The Philippines is a country full of history. Most of us are not aware how rich our history is. The schools teach the basics such as important dates, events, and so on and so forth. History though is quite more immersive and interesting, if you take the right approach. World War II is in history books everywhere and that’s pretty much my extent of Philippine history knowledge. So when I got the chance to take a walking tour in Intramuros, I grabbed that chance.
The tour is offered by Manila for a Day (www.manilaforaday.com) and is made possible through the friendship of Dustin Ancheta, Cheryll Selda, and Anna Ercilla. Dustin is the resident guide and his professional tour guide career started with the Department of Tourism’s Mabuhay Guides program. Cheryll is the operations manager while Anna handles the marketing for the group.
3G: God, Gold, & Glory (P850 introductory price; P1,000 by September) is the name of the walking tour offered by Manila for a Day, which is expertly guided by veteran tour guide extraordinaire Dustin Ancheta. It includes all the entrance fees to the places you will visit and also includes post-tour snacks and refreshments. It’s quite intimate since a maximum of 12 people will be part of the group. This allows for a more in depth experience. The tour offers a rare glimpse of the Philippines during its golden age. According to Dustin, this was the era where the Philippines was at the center stage of global trade and commerce.
San Agustin Church
How to get there:
The meet up place is at the ticket booth of the famous baroque San Agustin Church in Intramuros. If you’re coming in from the South, such as Cavite, you can take a public utility vehicle and get off in Lawton or near Manila City Hall. Once there, you can walk to Intramuros and take a pedicab (P20) to the church. You can also take the LRT and get off at Carriedo or Central Station.
Ticket booth area
What to expect and bring:
This is a walking tour, so do expect to do a lot of walking and make sure to wear comfortable shoes. Don’t forget to bring a camera for those quick snapshots, but be advised that there are areas during the tour where any type of photography is forbidden. That works out quite well too since it’ll give you the opportunity to listen and learn instead of concentrating on taking pictures. Dustin will remind you of all the do’s and don’ts before you start the tour. But most important of all, bring your sense of adventure and love of history. You will be learning a lot during the tour.
Built for the acoustics: a bell used to be up there
It started off well enough. For me, it was an adventure in itself getting there as I kept getting side tracked looking at all the sites in Intramuros and surrounding area. The group met up at the ticket booth entrance of the San Agustin Church Museum. It’s located off to the side, near the main entrance to the church. As you enter the big doors of the museum, you can’t help but feel the history of the place. And that makes it very tempting to just whisper the entire time while you’re inside. Even inside the ticket booth area you catch glimpses of the history you’re about to partake in: old paintings hang on the walls, and above the entrance dangles a chandelier illuminating the waiting area.
I took a few shots of the interior while waiting for Dustin and the rest of the group to arrive. Dustin arrived a few short minutes later and we got to talking. I was impressed right away at the knowledge he possessed. This man is a walking history book and the twinkle in his eye while he explained the background of the church already told me that I’ll be enjoying this tour immensely. There’s nothing better than a tour guide who knows his stuff and loves doing what he does. The tour commenced once the rest of the group arrived and we headed off into the museum itself.
Second floor of the museum
Inside the museum you will learn a lot about the history of the church in the Philippines. There are plenty statues made out of real ivory and gold, and there are silver embroidered Santo Niños. While on the second floor of the museum, you will get a glimpse of the early life of the priests in the country. There are also glimpses of life in the Philippines during the early years of the Spanish colonization.
A Spanish Galleon miniature
After a bit of exploring and a lot of interesting historical facts, the group arrived inside of the church itself. Actually, we were a bit above where the choir is supposed to be, and this area provided a great glimpse of the interior of the San Agustin church. This area instilled a sense of awe in me, which I tried to capture in the pictures you see below.
A very romantic venue for a wedding
Is it just a painting?
The group then headed over to Casa Manila, a turn of the century replica home that showcases Philippine society in the 19th and 20th century. At a later time, we arrived at The Manila Collectible Co. for some refreshments and post tour questions. The museum/shop allows you to do some needed shopping for gifts and snacks. And not only that, the shop itself provides you a little historical tour of the Philippines and the different products each region has to offer.
Time to do some shopping!
How about some fruit wine?
Knowledge is power and knowledge of history has a special place in society that is undeniably good. Knowing more about your own culture and history brings out a sense of pride and connects you to your past. If you love history, then this tour is for you; if you’d just like to get a glimpse of what life was like back in those times, then this tour is for you as well. Bring the family, bring friends--it’s a simple and fun way to spend the weekend with loved ones while learning about Philippine culture and history. Manila for a Day is proud to present this tour to the world and show you the 3G’s: God, Gold, & Glory.
3G: God, Gold, & Glory walking tour by Manila For A Day happens on Saturdays and Sundays. Morning tour starts 9:15am and afternoon tour at 2:30pm. Interested parties can book a tour by registering online at www.manilaforaday.com, e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by contacting +63 999 1964715 to reserve a slot. You can pay using a credit card (an invoice will be e-mailed to you via PayPal), bank deposit, or even on-site a few minutes before the tour starts. For more information, visit the FAQ section of their website, www.manilaforaday.com