Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Date: Intramuros

There is so much history in Intramuros. In this adventure, we concentrated on structures in Intramuros. We will definitely go back to check out the museums and other restaurants we haven't tried yet.

Our Itinerary:

  • Pasig River Ferry
  • Plaza Mexico
  • Marso Cafe and Restaurant
  • Fort Santiago
  • Manila Cathedral
  • Traversing wall closest to Bonifacio Drive
  • Baluarte de San Diego
  • Papier Tole Souvenir Shop
  • Plaza San Luis Complex
  • Ristorante Delle Mitre
  • Post Office Building


Meetup 10 am Guadalupe ferry. To get there, I got down from Guadalupe MRT Station, walked north-bound EDSA, turn right at first corner, just keep walking until I saw the ferry terminal station. I arrived at exactly 10 am. The ferry from Guadalupe-Plaza Mexico costs 50php. A ferry departed by 10:15 am but wasn't able to ride it because Oca is not there yet. He arrived around 10:20 am and we waited for the next ferry which departs 10:45 am. But the ferry we boarded arrived around 10 mins later.

They have seats on waiting area.

The river absolutely stinks. It really stinks so bad because of all the garbage carelessly thrown to the river. But it was an incredible experience. I wanted to try it because it was part of my bucket list to ride the ferry that traverses pasig river. But I will never ever do it again. Firstly because it stinks so bad. We were like "ang baho!" every while. And also, the time interval before the next ferry to arrive is too loooooong. Plus the time to get to Plaza Mexico station takes too long as well as the motor stops once in a while because of the some garbage that gets thru the motor's turbine. pfft. If pollution does not stop there, there probably won't be any ferries in the future. Aside from the smell and time, *OH MY GOODNESS*, you will see some unexpected items floating (ASIDE FROM GARBAGE, THAT IS). Please skip this part and move to the next paragraph if you have a weak tummy. Don't say I didn't warn you! Okay, you're so kuleeet... I think (but I pray nooot) I saw a head floating??? It was kinda red in color and had black hair covering most of it and I also saw white stuff which is probably the bone but OMG. I hope I'm wrong. I really didn't see it clearly because I looked away as I was about to throw up when the idea popped into my mind that it is probably a person's head. I told Oca about it and he suggested that it might be a coconut. Fuuunny, a little while, we saw a coconut floating. It sure does look like the one I saw earlier but it was lacking more black part for the "hair" and white part for the "bone". And then a little while, I saw a dead dog floating :(((( Its body was already bloated and it looked so scary :((( That time I was about to throw up again. whew! So much for an experience!

But what I like about it is that we get to have another view of Manila. You get to see the factories (WHICH IS A BIG REASON WHY THE RIVER IS POLLUTED), the big condominiums and buildings,

slums (THIS AS WELL!) and rich villages. And also, it passes by the back of MalacaƱang Mansion *whiiich I have only ever seen in the old Peso bills. So yeah it was pretty cool that way  :)

Although I reaaaaaally wanted to take a picture of the MalacaƱang Mansion, it wasn't allowed of course for the obvious security reasons. Before we even passed there, there was a ferry stop at PUP and there, a soldier boarded the ferry and his duty is to make sure that noone takes a picture of the mansion. The other men in the station reminded us about not taking pictures in Guadalupe Station and PUP stations, so yeah. It is striiictly prohibited. And then, passing by the Mansion, the motor was running. really. slowly. probably to avoid making noise that could reach the insides of the Mansion.

Soooo, I'll just describe what it looks like. Basically, what you see in the back of the 20 peso bill

 is just a part of it. The lot is really, really huge. There are so many gardens inside it and a lot of mausoleums of different religions and cultures (or atleast I saw some for muslims and chinese). We can't see what else is beyond the buildings of course but for sure, I can tell, the place is really huge, bigger than SM Megamall's lot. I wonder how President PNoy is in the facilities there since he doesn't have a family of his own. He probably feels lonely and couldn't enjoy it much.

Also, if you are planning to drop at the other stations, would like you to know that only Pinagbuhatan, Guadalupe, P.U.P., Escolta and Plaza Mexico are the only operating stations as of now. Don't rely too much on what you see in Google Maps.

