Intramuros

The ‘Intramuros’ are the old city walls of Manila, and used to be the heart of the government during the Spanish Colonial Period.  The walls were constructed begininng in 1590.  ‘Intramuros’ means “within the walls”.  There was a lot of history here, and I honestly didn’t know anything about it until I got home and started google searching. 
 
After hopping off the jeepney, we could see the walls of the Intramuros immediately.  We walked for about 20 minutes searching for a way inside.  As we got closer, tricycle (more on these in another post) drivers started approaching us trying to get us to take a tour of the area.  We weren’t sure what we wanted to do, and the guys were very persistant and annoying so we tried our best to ignore them.  We also assumed it was just a tourist trap, and we didn’t want to get ripped off.  Looking back, I wish we would have taken one of them up on the service because it was a huge area and we knew nothing about it.  We ended up just walking around and exploring for a few hours though, which was fine. 
 
Here are a few photos from the area:
 
 
 
These boys were two of many running around barefoot asking tourists for money.
 
A view of metro Manila from the Intramuros.
 
 
 
It was very hot and humid, so we decided to find somewhere to cool off and and get something to eat and drink.  We wanted to go to the National Museum, but it was closed.  We walked a little further until we found a mall.  That’s where I found a Wendy’s, which was pretty exciting.  Apparently there’s no escape from the begging children, because a little girl came right up to our table asking us for money.  It really breaks my heart. 
 
After that, we still didn’t feel like going out into the heat so we walked around for awhile.  I found a huge bookstore and spent quite a bit of time in there.  I bought some bilingual Filipino/English books for my future classroom.  After that we went to Starbucks, and had a great time talking to the baristas there.  They told us we should take a taxi over to Ocean Park.  As we were getting up to leave a very old Filipino woman started talking to me.  I couldn’t understand what she was saying, but my friend Lolade quickly realized she wanted to talk to her.  The old woman grabbed her hand, and asked “Where are you from?”  Lolade told her she was from England, and the lady said, “Oh, there are black people in England?”.  Lolade laughed and replied, “Of course!  There are black people everywhere!”  They had a good laugh with each other, and thankfully Lolade doesn’t get offended at things like that.  Most people (at least in Korea) are just curious because they are not exposed to other cultures and races. 
 
Ocean Park was a very quick and cheap taxi ride away.  We weren’t really sure what was there, but the baristas at Starbucks assured us that it was a nice place to see.  We realized that it was just different aquarium exhibits, which was fine with me because I LOVE aquariums.  It was very crowded, and not anything really special but I enjoyed it.  We also went into the “ICE” exhibit which was just a Christmas themed room that had snow and ice everywhere.  It was insanely cold in there so we didn’t last long in our flip flops. 
 
 
 
 
We went back to the hostel around 6pm, and rested for a couple hours before heading to a little cafe across the street for dinner.  We had planned to go back to the mall down the road, but we were both too exhausted to go very far. 
 
Up next:  Borocay island.
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