before the Spaniards came to the country, communities
were already thriving along the banks of Pasig River.
And one of these was a palisaded fort then known as Maynilad,
ruled by Rajah Soliman. The citadel was then the hub of
trade center for Asian goods.
Recognizing the strategic location of the community, the
Spaniards decided to settle here and founded the City
of Manila in June 24, 1571. Manila then became the seat
of Spanish sovereignty in the Orient for over 300 years.
The bastion of Spain’s supremacy in the East. To
protect it from threats of invasion, the Spanish Government
ordered the construction of defenses consisting of high
stone walls, bulwarks and moats, stretching to 4.5 kilometers
in length and enclosing a pentagonal area of approximately
64 hectares. And this became known as Intramuros, meaning
within the walls.
Today, Intramuros has outlived its use for defense. Housing
strategic government offices such as the Department of
Education, Culture and sports, the Department of Labor,
Intramuros now also serves as one of the more important
tourist attractions in the country, a monumental, if ruined,
relic of the Spanish period in Philippine history. It
is a city within a city, separated from the rest of Manila
by its crumbling walls. This ancient capital had well-planned
streets, plazas, the Governor’s Palace and churches.
However, many buildings were reduced to shambles in World
For a city that has been challenged endless times by natural
calamities, the bombs and shocks of wars, an era of neglect
and misuse...Intramuros has remained steadfast, resolute,
enduring. If you look at the walls carefully, you’ll
notice a few bearing numbers. These indicate which stones
belong to the original structure.
Today, the walls stand proud as ever-revelling in its
glory days. And bright with hope about its future ones.
There are dungeons and dens. Museums and music. Parks
and plays. History and horticulture. Casas and cathedrals.
Picnics and plazas. Golf and gastronomic delights. Treasures
and tiendas. Art and antiques. Shopping and sightseeing.
Ramparts and rendezvous. Intramurous is always throbbing
with life which makes it an ideal place for people to
work in and play in...or live in.
The place is filled with history and historical landmarks,
tradition, culture, art spanning many influences and eras,
architectural detail, religion, lifestyles — old
and new, and leisure!
Among the places to visit in Intramuros are the Manila
Cathedral, St. Augustine Church and Fort Santiago.
• The Manila Cathedral is the fifth stone church
of Manila. It has been referred to as the ‘never
say die’ Cathedral. It has been destroyed by earthquakes
three times, typhoon, fire and war,
yet remains an architectural highlight of Manila and the
Catholicism that dominates the Philippines.
It was destroyed and rebuilt several times. From the air,
it appears as a giant cross.
• St. Augustine Church is the oldest stone church
in the Philippines. It was built in 1599. It
is an immense structure of thick walls of Corinthian and
Ionic designs. It was also destroyed
and rebuilt many times.
• Fort Santiago used to be the seat of the colonial
powers of both Spain and the U.S. It was
also a dreaded prison under the Spanish regime and the
scene of countless military police atrocities
during the Japanese occupation. Here, too, Dr. Jose Rizal
spent his last hours before his execution
in Bagumbayan. (now Rizal Park).
• Outside the city walls you can play 18 holes of
golf at the excellent Intramuros Golf Course.
At Intramuros, you can’t just drop by. Stay a while.
much for the bad image tag on the Philippines. Tourism
Secretary Richard Gordon has launched a program he believes
would surely entice foreign tourists to visit Pilipinas
and defy negative US government travel advisory.
To be held in the sprawling 2,500 hectare Clark Filed
in Pampanga from February 14-16 next year, the Philippines
International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta & Air Show 2003
is among the special events Gordon has lined up for the
Visit Philippines Year 2003 program.
“We are optimistic that the hot air balloon and
air show will be one of the biggest and exciting air show
event for the Centennial celebration of Clark Field and
the special events for the month of February during the
‘VPY 2003’,” a beaming Gordon said.
“The VPY 2003 will be the time when the whole world’s
attention will be focused on what our country has to offer
as a unique and multifaceted business and travel destination.”