So upon arriving at Plaza Mexico Ferry Station, we walked a little to reach Plaza Mexico. pfft. but there was really not much to see. Just a statue and scriptures in Spanish which of course we didn't understand. We decided to just go to our next location which is supposed to be Fort Santiago but since it is already lunch time, we were headed to Marso Cafe and Restaurant. We were just walking Soriano Ave and stopped at Ministop first to buy water for the whole day. We bought 1L bottle for each of us. Then we continued walking until we reached Cabildo Street, Oca looked over to the right and joyfully blurted "Marso!".


Was expecting a bit of old Manila-ish theme from the interior of this restaurant since it is what the logo outside was suggesting. I was just a bit disappointed by that.

But value for money? Winner! We ordered Sinigang na Sugpo and Chicken Steak and it was oh so good! Especially that Sinigang na sugpo? Gahd. I thought we were going to be having a bad time at the resto but thank goodness for their food.

Sinigang na sugpo = 210php

Chicken Steak w/ Rice = ~150 php

Busog Lusog

We also ordered another rice as sinigang na sugpo didn't have one because it's only an ulam. He left a small tip since we enjoyed the food and they don't have service charge.

Then off we headed to our next location taking Cabildo Street then Sta. Clara Street. Passing by Sta. Clara street makes you feel like living in the past. so we took some pictures. Not too long, we reached Fort Santiago.


75php entrance fee per adult.

What's there to see:

Cafe. But we didn't actually check that out.

Wooden Gallery. Full of wooden crafts and freaky displays.

Lights and Sounds Theater. But really it's just projector. Story telling about maintenance of Intramuros. There was even no history so we got bored in an instant and lurked anywhere again.

Beside it is the Information Center where you could get cool maps for free. The assistants asked us to sign up on a sheet upon getting these maps.

A tram sits right outside the information center

We found a Chapel but before we did, we had to go through a tunnel which was pretty high and felt cool. At the end of it is the entrance to the chapel.

The tunnel is on the left of this road

A small chapel

After getting through the tunnel

Plaza De Armas. 

Beyond that gate lies Plaza de Armas. 

Posing with a guard upon entering the Plaza :)

2-floor museum for Dr. Jose Rizal. It was pretty cool to see some of the treasured artifacts. And it's nice to know about history that went back then. You learn so much from this place.

Here lies the piece of bone of Dr. Jose Rizal which was broken by a bullet during his death sentence.

Rajah Sulayman Theatre which is pretty small. It probably used to be a place where someone announces news back then. The place is walled by bricks and has a stage on the middle.

Picnic Areas. Yep, you could bring food and eat it there. Don't worry too much about the heat because it's cool there. Trees make up the ceiling and it is very windy in that part of the Fort.

There is also Plaza Moriones which is the first thing you see when you get to this Fort. There are benches around the area and few standups where you could shoot your head and take a picture. There is also this big fountain which attracts everyone's attention. Well, fountains are always an attention grabber, don't you think?

Right upon exit from Fort Santiago, there is a shop selling tee souvenirs which is "PORENER"-priced (foreigner). So we didn't buy any because f*ck anything that's expensive. But their designs are pretty awesome. But still, f*ck anything that's expensive.


Originally, we were going to Plaza Roma. But I must say, I was quite disappointed to know that there is not much in this place. Just a fountain and a statue. So we ended up checking out Manila Cathedral instead which is just across this Plaza.

This probably is the biggest catholic church I have ever seen. And not to mention, everything still looks good. Oca said it was renovated just a few years back and it has just recently reopened.


We were heading to Baluarte Plano de Sta. Isabel. so we took Postigo Street towards the Intramuros wall. There are Kalesas in Postigo Street. Drivers are offering 350 php for 30 mins ride and it would go 'round the Intramuros. And I in my head I was like, "Really? just 30 mins? f*ck!".

Upon reaching the wall, we saw stairs that takes you ON the wall. so we took that then, tadaaa! We were walking on top of the wall. Traversing the walls of Intramuros nearest and parallel to Bonifacio Drive. There was absolutely nothing in Baluarte Plano de Sta. Isabel. it just looked like a park on top of the wall because of the people sitting and talking around. We just passed by it and headed to the Baluarte de San Diego, still on the wall. On the other hand, we saw an overview of a golf course and buildings on our right.


75php entrance fee per adult.
There is this well-maintained gardens and the actual Baluarte. Taking the stairs, you could see an overview of a golf course and buildings pretty much just like what we saw a bit earlier because the wall and the baluarte is actually connected, but since the Baluarte is not for free, they put a gate in between. So what we did get down the nearest stairs from the gate, walked the street and reach the entrance of Baluarte de San Diego. While walking on the street, it was pretty cool to see how maintained the old-fashioned houses are.

