Em and Intramuros – two of my favorite subjects lately. And I just discovered a way to see them simultaneously. I caught up with Em while gliding around Intramuros on a Segway. What could be more fun?!
I’ve always wanted to mount and ride a Segway ever since I saw it on YouTube. Dean Kamen was the inventor of this two-wheeled self-balancing personal transporter. Kamen was so in love with Science and Tech, he dedicated his life to it.
Despite Dean’s campaign for traveling green via Segway, the invention was a flop (probably because of the cost). Gladly, it found a market in golf courses. And this we discovered on our recent trip to Intramuros.
Want to know what it’s like to drive this awesome machine? Read on.
Baloney! We underestimated Manila traffic. Warning to commuters and drivers planning to visit Manila even on a regular weekday afternoon: come at least an hour early if you’re heading to Intramuros. Em picked me up from SM Manila at 3:30pm (which was early in our book) yet we reached Intramuros past 4pm.
Not only was the traffic insane, the location of Segway Tours Manila was a tad confusing. Especially for non-golfers. If you are a regular at Club Intramuros Golf Course, then it should be easy to find.
Just don’t be surprised that even the guards were not informed about this activity within the walled city. Intramuros is really big that even they have trouble keeping track of what people do inside for fun. Or maybe it’s not a typical activity visitors try when they come to Intramuros. It’s likely the latter.
Intramuros Golf Course Tour
Em looked ready to mount the segway but I saw her smiling hesitatingly. I thought I overheard her ask: “Are these even safe? Can I still back out?”
And then she said,
“You know I need to stay safe for my trip to the US in June.”
I smiled and assured her she’d be fine. And I was right. Well, mostly.
You see, I sort of forced an answer from Em. She said ‘yes’ to this activity without actually seeing what Segway driving was like on YouTube. But she didn’t back out. After all, it’s been a decade since we did something this daring together. (We went to the same uni – PNU- and lost sleep over research papers. I told you, #daring.)
And the Glide Began
We donned the helmets, wore our shoulder and knee protectors, then followed our two tour guides who gleefully showed us how to operate the machines.
Since I know how to ride a bike, I got the hang of it quickly. Em, being lean and athletic (she used to play badminton for PNU), unsurprisingly learned the ride pretty quickly, too.
Growing confident, I took the lead and rode the Segway faster than normal..until I fell.
Please don’t be cocky like me. The moment I hopped on the machine, I thought I knew full well how to use it. How could I not understand simple commands like “stop” and “go”? So I rode it holding my head up high. (It helps to have a good posture.)
While riding a Segway is relatively safe, it’s possible to fall. I did. The first time was nothing serious but the second one left some scratches and bruises on my legs and hands. You should’ve seen how I fell from the Segway because you wouldn’t be worried – you’d laugh!
I checked if any of my joints and bones were broken. Then got up as soon as I could. I wasn’t really worried about myself, I was more concerned about worrying Em. I wouldn’t want her to stop just when it had started to be fun. So I put on a brave face and told her,
“I’m fine. Let’s go.”
(If this happens to you, let the guide inspect the Segway and replace it with a new one. It’s likely the reason for the minor accident.)
You thought I’d end the post this way? I haven’t told you the highlight just yet. The guides let us ride the Segway longer. And with so much liberty! We roamed the golf course for about 10 minutes without being interrupted.
Surrounded by the stunning golf course, Manila Bulletin office, and some of the oldest walls in the Philippines, we rode without restraint. The breeze kissed our faces as we glided around the well-maintained lawn luckily empty of golfers that afternoon.
So much has changed with Em in just a short span of time. The woman I saw from the Poetry and Prose Patisserie was different from the person I was with in Intramuros. She was more vibrant and at peace.
I was glad I tried this unique, albeit daring, tour with her – one of the best memories I knew I’d treasure and tell my grandkids someday.
It’s all so metaphorical. This destination and my friendship with Em. Because no matter how old both get, they just get more interesting and enjoyable.
P.S. If you wish to see Intramuros in a different light, check out Segway Tours Manila. We paid P1,499/each for the Hidden Treasures of Club Intramuros tour.
Segway Tours Manila
Contact Number: (02) 567 1080
Opening Hours: 5:00AM – 5:30PM (Monday – Saturday)