Saturday, October 22, 2011

Japanese burn

Manila's historic, walled city centre doesn't seem to be a big hit with tourists, which I put down to most of it not actually existing, thanks to a solid month of devastation at the hands of the occupying Japanese in the Battle of Manila (part of World War II we don't hear so much about in the West, because it mainly affected brown people).

Those no-good Japanese, someone should destroy some of their major cities and see how they like... oh. Right.

There's been some rebuilding of walls and gates in the decades since, but most people would probably agree that the Philippines has more important things to spend its money on, like cosmetic surgery and embezzlement. For colonial sightseeing, Intramuros isn't as good as Georgetown in Penang or Singapore, but it's better than Malang in Java.

I still enjoyed spending an afternoon walking around these orderly streets, which offer a welcome escape from the bland, endless uniformity of Metro Manila in general. I always feel much more comfortable enclosed within crumbling walls than I do in bigger cities, and I grudingly accept that this will inevitably lead to me developing some sort of BDSM/asphyxiation-based sexual perversions in middle age, for which I apologise in advance.


The one day I could have done with some moody clouds for photos, and the weather had to improve. That's right: I'm actually complaining that it's not raining any more

San Agustin Church (1571), not looking too shabby

San Ignacio Church (1587). Shabby

Actually, I kind of like it better like this.
And it looks more haunted in black and white

Ayuntamiento (1738). Shabbiest

Baluarte de San Diego (1587). Mysterious

Nothing special about this building. Still, it looks nice

Nice gate

Manila Cathedral (1671)

Gotta love those kerrrrr-aaazy Catholics

Gotta love that crazy King Carlos IV

Those letters mean something different here, so don't be scared (unless you're a Spaniard)

A kid shooting at dilapidated colonial architecture.
Perhaps a symbolic portrait of contemporary Manila? I'm not smart enough to know

This one's new to me.
Weird pet behaviour isn't limited to Taiwan, clearly

Walking around Intramuros might even be relaxing if it wasn't for these clowns

Fort Santiago

It's worth the 50 peso ticket just to get away from the relentless taxi touts. Manila may have beaten the Japanese, but in the war against traffic the pedestrians have lost.

Lorra lorra lovely artillery. I love war, me.
Almost as much as I love religion. Almost as much as I love football

Of course, it wasn't only the Japanese and Spanish that the Filipinos had to kick out of their country. Let's not forget the time Manila was under the tyranny of the Cyzoids (2285-87), commemorated here where humanity made its final stand.

Alright then, you try explaining what this thing's doing here

Oh great, seal off the most interesting part

Another nice gate

After a while, I realised I was mainly just taking pictures of nice gates

My legs are of a different race to the rest of me

There was a sale on hats and Medieval jester codpieces, and this guy knows good value when he sees it


  1. The Americans bombed and destroyed Intramuros to kill the Japanese who hid there. The Americans hesitated in bombing Kyoto but didn't twice in the case of Intramuros.

    1. I really didn't know about that, I'd probably only lazily skimmed some Wikipedia article before doing my day trip, so I'm sorry for dissing the wrong tyrants.

      I'm visiting the Philippines again right now, I'll pay more attention this time!