Through the collaboration of the Omni Aviation Corporation,
Department of Tourism-Region 3 and the Clark Development
Corporation, more than 50 hot air balloons, 100 pilots
and flying enthusiasts from 50 countries are expected
to be part of this air fiesta. They will compete in top
events as the Key Grab Contest Balloons of the World,
Balloon Evening Glow, Dawn Patrol Balloon Night Light,
Hot Air Balloon Flag, Mass Ascensions, and Special Shapes.
World-class performers will include the Yakovlevs, the
premier four aircraft aerobatics team from the United
Kingdom, and the U.S. Army Golden Knights Demonstration
Parachute Team. Capt. Maynard Halili in his Pitts Special
bi-plane and Capt. Roy Bruce in his Extra 300L will undertake
aerobatics demonstrations. Tropical Asia Parachute Club
of Clark Field and the Blue Diamonds of the Philippine
Air Force will also do their own air shows.
Skydiving, hang-gliding, kite flying, ultra-light plane
flying, aero-modeling and other aerial shows are being
organized for the three-day event. Ground activities will
include a fireworks display, face painting, henna tattoos,
Euro bungee, wall climbing, live bands and others.
Get ready for take off!
thieves, beware! If Dick Gordon would have his way, you
won’t be able to see the light of day feasting on
your loots. Literally.
In his effort to restore tourists confidence on the country’s
ability to maintain peace and order, the tourism secretary
batted for the return of the Night Courts to address crimes
against tourists and provide immediate relief to foreigners
while still in the country.
Gordon noted that criminal elements are not deterred into
committing crimes because the victims are normally transients
who fail to press charges, generally due to lack of time.
Gordon has sent Justice Secretary Hernani Perez a letter
stating his reasons for the return of the Night Courts,
saying that he would speak to President Arroyo about his
recommendation, which needs the approval of the Supreme
He also called on the cooperation of the Philippine National
Police in maintaining peace and order around the tourist
belt area and increase police visibility patrols in preparation
for the VPY 2003.
Gordon also pledged 50 scooters to be used by policemen
in patrolling key tourist destinations around the Metropolis.
Secretary Gordon said, “Tourism plays a major role
in our economic development and it is the quickest way
to prosperity. The police have to do their share to enhance
tourist safety and security.”
To night criminals, watch out. Dark justice is going
to get you.
match of best hotel
one of the bests is no mean feat. Heading the bests is
even tougher. But the best only deserves the best. So
David Batchelor deserves The Peninsula Manila and vice
The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited recently appointed
Batchelor as general manager of The Pen. The post is fitting
for the man, who has the credentials.
Batchelor earned his Economics degree from the University
of Adelaide before taking up hotel management at the Asia
Pacific basin Swiss Hotel Association International College
of Hotel Management. He joined the flagship hotel in 1994
as financial controller. He also held various finance
positions with The Regent Sydney and the Ritz Carlton
Hotel Company in Australia and the Far Eastern Plaza Hotel
in Taipei. His last stint prior to The Pen was with The
Peninsula Hongkong, where he served as its resident manager
for seven years.
With his rich experience, Batchelor finds his match in
the Pen. The Peninsula Manila is the only hotel in the
Manila to be included in the prestigious Conde Nast Traveler’s
Gold List of the ‘World’s Best Places to Stay’
in 2001 and 2002. It has also been polled thrice by the
readers of Business Traveller-Asia Pacific as the Top
Hotel from 1998 to 2000. Recently, The Peninsula Manila
was also voted by the readers of the Global Finance, a
New York-based magazine that covers the global financial
markets, as one of the best hotels in Asia Pacific region,
the only hotel in the Philippines to make it to the list.
With Batchelor, The Pen is sure of soaring to greater
BOMB GIRLS. Fourteen boob-tube babes would like
to help fight lawlessness and evil in our crime-infested
communities. How are they going to do it if they have
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