Carlos Celdran’s “Walk This Way” Theatrical Tour of Intramuros

Manila Cathedral Intramuros Manila Philippines

At the heart of the Philippines lies probably the country’s most historic city, Manila, where until now evidences of the rich past still exist or seemingly evident. Through its narrow streets, the city was bustling with business and trade during the infancy years of the country. From battles to wars, triumph and defeat, revolutions, politics, religion- the thick stone walls have witnessed it all. Today, an icon in the Manila tourism industry will take us back in time as we walk within the walls of Intramuros.

Intramuros, in latin, literally means ‘within the walls’ for the area, which was originally Manila, is enclosed by this thick barriers to protect the Spanish colonials from attacks. Within its protective curtain is a city which stood as the center of commerce, trade, religion and politics.

Fortunately during my intern years in Living Asia Channel, two of my O.J.T. buddies and I were part of the team assigned to cover Team Manila’s launching of its new apparel. Part of the program was a tour in Intramuros led by Carlos Celdran. Yes he’s the guy involved with the reproductive health bill, but more importantly, the famous Manila guide, took us on a theatrical tour accompanied by music, costumes, and a very detailed story telling inside Intramuros.

Manila Cathedral Intramuros PhilippinesCathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception informally known as Manila Cathedral

Plaza De Roma Manila Cathedral Intramuros PhilippinesPlaza de Roma’s Statue of King Carlos IV of Spain

Carlos Celdran Intramuros tour philippinesTheatrical tour guide, Mr. Carlos Celdran

Before the walk began, participants of the tour group consisting of event organizer’s, guest and members of the media, gathered in front of the Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica, also known as, Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Concepcion, blaaaah, let’s just call it Manila Cathedral. The Church was originally built in 1581 but had underwent eight  rebuilding and renovations after being devastated by several strong earthquakes  and bombed during the Battle of Manila in 1945.

In front of the Cathedral is the main square of Intramuros called Plaza de Roma where a statue of King Carlos IV of Spain was built for providing smallpox vaccines. If I am not mistaken, this was the original Kilometer Zero before it was moved in Rizal Park (needs confirmation on this).

Carlos Celdran tour intramuros philippines Under the heat of the scorching midday sun, Carlos Celdran leading the tour to the next destination.

old Ateneo Municipal Manila Intramuros
Ruins of  Ateneo Municipal de Manila

Long before Ateneans enjoy numerous restaurants, coffee shops, and other establishments along their current home in Katipunan Avenue, Ateneo Municipal de Manila or Ateneo,  once stood within the Walled City before transferring to Padre Faura in Ermita then to Katipunan Avenue. When we passed by the former Ateneo, all that’s left of it are ruins of high walls, open grounds and a colorful history. One well known student among the Filipinos was our beloved Dr. Jose Rizal who finished his secondary studies and graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Arts.

Skateboarding in IntramurosSports, arts & youth – these are the active and modern faces of Intramuros.

We went on with our afternoon leisure walk until we reached the San Agustin Church which is the longest standing cathedral surviving wars and bombings. Inside the Church, the Spanish influence of grandeur is evident from all corners. Damaged monasteries near San Agustin Church are now a museum which holds graves of Spanish governor-generals and other prominent icons during its time. Spanish colonial religious and cultural artifacts are also displayed in the museum.

San Agustin Church Intramuros Manila
San Agustin Church

San Agustin Church corridors Intramuros ManilaCorridor to the museum.

Listening to Carlos Celdran felt like walking back in time during the colonial days just by the way he described architectures and history to the smallest detail, adding lots of trivia in a comedic approach. Not to mention the props, costume, and music adding flavor to the tour. Everything worked effectively wherein an image in your mind would be as vivid as glass. The next time I take this tour, I’d be bringing a small tickler and a pen, write down all trivia that I can then share it with you. Scratch that. Maybe I can’t. I kind of have a thing for history and that would definitely get me  hooked. Carlos Celdran’s “Walk This Way” experience was a fun and colorful way of studying and understanding the rich history of the nation’s capital.

I would also like to extend my gratitude to Living Asia Channel where I spent my internship months. Aside from all the learning experiences I harnessed inside and outside the office, I was able to go places where I haven’t been which gave me opportunity to explore more of my photography. In Manila’s most popular tourist destination, Intramuros, photography without permit is prohibited. Lucky me to be a part of a media team who has shooting privileges, I had a window to shoot.  Why not allowed? Security, conservation, well , that I don’t know. We went there recently and security guards asked for permits. No permit, no picture… in the most popular tourist destination in Manila.


Now here are some fast facts that may help you (or me) in this trip:

1. This trip was held back in 2010.

2. Rates of Walk This Way tours are P1,000.00 for adults and P500.00 for students.

3. For more Carlos Celdran tours, check his website, Walk This Way.

4. I think students should be exposed in trips like these.

5. HELP HERE! I want to know why photography is prohibited in Intramuros? Why tourists and photographers, especially enthusiast, need to secure a permit before actually shooting? Please enlighten me, I really don’t have an idea.

