31 August 2010

Casa MANILA Cathedral

So….. My stupidity had brought me back to Intramuros. It was easier this time since we already knew how to go there literally.

It is quite common that beggars would hop into the jeepney to hand out a piece of paper to the passengers before jumping off at the next stop. It is written in Tagalog but of course it can all be simplified into one word: MONEY
But with a face like this, no thanks lehh.
Erkkkk. I wish I could teach her how to put on one of those panda looks instead of smirking like that.
I used to believe Filipino PTIs in Sabah throw trashes because they don’t feel that sense of belonging and they don’t have the patriotism since they know it is not their country. Seeing so many trashes just outside of the Intramuros has made me believe that it in their culture then. If they can’t appreciate their UNESCO World Heritage and they sure can’t appreciate anything.
Then this horrendous habit of shitting just about everywhere. Don’t they do it in Sabah too? Our rivers are full of [their] shit. Seems like they celebrate shitting out in the open since childhood. Look at those grown-ups. They don't give a damn shit about shitting.
Unlike the day before, we were more prepared this time. We even had a map. A better one.
We actually found the Casa Manila aka the Spanish House almost by accident. Located just across the road from San Agustin Church, it was Lizzie who suggested that we check the ‘beautiful building’ out and we were so glad we did. It was one of the buildings that I had already set in mind to visit.
I first learnt about the Spanish House through the World Café Asia when the celebrity cook Bobby Chinn did one of his cooking shows right on this spot here.
Apparently, everyone wants to do their cooking show here now.
Casa Manila is such a spectacular building to be walking in around.
Manila is such a blazing hot city. I couldn’t help but feeling the heat of the sun burning on my head. Despite being further off from the Equator Line, Manila is surprisingly no colder than KK or even KL. In fact I didn’t remember KL could be that hot. Suddenly feeling the urge of saving my brains from melting inside my head, I jumped at the sight of this.
Before I knew, I already bought it at a discounted price of 75 pesos, thanks to the sweet lady who readily proclaimed how she likes Malaysian guys. Awwwww. I was speechless for like a moment. *shy shy cat
Lizzie called me the Malaysian Jason Marz ….
…wannabe. :-P

