Katharina Goes Places: Intramuros, Manila

Since it’s been a while since the last time I actually had a break, my friends and I decided to walk around Intramuros, Manila (we actually went to the newly opened National Museum for Natural History, too but let me save that for another blog post!).

I wanted to take the time to tour around the historic walled city of Manila and have a glimpse on the different museums located in the area.

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The moment we reached Intramuros, we went straight to San Agustin Church, but apparently, since it was a Sunday, there was an ongoing wedding, and the San Agustin Museum was also closed, so we didn’t manage to enter.

You’re not allowed to take pictures inside of most of the museums around Intramuros, mainly to be able to preserve the art, I guess? It’s a good thing that almost every corner of Intramuros is very picturesque so we still managed to take quite a lot of photos.

Intramuros also offers this thing called Bambike Ecotours (the bamboo bikes can be seen in the photo above). It’s a 2.5 hour guide bike tour which goes along the 8-10 major historical and cultural sites inside the area. Wasn’t able to try these Bambike, though since I don’t know how to ride a bicycle!

On our way to Casa Manila, we passed by this very eye-catching and colourful mural which showcases the beauty of a kalesa, a horse-drawn calash used in the Philippines as a mode of transportation introduced during the Spanish era. Up until now, there are still some kalesa around the area, although I personally won’t recommend you to try these because it’s giving the horses much of a hard time specially because of the extremely hot weather in the Philippines.

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We then walked to Casa Manila after. Casa Manila is a museum which depicts the colonial lifestyle during Spanish colonization of the Philippines. Apparently, we weren’t allowed to take photos inside the museum so here are photos outside of the establishment.

Casa Manila is a replica of the original Spanish period house that stood along Calle de Jaboneros in San Nicolas, Binondo. The moment we entered the establishment filled with colonial period furnitures, decors, and ornaments, it was as if we were brought back to the 19th century life of an affluent family living in Manila.

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The exit of Casa Manila acts as the entrance to Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant. A famous restaurant in Intramuros which offers buffet dinner and cultural show. We didn’t try it though, since we don’t really have the money for it so I can’t say anything about the food and the service. However, I’m pretty sure it provides such marvellous ambiance!

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After touring Casa Manilamy friends and I went to the nearby souvenir shop just to take a look of what Intramuros offers to the tourists.

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After this, we just rested for a short while since it was really scorching hot during this day. We didn’t manage to check out other museums around Intramuros since we went straight to the newly opened National Museum for Natural History. However, here’s a quick list of other museums we’ve passed by that you can visit when you’re in the area!

  • Museo ni Jose Rizal- Fort Santiago – situated in the actual site where Dr. Jose Rizal was detained during his last days.
  • Bahay Tsinoy – a museum which documents the history, lives and contributions of the ethnic Chinese in the Philippine life and history.
  • Destileria Limtuaco – the oldest distillery in the Philippines.
  • Bagumbayan Light and Sound Museum – a museum which showcases the history of the Philippines and the Filipino’s journey to freedom.

And that’s it for my mini-adventure in Intramuros!

TRAVEL TIP:  If you’re planning to visit Intramuros, I’d suggest you do that on a weekday so that there will be less people and more open museums. It took me quite a while to take most of the photos since there are really a lot of tourists around. Entrance fee for each museum costs around Php 80-100 only.

To more adventures together,


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Catherine is a 20-something BS Nutrition student of the University of the Philippines, but her heart screams for the art. She is a freelance creative and model, an artist and a writer, and an advocate of human rights and the environment.

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