Truthfully, I didn’t really expect something spectacular when planning a trip to Intramuros as I only had a little time in Manila.
Since my visit to Manila was purely attending ONE OK ROCK XXXV 2016 Asia Tour, I didn’t really plan much on seeing the city. However, when I headed to the concert venue in Mall of Asia Arena complex I passed by a beautiful old architecture of a catholic church, Shrine of Jesus the Way. It reminded me of an article I read way back of an old town in Manila. So I browsed and asked around my local friends and colleagues and finally found the old city, Intramuros.
As I went on weekday, I was fortunate enough for not meeting a lot of crowd and it was a very pleasant stroll tracking back the history of the old town of Manila. Rich with its Spanish culture and European style churches and buildings, Intramuros fascinated both my eyes and interest of historical architecture.
Truly a visit that threw me off guard, but then again sometimes the best things in life do come unexpectedly.
- Come early as you might want to spend minimum half a day exploring the town. And it’s better to leave before 4pm to avoid heavy traffic during rush hour.
- Most cafes and restaurants are located at the main street and a handful ones inside the walls (but not much options). So you might want to bring some snacks and water on the go while exploring the old town.
- Wifi is rare, I only found it at some places; Starbucks which was packed with other tourists and students alike for the very same reason therefore it wasn’t stable and unreliable. The only cafe I found which has reliable wifi was at the main street, Zucchero Cafe, just a few steps by the KFC.
- There will be local tour guide offering you services by the entrance of the gate. I was offered PHP300/30 mins with a Tuk-Tuk around the complex. This was actually not quite effective as they were only dropping me by the churches and they will wait outside until you’re finish exploring the church/buildings. It is possible to explore the old town by yourself, bring your own map (attached below if you need one) and you’re good to go!
- The nearest ATM machine is at Philippine National Bank, nearby the Starbucks. You can use your foreign card with VISA/Mastercard logo for withdrawal with a fee of PHP200 per withdrawal.
- Although Intramuros is quite a huge complex of 166 acres filled with fascinating preserved architectures, it is highly recommended to be explored by foot. Wear your most comfortable sneakers or flats since there are some houses that are still covered in cobblestones.
- Wear light and comfortable, sunblock, glasses, and hat. Especially in summer, the temperature can go up to 30°C / 86°F.