Oh well, if you don’t already know, taking photos inside the building of Casa Manila is strictly prohibited.
There’s a little tour inside the house at 75 pesos per entry and I gotta say it is probably one of the most closely guarded tours that I’ve been on so far. Even if you want to try your Hands of God, you wouldn’t have a chance.
Every corner of the house is guarded by a security guard dressed in a Napoleonic Spanish uniform from the 18th century. LOL
Casa Manila really is full of them to watch your every little move it is impossible to walk around without feeling awkward.
So, as I finished that little tour, I was beginning to feel suffocated with thirst. Luckily there is a café tucked somewhere inside the building.
It has just about everything for drinks. Prices were OK.
And the ‘view’ was OK too. :-P
I couldn’t help but feeling amused to see how the waiter, the only waiter at the café, had to duck down under the counter every time he wanted to get to the bar (look closely).
A big portion of Casa Manila is actually taken up by the White Knight Hotel Intramuros.
Unless if you're a guest, there is nothing really much to see in there unless you want to test your nostrils against the stench of a hundreds- years old pre-historic tube well.
Horrendous and smothering I tell you. Our Jabatan Kesihatan people would have made a few hundred bucks if this tube well was in Malaysia. It look so much a perfect breeding pot for aedes mosquitoes.
So, we DID return to San Agustin Church only to find out that a wedding ceremony is about to start AGAIN. AGAIN, we were denied of an access.
Arghhhh! DO they get married every day in Manila? WTH!
The best I could do was to buy something from its souvenir shop. I bought this beautiful maroon rosary with a lingering rosy aroma.
Oh and of course, I could never leave without taking a photo with the beautiful facade of the church in the background.
Further down the road is this beautiful monument to commemorate those who have fought against the Japanese in the World War II. Oh well, I wouldn't say 'fought' actually. In fact most of them were killed while running from the spraying of the Japanese anger in the form of bullets.
Manila has witnessed one of the worse war crimes committed by the Japanese during their 2-year occupation in the Philippines. Japanese troops looted and burned, and brutally executed, decapitated and abused women, men and children alike including priests, Red Cross personnel, prisoners of war and hospital patients in what was known as the Manila Massacre. The death toll was estimated at around 100,000.
Then I spotted another church looking so prominent seen from a distance.
Apparently it was the Manila Cathedral.
Just like most other churches in Manila, it has its own ‘things’.
Of course it has those typical church looks but if it is visualized more closely – you’d see its own unique beauty.
The interior looks so much like most English churches that I’ve been to.
The arching high ceiling and inter-pillars reminded of very much of the Salisbury Cathedral in England.
My favorite corner inside the Manila Cathedral is this little exhibition room dedicated to the late Mother Theresa.
It was here that I got to know much about her, right from her early life and later when she became a missionary at a convent before she decided to answer what was famously known as ‘The call within call” to LIVE among the poor people in Calcutta.
It was the beginning of a very inspiring story in which she dedicated her life tending the poor, sick, orphaned and dying. Her nobel indulgences had led the construction of many hospitals, orphanages and schools as part of the mission in the Missionary of Charity that she founded.
You see how committed she was in her missionary job whose tending the sick would involve a lot of treating so she willingly learned medical and these are some of the ORIGINAL pieces of her medical notebook.
All this while I really thought she was born in Calcutta when she was actually born in Albania. Where is Albania anywhere? Hehe. *pardon my bad geography
Further inside the exhibition room is this beautiful little chapel in which you're free to go in and praying with the nuns.
So, Manila Cathedral is worth visiting I was more than happy to mark my visit there.
Oh well, Manila Cathedral is not the best place to buy souvenirs simply because there is literally no souvenirs shop here. I wasn’t sure whether I bought a rosary from this guy out of sympathy or just for the sake of buying something at the Manila Cathedral.
But then it was much cheaper than it might probably be if I bought something like it in Malaysia. He was actually so happy he even gave me a small rosary for FREE. Awwwww. God bless you fella. 
So, it was time to say goodbye to the Manila Cathedral and moved on to the next destination.

Follow me to as we continued our tour further into another major attraction of Intramuros - The one and only Fort Santiago - and how we hit into the once racially segregated district of Binondo.  
All in the next post.


Ellen said...

Manila looks incredibly beautiful, actually I think most of our Asian neighbours do. The only thing that really discourages me from exploring those regions is the heat which is really unfortunate as it's not something that can change.

I saw on your tweets you'd be jetsetting again. Where to this time?

aud said...

Hahaha, your line on the smirking child! *ROTFL*

I like the whole area with its old Spanish architecture, and quite well preserved.

Ya bah, that hat kan makes anyone a "Jason Mraz" (my xoxo)

Kelvin said...

Hahahahaha, the shitting part make me laugh until cry XD

JIPP said...

Ellen: Yupp, can be very hot at times. Worsened by the smoke emission and all that. Nah, it'd my tour within Malaysia. :-)
Aud: Haha. I know how you lurve Mr. Marz very much. I'm a big fan too. The best I can copy is his hat. hehe.
Ken: Unbelievable, isn't it? :-D

Anonymous said...

I am both quite amused and saddened by your blog entry. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it gave me an impression that you made it sound like all Filipinos shit on the streets. You passed by an area in Intramuros where the squatters live & they have no access to proper toilet facilities. How unfortunate that you were able to witness that. Regarding the Manila heat, perhaps if you visited around late November to early March [during the cooler months] you wouldn't find the weather unbearable. Lastly, San Agustin Church is like the "premiere" church to get married [aside from Manila Cathedral] & there's usually a waiting list. Nevertheless, this was an insightful blog entry - viewing my city from a foreigner's perspective.
- Isabel Gonzales, 26yo Manilenya

Sarah said...

Casa Manila Intramuros, one of the best place in Intramuros. Nice post! Thanks for sharing.


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