Let’s summarise our journey since the beginning.
We left Sydney in November 2012 to spend a month in Indonesia from Bali to Sulawesi through Lombok, Gilis and Nusa Lembogan. Out of the 700 islands that constitute Indonesia, we have visited 8, so just a bit more than 8% of what Indonesia has to offer.
From there, we headed down to Philippines, other asian nation, made of 7107 islands… In one month, we have visited three islands….
Firstly, one month in Boracay where we kite surf everyday, then back to the main island where Manila, Legazpi and Donsol are located.
We spent though the last week in Manila, Legazpi and Donsol.
A bit of history.. Philippines became independent in 1946, just at the end of the second world war. Manila, created by Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, a conquistador, in 1571, has been damaged a lot and reduced to a heap of ruins during the 2nd world war. There is not much left from the ancient Manila. The only part alive constitute the ancient Manila, the intramuros area. This area is the main area we will visit during our journey.
From what I could read and understood about the Hispanic past of Manila through three centuries of spanish colonization, I was expecting Intramuros to be more labelled with a strong spanish branding as we can see in South and Central America. Some large house, white painted with inside a patio, trees and water fountain.
In this area of Manila, we only saw one, which is a reconstitution of how it was before. “La Casa Manila” is still a very good attraction to go to.
Other building start to be restaured thanks to the Intramuros Administration whom objective is the restauration of all the building damaged during world war II. (Some fundings are coming from the Japanese Governement. Japan has occupied during 3 years Manila from 1942 to 1945)
The atmosphere inside Intramuros is a bit bizarre with old stuffs mixed with ancient… As well, a Mac Donald located near an old journalism building from the 50s.
At Fort Santiago, the army place during the second world war II, you can find a golf playground which goes to Rizal park.
A few chuches and convent restored, a skate park in the middle and finaly a lot of building ready to collapse.
We are bumping into ancient horse-drawn carriage among rare cars and street vendors pushing their heavy loads.
Sometimes, yes, you would believe you are at the beginning of the century where cars were a luxury product.
Par moment, oui, on croirait bien être en plein début du siècle, époque révolue où la voiture n’était encore qu’un objet de luxe .
Photos gallery of Intramuros
Once out of Intramuros, we getting back into the rather modern but not touristic Manila.
From the Malate to Ermita area, the ride along the sea has nothing exceptional except making you more aware of the poverty that exists in this city. Rubbish, smell and pollution which goes with remind you that the glorious past of Manila is no longer.
Second Manila gallery
You will have to go toward the more recent suburbs such as Mandaluyong to find the massive grand hotels, golf and shopping centers. But that was not part of our journey.
Lucky us. As we were heading back to our hostel, a play of sound, lights and water foutain was happening. This was a good way to end our Manila journey.
In short, Manila will only be a short stop-over to get to or out of one of the 7107 islands Philippines has to offer.
We would almost get lost… Someone can help?