A Night in Intramuros
by Ellen Joy Anastacio
Until a few nights ago, the only reasons why I would go to Intramuros would be to attend weddings either at the San Agustin
Church, or at the Manila Cathedral, or for class field trips when I was a kid to go and see Fort Santiago, where Jose Rizal
wrote Mi Ultimo Adios before his execution. Last Sunday, Intramuros surprised me with its varied attractions.
We got there by 6pm, with the early twilight bathing the old walls of Intramuros with a warm glow. Intramuros is charming in its old world
sensibilities, and upon seeing the rayadillos who looked like guardia sibils, I felt like I was transported back to the 19th century, if not
for the fact that our bags were checked prior to entering for security purposes!
While walking through its cobblestoned streets, I felt as though I was walking along the streets of Florence, Italy! We headed over to
Gen. Luna Street, the so-called Tapas Row. Around three blocks from the entrance , we discovered that it was actually the street between
Casa Manila and the San Agustin Church. Two buffet tables from different restaurants, namely Barbara's and Beverly's, were adjacent to
each other, with candle lit tables blocking General Luna Street. Being so close to the church, while eating paella, tuna, chicken barbecue
and create-your own halo-halo, we could see men and ladies coming out of a wedding mass to attend the reception at Casa Manila.
After dinner, we headed over to the Clamshell, a place for varied exhibits. Last Sunday, the exhibit was all about the Region XXII provinces,
like South Cotabato, Saranggani Province, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, General Santos City, among others. We saw malongs, tuna products from
General Santos City, wooden boats that sold for thousands of pesos, beads, crystals, native hot chocolate balls, and a whole range of
products from the Socsargen region. We even got our pictures printed in a shot glass for only fifty pesos. Very nice. We also managed to
catch a cultural presentation of some Mindanao dances, with very talented local dancers. Heck, we even saw the PNP mascot and Tourism
Secretary Dick Gordon milling around!
After we've had our eye's fill of the exhibit, we found ourselves walking all around Intramuros, where there were a lot of different
food stalls, tables, and areas for caricaturists, tattoo, and henna artists. You could actually get your caricature made for only P200
per head. And believe me, their artwork is no joke, we do have a lot of talented artists out here.
Speaking of talent, there were also different singers or bands per area. In one area, someone was singing last year's national anthem,
"Bakit Ngayon Ka Lang," in the next, it was a single guy crooning love ballads a la Paolo Santos. In our final stop, we heard kundimans
and lots of old songs for my Mom's listening pleasure, to complete her Mother's Day celebration. A known old time singer, Armando Ramos,
serenaded the audience with tunes like Dahil Sa Iyo, while the balmy breeze of the cool summer night helped us enjoy the entertainment more.
Intramuros definitely has even more to offer now. For a taste of history, you can always visit Fort Santiago, the churches, and Casa Manila,
among others, because simply walking inside the walls already exudes a sense of our history. But if you want entertainment and simple fun,
you can also count on it from the Walled City. So if you want a combination of both, go and experience Intramuros for yourself!
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