Walk This Way, Intramuros Performance Art Tour

Manila gets a bad rap sometimes. I’ve heard people say Manila has no soul and they aren’t necessarily drawn to Manila because it is deemed as a ‘big city with a lot of malls, people and no heritage/culture’. I will not deny that our first year here in 2009 I did think it was a big city with a lot of malls BUT if you have talked to me in person or read anything I have written on social media in the last few years you know I have found so much more in Manila. There are difficulties but I really do love Manila. There is heritage and culture here and it starts in Intramuros.

*Photos from our first visit in 2009. Before I had my own babies when I was still a baby. Man, Manila you have been with me every step of the way. I will always hold a special place in my heart for you. I hope you do the same for me.*

We first visited Intramuros a few weeks after we arrived in 2009. We did the horse and buggy tour and really enjoyed learning more about the Spanish Filipino culture and history. To be honest, we hadn’t been back until last month for the Walk This Way Tour. I heard it was a one man show. I assumed it would be entertaining. I had no idea how loud and informative Walk This Way Tour of Intramuros would be. It really is quite the show. It throws culture, history and very strong opinions in your face. I have never met a person as passionate as Carlos Celdran. His convictions are strong as he tells the story of how Manila got to it’s state today. Truly fascinating and inspiring. He did his job well and has me convinced that I absolutely need to spend more time in Intramuros and get Manila back on the map with Intramuros at spot #1. So, I’m writing this post so that you will also learn to love Manila and Intramuros! *Not a sponsored post. I just want others to understand Manila a bit more and grow to love it.

In his own words,

“I will analyze Philippine architecture, culture and history as we stroll through it’s storied streets. Learn ALL about Manila literally one step at a time. There will be humor, drama, candy, and carriage rides. Promise. Disclaimer: This is performance art in the guise of a walking tour.”

We arrived a bit late for the tour and met up at Fort Santiago. At this point in the tour Carlos had moved on to America’s involvement with The Philippines. Warning: It’s always a little uncomfortable to talk about your home countries participation in war. 

He had this tour down! Music, stage setting, candy, visuals, microphone, dramatics. You name it, he had it. Except fireworks, ha! I loved his historical photographs to help us visualize what we were learning. 

One of my favorite Filipino candies. 

He even had costume changes as he played General MacArthur and a few other characters. He carried this awesome boombox and sang along. I was also quite impressed with his singing abilities. He truly was a one man show. 

In the cinema we learned of tragic events that happened during the war with Manila as it’s war zone. It can make you weep and he allows for solemn moments during this part of the tour. I am grateful for this kind mother of a city we live in. She has been through so much. 

Carlos has it down! He has trained pedi cab drivers so well in customer service. They all wait and greet you as you exit Fort Santiago to take you to the next part of the tour, San Augustin Church and Convent. 

You have a choice between a trike or horse and buggy, Kalesa. 

Ain’t she pretty? San Augustin is now a Unesco Heritage Site. In the photo collage above you can see it was an orange color back in 2009 and has since been preserved. If I remember correctly, it has been through five different facades. 

I don’t even remember what the bunny ears were for but it was entertaining. 

The tour commences at a courtyard behind Barbaras. Carlos so accurately compares the Filipino people and culture to that of a halo halo. Many different cultures and languages all mixed together to make what is now the Filipino culture. Perfectly fit, he serves a halo halo at the end. 

Design Week Philippines had an exhibit in the courtyard for the month of April. Participants were encouraged to write letters to Manila/Philippines/Intramuros and gracefully decorated the tree. 

After the tour we took trikes back to Fort Santiago where we began and parked. 
“I believe that Manila can be a reflection of your state of mind. Being a city of extreme contrasts it can easily become an intense personal experience. Manila can be chaotic and spiritual, dirty and divine, gritty and gorgeous all at once. If you don’t find beauty and poetry here, you will not find it anywhere.” Calros Celdran.

There’s not much more I can add to that. The words mirror what I feel and I hope you strive to see the good here as well. Perhaps starting with this tour will lend an understanding to this place we call home.

*Tours can be booked here.


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