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Inside the Walled City

Updated

By Jullie Y. Daza

  • A LAZY STROLL through the nooks and crannies and under the arches of Intramuros.

  • BARBARA’s is the place to meet for Ronnie Merk and her friend, the owner, Barbara Gordon de los Reyes.

  • Lunching at Barbara’s inside the Walled City.

    Lunching at Barbara’s inside the Walled City.

    Isabel de Leon, news editor, and Jun Icban, editor in chief, Manila Bulletin.

  • Lunching at Barbara’s inside the Walled City.

    Lunching at Barbara’s inside the Walled City.

    Molly Koscina, press attache of the US embassy.

  • LOTS OF ATMOSPHERE inside Barbara’s, for lunch or dinner in Filipino style.

  • LOTS OF ATMOSPHERE inside Barbara’s, for lunch or dinner in Filipino style.

  • CANTA SERENATA, a trilingual trio who sing their love songs in Spanish, English, and Filipino.

    The Walled City. Tourist spot. History of a cultural and religious persuasion. Known to all as Intramuros, even those who have never crossed the highway to come to this side of the Pasig that is Manila. The Intramuros that movie fans recognize as “panahon ng Kastila” (Spanish times) with its cobblestone streets, colonial-style houses and churches, and other low-rise structures providing the right authentic atmosphere for period-piece films like Larawan and General Luna, and as the place to date a girl such as in Last Night, a ghost story minus the scare factor.

    Intramuros is ancient history, but thanks to a grand plan to restore some of its faded glory back in the mid-1970s by the then Metropolitan Manila Authority under Imelda Romualdez Marcos, waves of attempted rejuvenations have kept it going, first under Jaime C. Laya and up to its present stewardship under the Intramuros Administration. Who would guess that within the hallowed walls thrives a huge student population enrolled in secular and nonsecular colleges and universities the likes of Mapua, Letran, Lyceum, and Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila? On the public-service side, the Department of Labor and the Commission on Elections a few blocks away. In the distance between these two government buildings, a scattering of quaint little restaurants, small and medium-size hotels, antiques shops, and a slew of offices catering to seafarers, recruitment agencies, Red Cross, Catholic Bishops Conference, and Manila Bulletin Publishing (whose cafeteria for employees has been discovered as a clean, cool spot for affordable meals by the campus community).

    Come visit. It’s a fraction of history in a part of Manila that feels just a wee bit isolated (or would insulated be a more suitable word? Indeed, those walls are to blame, yet they’re the reason Intramuros is unlike anything in the whole of Metro Manila.

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