After reaching Manila from Clark, I asked around on how to get to my pre-booked hostel located at Makati. This was my first time in town and I didn't quite get the hang of using the Jeepneys around. But after a long while walking and asking men in uniforms (there seem to be a lot of them in Manila), I finally hopped on a non-English speaking jeepney and went off where-ever he told me too.
Jose's cell room was so spacious! Bigger than the master room at my own rented KL home. Hiks. Eventually, I went out of the fort and set my sights to other buildings within Intramuros.
And somehow I ended inside a Church Museum. It kinda got awkward for me because I was the only person who wore hijab! Haha. But the porcelain dolls depicting Virgin Mary (and so I thought) were beautifully painted, with live hair and elaborate dresses. I was truly awed by the masterpieces shown here but I didn't stay long.
After that I wandered some more and there were a lot of Spanish-like buildings around with Spanish names. I didn't enter any of them so I ended up buying some postcards from a shop there and headed out.
And no, it did reach my destination.
I got lost. Hahahaha.
I did some reading on where to stay in Manila and opted for the one recommended by blogger Solitary Wanderer at her post here. The MNL Boutique Hostel. I already paid 10% via online for a female hostel room. Thankfully I had the address so I just kept spirit and kept on asking men in uniform for directions.
An hour later... I finally reached the colorful building with a guard at the door.
Manila seems to have this system where all the entrances of the buildings are locked and heavily guarded (or simply has a guy keeping watch). I had to show my copy of room reservation to the guy before he unlocked the door for me.
I found it a bit odd. But horeyyyy!! Finally reached a hostel with FREE WI-FI! (nothing else mattered at that point. hehe)
So I recharged myself and replanned my itinerary and this is what I did that day. :)
1. Visited Intramuros, the wall city of Manila
Intramuros was the Spaniards' center of political and religious power back when the Philippines was still a Spanish colony. Even today I've noticed that many of the Philippines have unique Spanish names. Within this walled city is Fort Santiago, the prison where Philippine's National Hero, Jose Rizal spent his last days. And there are also twelve churches for which the most famous are the Manila Cathedral and San Agustin Church.
Being such an important colony back then, there are also hospitals, lodging houses, commercial spaces, universities and even military barracks.
I hired a taxi to get here since the Jeepney transport system became too complicated for me (but a map of the city would've helped which I had none.) And since the city has about seven entrance gates, I had to make sure I came in and out the same gate to avoid getting more lost. Haha.
|Fort Santiago - one of the oldest fortifications in Manila. Built in 1571.|
I spent almost three hours here. Wandering myself senseless in the hot sun by walking. Spent the most time in Fort Santiago (P 75 per person) and enjoyed the view from the moat which was added later in 1603. I also tried soaking up the history of Jose Rizal last days by visiting his prison cell. Ahh.. scary.
|Within Fort Santiago. See the moat! Beautiful!|
And below is how it looks like today. It was destroyed by fire and earth quakes so many times. I'm amazed that the structure still stands today. :)
|Beautiful religious porcelain dolls.|