Scams and Snaps: Intramuros Manila

Gullible. Trusting. Naive. Did you describe yourself this way after a trip to Intramuros? I did.

It was my fault. My mistake. But it doesn’t have to be your mistake, too.

It’s okay to be compassionate but please try not to get scammed. I have a soft spot for men who have children. They work hard to feed their family. They sacrifice for their kids. So I sympathized. Maybe, way too much.

Not everyone will trick you, yet some will. So be careful. And it doesn’t hurt to be a little suspicious of pedicab drivers offering their service. It’s easy to say ‘yes’ to a 30-minute tour for P350, but before you know it, each minute beyond this period can incur exorbitant fees.

If this guy approaches you, be sure to check your watch and never exceed 30 minutes, if you don’t want to pay exorbitant fees.

The same person above warned me about scammers in Intramuros. He cited carriages that charge a hefty tour fee as an example. Take a look at this picture.

This man didn’t betray my trust but my scheming pedicab driver said most of these Calesa drivers are scammers. They don’t like each other, obviously.

Now, out with the Scams, Here are Intramuros Snaps

Last June was my third visit to Intramuros. The first one was back in college, when I thought of bringing my siblings there for a holiday tour. The next one was a segway ride with Em, and the third was a few hours before my La Union assignment.

A building for treasures but not for homeless people. Odd.

The problem with being spontaneous? You miss simple protocols like checking the opening hours of museums and gardens. My flight arrived early and I went straight to Intramuros. I later found out that only universities are open as early as 6am.

And it was June 4, 2018, it was also the first day of classes in PLM and other universities. I saw plenty of anxious freshmen, confident sophomores, and unmotivated third year uni students.

Well, it brought back memories.

I’m not from PLM but looking at this university reminded me of my alma mater, PNU.

Let me give you what you were actually after. Photos of my trip to Intramuros. Apologies if I couldn’t show you the entire city – most historic spots were closed during my visit.

Some old facades are still there. Even restaurants had to blend in.

Here are some notable buildings you will spot in and from Intramuros.

Opened on July 4, 1912, Manila Hotel still stands proud. Don’t miss it.
Baluarte de San Andres. Built in 1603 and designed to protect the southeastern part of Intramuros.
A gate built in 1593, damaged in 1945, restored in 1967 and completed in 1982.
Colegio de San Juan de Letran, a Roman Catholic university built in 1620.
Aduana (Customs House). Built from 1823 to 1829. Became offices of the Central Bank of the Philippines. Bombed in 1941 to 1945. Only partly restored in 1998.
Founded in 1571, the Manila Cathedral was originally the “church of Manila.”
If two doors were closed, one will open. La Castellana is a popular wedding reception near Manila Cathedral.
Titled “Memorial”, this sculpture is dedicated to the innocent, nameless, and unknown victims of Japan bombing in 1945.
The Last Stop: Rizal’s Bagumbayan Light & Sound Museum. An exhibit on Philippine history with a focus on Jose Rizal’s heroism and martyrdom.

It was a snappy tour and I wanted more. Maybe fourth time’s a charm?

Happy Rizal Day, everyone.

P.S. If there are specific places inside the walled city that you wish to visit, look for the blue e-trike parked outside Intramuros’ main entrance. A ride within the city only costs P25.

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