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Come Away with Me for a My Manila Weekend.

500px-Ph_map_manila.svg For most of us who now live in Metro Manila, the city of Manila is a city in continuous decay.  It is the city of our parents and grand parents but we now live in the other more “modern” cities of Quezon, Makati, San Juan, Mandaluyong and others.  A lot of my friends went to school in this city.  I myself is an alumnus of the city’s Science High School.   However, for a lot of us – we have a spiritual connection to this country’s capital.  This is the city which was the center of Religion, Politics, Finance and Culture.   Without Manila, we will just be what most people say we are – an archipelago of 7,101 islands – a Geography but not a Nation.

It is perceived by many as a dying city.  Fortunately this perception is being challenged by Filipinos who care about the city.  It seems to be getting the appropriate attention from people who are drawing Filipinos and Tourists alike into the City with Nilad ( star-shaped flower which used to grow at the Pasig River ).   These are the men like Carlos Celdran who, by starting the “Walk This Way” tours nine years ago, have slowly been reclaiming the attention to the city and its history.  I call it a tour – but that’s really just an adjective – because the truth is watching Carlos while you walk through the streets of Intramuros and the hallways of the Cultural Center of the Philippines – you recognize it as a performance art.   The tour of Intramuros actually reminds me of scenes of Aurelio Tolentino’s “Kahapon, Ngayon at Bukas”.  I think part of that association comes from the fact  that I watched a PETA staging of the play at the Dulaang Rajah Sulayman at Fort Santiago.


Air Conditioned Jeepney Ride between Manila Hotel and Intramuros

Carlos started all of this nine years ago.  His performance has evolved through the years and has been updated to reflect recent developments in the socio-political atmosphere of the Philippines and the world.  Not everyone appreciates his antics and some people walk out in the middle of his performance.   The usual suspects will be the conservative Catholics,  conservative Americans, members of the Hacienda owners of the Philippines.  This year, he brought a new twist into the experience.  This one really satisfies all of the senses – by bringing in another important site into the whole experience.  I’m talking about the Manila Hotel. 

Imagine this – an overnight stay in the old wing of Manila hotel.   A chance to view the Macarthur room ( which is really the suite which housed Macarthur while he was in Manila ).  Walking through the archives of the hotel and perusing important photos and documents about the hotel including restaurant menus and recipes.  Listening to gossip, ghost stories and other stories while having cocktails at the bar.  Personally though – the most important part of the experience – dining at the Champagne room and consuming favorite dishes of the personalities who have once made this important hotel a home.

Overnight Stay at the Manila Hotel

If These Walls Could Talk by Carlos Celdran

If These Walls Could Talk by Carlos Celdran

Bedroom at the Macarthur Suite of Manila Hotel

Dining Room at the Macarthur Suite of Manila Hotel

Living Area at the Macarthur Suite of Manila Hotel

The Champagne Room of Manila Hotel

Fine Dining at the Champagne Room of Manila Hotel

Living La Vida Imelda by Carlos Celdran

The Film Center of the Philippines as viewed from the Convention Center

I am definitely grateful for the experience.  It placed an emphasis on the multiple dimensions of Manila which cannot be encapsulated in what is written or said about it.  It also brings memories of my grandmothers’ stories of the glory days of the city – the glory days which as citizens of this country – we should strive to bring back.  This time however, we can only bring it back – by ensuring that we do it ourselves as a nation – ready to actualize who we are and what the city means to all of us.

Blogger’s Notes:

For details of the My Manila experience,  please visit

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  1. Wow that was awesome! your pictures are great! how i wish i can also have tour in intramuros. ^_^

  2. M. Cagayan de Oro Hotels. Thank you for viewing the blog and appreciating the pictures. It is an awesome tour. I strongly recommend.

    On a different topic - I've heard great things about Cagayan de Oro. It is definitely in the list of places I'd like to visit soon.

  3. Indeed, Intramuros has a big part in the history of the Philippines. It would be one's pride to be able to visit it even just for once. Anyway, I am just surfing the net and saw your blog. Thanks for sharing this. Lovely pictures by the way.