Intramuros Battles the Modern Culture

Nostalgic.

That’s how I can describe my walk in Intramuros last month (too lazy to blog, ey!)

“So this was where I was walking along everyday for four tough and fun (I should say) years in college”, I told myself. Together with my classmates, I would walk from our school to the Muralla gate as we would spend our long breaks in SM Manila, the nearest mall and which was newly opened back then.

while reminiscing my college days

Going back to my history class, Intramuros was built during the Spanish era in 16th century. They built it to shield the city from invasions. It was held by the Americans and Japanese at times and yet the walled city survived until the end of World War II.

along Muralla St.

Seeing the place you’ll already realize why the Spaniards called it Intramuros meaning “within the walls”. The place is surrounded by thick and high walls and surrounded by moats. They also call this place the “walled city”.

As I was standing at the highest, centuries-old fortification wall of Baluarte de San Andres , I saw a modern skyline of Metro Manila. Despite the laws that protect it, Intramuros continues to struggle to rediscover its cultural identity. Some streets were quiet. Few tourists were taking photos. The interiors are in poor condition. And there are streets that have already been invaded by informal settlers. Due to number of schools, churches, government offices, party receptions, etc. modern investors have already penetrated the walled city. Chowking and Strabucks are some of the establishments that have sprouted in the recent years.

ruins of the "walled city"

I am not an architect to comment about its restoration or a historian to give advice on what the government should do but I just thought that collaboration between the government and the establishments inside the walls would help in bringing back the vibrant Intramuros. We are now in the modern era and restoring something that has been built centuries ago would be a challenge.

But.

At least there are people who are giving enough effort to maintain its antebellum grandeur despite of the modernized culture.

a window at Baluarte de San Andres
the Manila skyline
the artful windows of an old building

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