The place suggests that it could be a reception for a wedding or some events as the place looks lovely.


We were actually heading to Ristorante Delle Mitre already and finalize our day. Getting out of Baluarte de San Diego, we walked Sta. Lucia Street. While walking, I told Oca that I forgot where it is located but I know it's in the middle of Intramuros. Just then we saw people when we were passing by Sta. Potentcia street so we took that road instead and asked for directions. They told us that it was on the other side of this street which is Real street. So we kept walking turned left on General Luna Street. Seeing the sides of San Agustin Church.

The Street's floors are cool as they maintained the old brick-y style like what you would probably see in Vigan. We passed by Barbara's which is a buffet restaurant. I heard good stuff about that place, we'll try it next time. Beside Barbara's is this souvenir shop called The Papier Tole Shop.

This. I enjoyed! It was like Papemelrotti but in Intramuros. So full of different, cool knick knacks. Much more and much more patriotic actually than that of Papemelrotti. But I love them both :3 And in this shop, I found the fan I was looking for. Not expensive but cute. :3

Was also amazed to see a small plaza further inside the other exit of the store. It looked like what is seen in the movie "Letters to Juliet". Simple yet lovingly awesoooome. Especially seeing wooden doors and flowers hanging above it I could just sigh, stay and appreciate its beauty. What's more special in it is that it's not very easy to find. We just found it out because the shop owner told us to check out the plaza at the back. You cannot see it from the streets because it's barred by big wooden doors.


Just a few steps away from the souvenir shop, we found Ristorante Delle Mitre. If I'm not mistaken, I think the name means "Restaurant of the priests" (I'm not so sure, please correct me if I'm wrong). Hence, its priestly displays. And I must say, this restaurant absolutely values your money as well! 

Our orders:

These smoothies tastes so awesome! I'm going to order that combination if I bumped into a Fruitas stand next time.
Mango-Lychee Smoothie = 108 php

Kiwi-Banana Smoothie = 108 php

Pork Binagoongan = 180 something?

Pasta is absolutely, hmm! I loved everything in it (seafood lover here). Oca said it was kinda salty. But for me it tastes just right as the pasta itself is fighting the salty taste of the sauce and other seafood ingredients.

Seafood Pasta = 230?

We tried the Calamansi cheesecake because it's the first time we've encountered one. We were actually deciding between that and Apple Cinnamon. But I think we are going to encounter that here so we gave it a try. And as you know, cheesecakes are supposed to be sour and calamansi fruit is already so sour, so pretty much everything is just sour so I didn't enjoy it much. I was kind of expecting something different on the taste but naaah. I only ate 1/6 of my the cake. Oca ate the rest of it.

Calamansi cheesecake = 145?

The CR is cute. (so pink in Girl's room) but I got no picture of it. Sayang!

And so, we were bound home. From the restaurant we walked left towards Muralla Street. While walking Real Street, we were a bit shocked to see that there are squatters in this area. Walking Muralla Street, we saw children running up on the wall and we get to appreciate some buildings had maintained the old look even if new establishments are in place.

We took Anda Street going out of Intramuros and headed to Padre Burgos Ave. 


This we saw while walking to Padre Burgos Ave. Squatters are everywhere at the plaza infront of this beautiful building. But even though that is the case, it's good that the building is maintained and no vandals are on it.


We rode a jeep bound to Quiapo on Padre Burgos Avenue.
And in Quiapo (Quezon Boulevard) there are vans going to SM Fairview and Pasig.
It only costs 45php for a ride going to SM Fairview.


Oca's expenses. He treated me except for the ferry fee (yes, I'm such a baby :3):
Pasig river ferry = 50
Water = 50 
Marso's = 400 
Fort Santiago = 150
Baluarte de Santiago = 150
Souvenir Fan = 100
Ristorante Delle Mitre = 810
Jeep = 16
Total = ~ 1800 php

You should definitely bring the following especially when the heat is intense:
  • Water
  • Towel/Hankey
  • Umbrella

You? have you gone to Intramuros? If yes, any suggestions for our next visit? If no, any places you want to check out here? Tell us about it coz' we will surely come back. (But definitely not by ferry again.. haha!)