6. Thank you for reading my blog. Enjoy and be safe on your trip.

7. Please LIKE BIYAHERONG BARAT on Facebook.

Intramuros Police Officer Philippines Manila
Intramuros police in a Spanish-colonial soldier  uniform.


4 thoughts on “Carlos Celdran’s “Walk This Way” Theatrical Tour of Intramuros

  1. Pingback: Manila: Intramuros Police Officer « Biyaherong Barat

  2. If I were to take a foreign frenid someplace in Metro Manila, I would definitely start from Quiapo pass through various landmarks and end the tour in MOA.My reason is simple. I will try to show my frenid the gradual history of our country. We will start with Quiapo to show where is the ordinary Filipino masa today. Then we go from pre-colonial times so I will show Ongpin or Chinatown. Afterwards, a tour to Intramuros to show the Spanish Colonial Era and then a tour to Taft Avenue and Rizal Park for the American Colonization. Next would be a tour to CCP for the post colonial era and the Marcos Regime. Lastly, I will show my frenid MOA so that my frenid can see where the Filipinos are today and at the same time my frenid can compare the other side of the modern Filipinos from the ones in Quiapo.My trip would start like this. First, I will bring my guest to Quiapo Church because I believe that the Quiapo Church and the nearby Plaza Miranda is significant to us Filipinos. I will give a brief history of our culture and the relationship of the Filipinos with religion. After that we will go outside the Church and I will point out the big oxymoron in Quiapo. Doesn’t anybody find it a big oxymoron that inside the Church, everybody professes to be a Catholic but literally a stone’s throw away from the wall of the Church, there are lots of fortune tellers? So if ever, I would give my frenid the choice if he or she would like to experience having a fortune telling session. This is just for the experience and just for my frenid to have a clearer picture of the irony of Filipino culture. After that, I will bring my frenid to Plaza Miranda and explain the significance of that small plaza: that a lot of revolutions and prayer rallies during the Marcos and pre-Marcos regime happened there. After that, I would try to feed my frenid Balot or Isaw which is readily available there. If she or he refuses since Balot and Isaw is taboo in some cultures and it’s a Filipino delicacy then I’ll just suggest the Penoy, Taho or fishball. After that I would suggest shopping for about 2 hours for my frenid to find bargain goods. After shopping, I would then hail a pedicab so my frenid could experience a different kind of transportation which is not easily seen abroad. I would then bring us to Chinatown where I would then explain the important relationship of our country with our Asian neighbors during the pre-colonial era. I would point out the culture, arts, trade and economic ties we had with them. During our trip to Chinatown, we will use the calesa since this form of transport is still used in Chinatown and Ongpin. Afterwards, still using the calesa, I would ask us to be dropped in Intramuros where I will explain the 333 year colonial era of the Spaniards in our country and how it affects the Filipinos even now. I will then explain the importance of the walled city and the reason for its location. And I will end my explanation with the Mock Battle in Intramuros and the start of American colonization in our country. By this time it will already be lunch time so for lunch, I will treat my frenid in Intramuros where an authentic Spanish dish will be our meal. After lunch, we would get a taxi going to Rizal Park. However, I will request that the driver to drive by the Manila Central Post Office then pass by the Manila City Hall and the National Museum and then he will drop us off to Rizal Park. My reason is simple. This is to continue explanation of the Philippine history and culture to my frenid. Since I stopped with the start of American Colonization in Intramuros, I will then explain to my frenid the significance of Rizal Park or Bagumbayan. Also, I would explain the significance of Manila Central Post Office, Manila City Hall, the National Museum and the various offices near Rizal Park. This is all part of the plan of the Americans to pattern Taft Avenue like that of Washington wherein government offices are centralized. However, with the war interrupting American Occupation all these plans did not come into fruition. After we have walked around Rizal Park, I would then bring my frenid to CCP. But this time, we will use the Jeepney. When we arrive at CCP, I would point out the ferry going to Corregidor and the significance of this tiny island as well as Bataan in World War 2. Then my frenid and I would roam around CCP and I would then explain post war Philippines until the Marcos era to my frenid. I will show the good parts as well as the not so good parts of the Marcos regime. By this time it will already be about 6 or 7 so for our last stop, we will now use a taxi and we will go to MOA. This is to show my frenid the modern Philippines and to also show my frenid the 3rd largest mall in the world. For dinner, we will go to Kamayan so he or she can experience authentic Filipino food with various choices. For the rest of the night, my frenid and I can go shopping. ;>

  3. hi mr. carlos celsran,
    we would like to inquire about walk this way tour.. we are going to intramuros today and didnt know where to start the tour.. with calesa ride , history of intramuros, etc.. pls dont hesitate to call me @ 0917-8157618.. thanks

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