Classes were suspended on Wednesday in commemoration of the birth of Andres Bonifacio, leader of the (to some, unfinished) Philippine Revolution.

Where better to spend it than Intramuros (more popularly associated with the reformist Rizal), right? I’m such a historical dick.

The imposing clock tower of the Manila City Hall—and the ugly gray of SM Manila in the background.

Bunch of cannons.

Manong Guard getting his daily tabloid news fix. They still use the guard tower thingies as guardhouses.

Calesa convoy. If I remember correctly, a ride on one of these (including a guided tour) cost me and my family around P2,000 last year.

Just behind the outer walls, garbage.

Imagine the guardia civil and their lovers HHWW-ing along these walkways.

Fartsy strikes a pose. (That’s the Lyceum of the Philippines University tower in the background.)

Those are dormitories! Right within Intramuros! How charming. “Parang wala sa Pilipinas,” commented Katz.


If you look closely, you’ll see that street signs in Intramuros were placed on the walls of buildings and not on freestanding posts.

Chinese-language newspapers still enjoy wide circulation in the Philippines. Even the owners of the big hardware stores in my hometown read them at their desks, next to their abacuses. Copies of the previous day’s issue are used to wrap small purchases like nails and screws.

Not all of Intramuros is colonially quaint. Some alleys, such as this, are simply unremarkable.

And then there’s the vulgar (or the stark raving mad, we can’t be sure). “Putol ari ang sinomang umihi,” announces the poster. That’s Filipino for “Try to piss on this GI sheet wall and I’ll hack your penis off.” Right next to the sign is a poster announcing the activities for a Marian celebration of some sort.

Sige pa, aso! Umihi ka pa!” If you aren’t intimidated by threats of genital mutilation, then maybe name-calling will tame you.

I was surprised to find that there are neighborhoods like this one even within the walls of old Manila. I’ll bet you none of the tours pass through this part of town.

Katz was aghast at the sight, which surprised me because she grew up in the Metro. “If the squatters leave then Intramuros will look really pretty,” she quipped.

Yeah, but this way it stays faithful to the truth.

After quite some walking, we found ourselves on cobblestone streets instead of paved roads. How romantic.

Katz thought we should look for urban art.

Punks doing ollies and grinds in the soft light of dusk in what used to be the center of power of the colonized Islands. I hope the irony isn’t lost on them, because it’s really nice.

Ancient artifacts! One of the few remnants of the pre-bilog na hugis itlog (egg-shaped circle) era of Philippine history.

Me pointing out to Katz that over yonder is reclaimed land.

Katz got tired of walking. Actually she wasn’t particularly excited about the idea of taking a walk in Intramuros for Bonifacio Day. (“Pupunta pa ba tayo? Tinatamad ako, hehe,” said she when we met up at SM Manila). But I think she could tell that I really wanted to go, so she very politely agreed to stick to the original plan.

We’d been partly ambling around, partly trying to get to Fort Santiago with a little help from Google Maps. But when we got to the ballot boxes, we decided to go up the nearby wall and check out the view. A few minutes later I started back down the steps and asked her, “Aren’t we going to see Fort Santiago?”

Anong gagawin dun?” she asked, which was my cue to raise the white flag, so I said okay. We headed for the gate through which we had entered, on the side of the district facing the City Hall. The sun had begun to set by then.

Soon after we decided to head back it started to rain—a drizzle at first, then a quick but frantic downpour of enormous raindrops, until everything receded and a cool post-precipitation breeze swept in. Katz and I had to walk through puddles of water on cobblestone streets, amidst the voices of children and the chatter of people in a neighborhood just awoken from the hour of siesta, with light that was growing weaker and shadows that were growing longer.

It could have been any point in the history of the Walled City, and I would not have been any less happy.


Pedring damage

Kuya JC and I took a walk around the Academic Oval at around 1130pm Tuesday, just hours after the worst of Pedring. The campus is hella devastated, although thankfully not as much as Roxas Boulevard, the Mall of Asia and Sofitel.

Tons of fallen branches. I woke up Tuesday morning to see lashing winds outside my window; a text from the Chancellor had spread around saying that classes were suspended—until 1pm, which is really a WTF move, considering that, oh, I don’t know, there’s a nasty storm ripping apart roofs and uprooting trees outside.

Thankfully, an hour after that announcement was made, it was superseded by a whole-day suspension. The following day there wasn’t any rain anymore, and classes were once again suspended until 1pm to give everyone time to recover before we went back to studying and fighting for greater state subsidy.

Trees in front of UP-Ayala Technohub, now growing sideways thanks to Pedring.

Here’s what I have to say about Harry Potter 7.2 in iMax.

  • First iMax movie! Why didn’t anyone warn me about the size of that screen? 
  • When it was revealed that Voldemort does not use Head and Shoulders (SPOILER!!!), I started grabbing at his flakes on screen. Fun fun fun.

Try though I did, I couldn’t help but not pay so much attention to Harry Potter 7.2’s nuances. (In Film class we were taught to always look very closely at a film, examine every scene critically, look for things that may play a part in the diagesis.) It is, after all, a commercial film, for which reason I think it’s safe to assume that it did not bother with deep meanings and focused on narrative instead. Besides, it’s a movie based on a novel—David Yates could have only done so much.

I loved the Snape biography sequence! Last month I was a bit spoiled by the following post, which I saw posted quite a lot on Facebook:

The sad fact ladies, is that there is someone who loves you as much as Severus loved Lily. But just like Lily, you usually choose your James.

Oh, please. It sounds dramatic, I know, even tear-jerking. Whoever wrote this must have liked someone who didn’t like him back. But really, who is anyone to say he’s Snape and not James? What a selfish thing this is to say. #ThePoliticsOfHarryPotterRomance

Dinner was Burger King by the bay. Life’s fantastic.