these two books are also listed in the auction.
This book in the museum might be just a copy for museum display only – but did you know that the first edition of this book can already buy you a flat?
Here’s the details:
Jose Rizal’s El Filibusterismo is the widely lauded sequel to his first novel, Noli Me Tangere. The sequel continues the narrative of Crisostomo Ibarra, reborn as Simon. Dedicated to the memory of reformist priests Don Mariano Gomez, Don Jose Burgos and Don Jacinto Zamora – collectively known as GomBurZa – who were executed for their alleged involvement in the Cavite mutiny. El Filibusterismo aim to raise patriotic sentiment in the face of the abuse of the Spaniards and continues to be a widely deliberated work in academia.
Completed in 1891, El Filibusterismo was originally published in Ghent to save on cost. Spending all the money he had in addition to a loan from Valentin Ventura, Rizal was able to publish his second novel in the year of its completion. Apart from those given to his friends, first editions were shipped to Hong Kong with the intent of smuggling then into the Philippines, however, the copies were seized by the authorities. As a result, the remaining first edition Ghent copies continue to be a treasured and exceptionally rare find.
This hardbound first edition bears the bookplate of Isidro R. Morales of Manila on the inside cover.
And in 2015, this book was in auction and being sold for Php 2 Million (approx. US$40,000)
That’s a huge money for a book!
It is confidential who is the newest owner of this most prized possession of the history. And because of its exoticness, no wonder the price will goes up in succeeding years.
After we visit the museum, we went outside and checkout what’s happening beyond that wall. There was the Pasig River and on the other side is the chaotic city of reality, mixing the modern days and the depressing reality of times. Honestly, it is too depressing to bear – I was imagining during the old days where there are parties going on here with all the glitz and glamour, while on the other side of the wall, the underprivileged people are dying on hunger, fighting each other just to survive.
And I want to extend my apology for our tour guide for not following him around, because if I become an obeying student, I would probably missed this sweetest scene. I found this Japanese couple enjoying their walk tour, and moment is quite precious. It made me think how romantic their lives are, and actually while taking this photo, made me actually wished that hope I and my Dada could also make it.
Ahh I've felt the LOVE is in the air!
It was only sad that I could feel the LOVE inside Intramuros. LOVE for the country – Yes… that leads to martyrdom. Which made me think, was the sacrifices worth it?
Hope this new generation appreciates it in spite all the modernization, and globalization. It might be in the past but sometimes, it is nice to looked back and learn from the past, in order to make a right path for the future.
I couldn’t help but smile each time I see my group enjoying the tour, taking their selfies and photo jump and everything – and that’s good. And no matter how much I want to have that visual excitement, I couldn’t because of that peculiar feeling I had.
I mentioned about that eerie feeling…. That heavy feeling that I haven’t felt for so many years. I can’t smile peacefully, all I could feel is that depressing moment and the cries of thousands of people, and the death of the many, all engraved in these old walls. Every steps that I made, I have to hold back my tears because many wouldn’t understand. All I could do is to be silent, and feel that heavy load while snapping these photographs and mourn silently.
And I think the people who died in this place deserved that mourning silence. They’ve sacrifice their lives in the hopes of freedom, that we - the new generation are enjoying – but most of the time also the freedom being abused, which I know that these poor souls doesn’t expected us to do so.
While writing this piece and editing these photographs, I couldn’t help but have these tears running down my cheeks – the sadness…. for they have to endure those pains and death.
Also my way of expressing my respect for these poor souls, and my way of saying thank you - for giving us your life for us. That all I could give for now. Have Respect.
After visiting the walled city, we went to San Agustin Church and Museum, which I will share on my next post. My apology for this post it quite heavy to bear.
My deepest gratitude to Biore Philippines Team and Digify Team for organizing this remarkable walk tour in Old Manila, for treating us for this amazing experience that I would never forget. This piece is quite emotional.