As soon as I got up from bed, I looked out the window to see if it had rained.
The clouds were pretty grey, but the weather overall looked like it was going to be in our favor.
I got some work done while Glaizee was still catching some shut-eye. I thought of where we could eat breakfast and managed to locate a cafe in Intramuros, our second stop and the highlight of our Manila trip, called Marso Cafe & Restaurant.
We Grab-bed a taxi to the cafe and had breakfast. I ordered your Filipino traditional tocino breakfast while Glaizee got herself some bacon, eggs, toast, and rice.
Glaiz and I talked about how the cafe looked like a 1970s or 80s film where the place looked old, its walls dated and full of stories and secrets of customers who have come and go. For sure we’d get a whole lot more of this as soon as we stepped into the rough and aged streets of Intramuros.
The Birthplace of Manila
As soon as we were done, we headed towards the main road where we saw the majestic Manila Cathedral.
We stepped inside for a bit to see what its insides were like.
We then began our walk around Intramuros, exploring its corners and streets while searching for the San Agustin church.
Casa Manila offers a journey back to the Spanish colonial period to see how the fortunate families of Manila lived.
The exhibit features the different rooms of a wealthy family’s house, giving visitors a glimpse at how they lived and the cultural influences of the time. You only need to pay a P75 entrance fee (adults) to see what had been the way of life for these people back then.
One of the guards walked up to us while we were looking inside one of the guests’ bedrooms, sharing us a story of how a 13-year old girl had broken curfew and hid inside her closet in hopes of getting out of trouble. Instead, she fell asleep, got locked in by her clueless parents, and died.
Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take photos of the different rooms inside Casa Manila, so just take my word for it that the entire house was filled with historical furniture, art, and perhaps the stories and secrets of the men and women who once lived within its wooden walls.
Rizal and His Legacy
Once we finished the tour, we hired a pedicab driver to take us to Fort Santiago where the Rizal museum and the fort itself could be found.
I’ve been here several times in the past, but was just as excited to show Glaizee this beautiful place.
There are a lot more photos here now, so I’m just going to put a gallery instead.
The National Museum
The same pedicab driver met us at the exit, and being the clueless tourists that we were we decided to hire him to take us to our next stop, The National Museum of the Philippines.
He took us on a roller coaster ride in his tiny pedicab through the busy traffic and at the entrance of the museum. After paying him P250 for what we thought was the last day of our lives, I realized we spent twice as much for a pedicab ride than we did for a Grabcar or Grabtaxi.
Ah well. Lesson learned. We move on.
The National Museum features exhibits of all of our countries’ national artists, from the infamous Juan Luna to the revered Francisco Amorsolo.
Each room houses a hundred or more paintings, sketches, sculptures, and other forms of art by these Filipino artists. Some lived during Rizal’s time, others during the Japanese occupation, and you can see how their art reflect the realities and perceptions of their time.
My favorite pieces are Juan Luna’s “Spoliarium” and “A Portrait of a Lady.” The actual, real thing.
Just being able to see these masterpieces up close is enough to make me feel fulfilled and alive. More importantly, it makes me twice as proud of our heritage, knowing we have produced some of the best artists in the world.
Glaiz and I had an amazing and, to some extent overwhelming time, at the museum that we rode home exhausted but enlightened.
Next on the itinerary: Our final day at Manila