It’s been literally years since my last The Monching Walks post – and I was still in a relationship then! It’s a different chapter now. Among the things I chanced upon during the extended community quarantine period (which was extended until April 30) was this set from a trip to Intramuros five years ago. Originally planned for a 2016 release, it got pushed back up until I forgot about it entirely. Concurrently, a lot of things happened to me in that span of time; thus, you have this post years late.
Intramuros (“within the walls” in Latin), also termed as The Walled City, is a historic area in the modern-day City of Manila whose roots date back from the pre-colonial period. Once a seat of datus and rajahs, it became the seat of the Spanish colonial administration starting in 1571. The eponymous walls were only constructed in the 1500s after attacks from the Chinese pirate Limahong destroyed the city.
Slowly, the community protected by the walls progressed to become the colony’s administrative core. Government buildings and religious convents were side by side in Intramuros — a testament to the joint rule of both ecclesiastical and civil authorities in the islands. Intramuros became synonymous to the Distinguished and Ever Loyal City of Manila itself. Outside the walls were the parians, settlements where the working-class Chinese lived and plied their trades. Binondo, the world’s oldest Chinatown, has its roots in one of these ghettos. The cannons of Intramuros were always aimed at these settlements to discourage any possible uprisings.
The Walled City has survived 300 years of Spanish colonial rule and 40 years of American occupation, but its long heritage would be wiped out by fierce fighting and relentless shelling during World War II. The Battle of Manila — a concerted effort by the American forces to flush out remaining Japanese troops, and a last stand by imperial soldiers against the Allied forces — destroyed most of the structures in Intramuros. Some would eventually be rebuilt after the war, but the Walled City itself never reclaimed the luster it once had back in the day.
Well then, enough of the stories so you can enjoy the pictures. Until the next post!