A tour with honeymooners

A tour with honeymooners

25/09/2012 Off By Bryan Ocampo
Rizal contemplating on his last literary work, an untitled poem. This was part of a mural made by National Artist Carlos "Botong" Francisco. Photo by Chito Tayag.

Rizal contemplating on his last literary work, an untitled poem. This was part of a mural made by National Artist Carlos “Botong” Francisco. Photo by Chito Tayag.

I must confess that I was a little nervous with my tour last week. I haven’t guided in Intramuros in a long time and I thought that I’ve gotten rusty.

Thank god, I can still do it with flying colors :-)

I was back in the Walled City with a young couple who had their dream honeymoon in Cebu, Bohol and Boracay. The last part of their itinerary was a tour in Manila. We left the hotel in Makati at 10 past one.

Both were interested to know more about the country. I began the tour talking about Makati and its role as the central business district, the jeepneys and buses on the streets, and Metro Manila.

We made our first stop in Luneta, talked about Dr. José Rizal, the meaning behind the stars and the sun in our flag, and the British Occupation of Manila. The lady was particularly interested about the mestizo class and its role in the Revolution of 1896.

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SIDE NOTE: The term “Filipino” used to apply to Spaniards who were born in the country. The Philippine Creole in the 19th century held important positions in government, church and army.

When it was losing its colonies in the American continent, the Spanish empire became paranoid about the possibility of losing the Philippines to the hands of its local creole class. Therefore, officers, friars, and officials from the Peninsula started coming in outstripping the Philippine Creole of its rank and privileges.

It was the insulares up against the peninsulares. The biggest battleground was the fight in heading local parishes across the archipelago. At the forefront was Father José Burgos, a Creole who campaigned to Filipinize local parishes.

What could be seen as a feud between two classes of Spaniards took a different turn when it included the rights of the native clergy.

Sadly, Burgos was implicated in a mutiny in Cavite in 1872. He was executed along with two Filipino priests involved in the secularization of parishes. This had a profound effect on a young José Rizal.

El Filibusterismo, Rizal’s second novel, was dedicated to the memory of the three priests.

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One thing I can’t forget about this tour was when we went to the San Agustin Church. The church has a simple façade but when we went inside, the couple was pleasantly surprised.

In front of San Agustin. It used to have to two bell towers. The left one was destroyed after an earthquake.

Inside San Agustin. Two Italian painters did the amazing ceiling work in the 19th century. Photo by Chito Tayag.

Our last stop was Casa Manila (in my past tours, I was corrected by a Spanish guest who insisted that it’s “Casa de Manila.”). The tour ended well. We avoided rush hour traffic on our way back to Makati.

On our way back, the couple asked for recommended restaurants in Makati and books on Philippine history. I told them about my enjoyable experience at John & Yoko and the really good adobo served in a Filipino restaurant called Fely J’s, which my Ninang (that’s “godmother” to you) loved.

Later in the evening, I texted them the following books: “History of the Philippines: From Indios Bravos to Filipinos” by Luis H. Francia“The First Filipino” by Leon Ma. Guerrero and “Noli Me Tangere” by Dr. José Rizal published by Penguin Classics.

It was an excellent day. I was happy to guide this lovely couple and I wish them a life of happiness, good health and prosperity.


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