Apr 17, 2017

Intramuros (part 1): Bambike Ecotours.


I've been wanting to do a tour around Intramuros since I've heard of Carlos Celdran's walking tour but T and I haven't been able to do so.  Luckily, T's sister Michelle asked us if we wanted to join her and her friends so T and I were finally able to do Bambike's Intramuros Ecotours!




Our starting point is at the store of Bambikes in Casa Manila.  The place reminds me and T of the place where General Antonio Luna was killed in the movie Heneral Luna.  It is actually a museum which you can enter for a minimal fee.






I am surprised to see that the Intramuros guards are donning uniforms worn during the Spanish era.  It really feels like we are transported back in time!




Casa Manila has a small plaza where we can practice riding the bikes we choose.  The last time I rode a bike was in Baguio around 7 years ago so I am a bit nervous that I won't be able to do the tour.  But it is true.. You never forget how to ride a bike!




Our first stop is San Agustin Church which is just opposite Casa Manila.  It is the oldest church still standing in the Philippines and was declared a national historical landmark by the government in 1976 and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.




After San Agustin Church, we stop at the Galeria de los Presidentes de la Republica Pilipina which showcases the different Philippine presidents.



Next stop is the place where the Japanese Canons from the Battle of Manila in 1945 are located.






We also stop at the Manila Cathedral where my good friends from law school Kat and Paul got married last year.




Our last stop is Fort Santiago which is a defense fortress and one of the most famous historical sites in Manila because our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, was imprisoned here.
















Everything is pretty much preserved and it's like we traveled back in time!  






During our trip there, there was an exhibit on Jose Rizal inside Fort Santiago.  If you have time, take a look and learn more about our national hero.  Check out the photo I took of T below.. Hashtag #squadgoals :D





Our guide also takes us to the Baluarte De Santa Barbara which is a bastion facing the Pasig River.









He also points to the dungeons where Filipinos are held prisoners by the Spanish.  Our guide tells us that sometimes when it's high tide, the water from the Pasig River overflows so everyone inside the Dungeons drown.  How horrible!






Our next stop after the dungeons is the Walk of Martyrdom.  The path retraces the steps taken by the Philippine national hero Jose Rizal from Fort Santiago to Luneta Park where he was shot by a firing squad.








Here are some questions you might ask (because these are the questions I also asked) about the Bambike Ecotours and I'll try my best to answer them:


1.  Is there parking?  Where can we park?

There's parking lot in front of the church.  It's pay parking but at least you won't have to walk far.

2. What should I wear?

For boys, just be comfortable.  No skinny jeans :D Work out clothes are best.

For us girls,  I know it's tempting to wear a dress and sandals for the photo ops. But I suggest wearing something sporty and comfortable because remember, you'll be biking and not just walking.  I wore a shirt and jogger pants from Cotton On as well as sneakers from Adidas.

It'll be sunny so wear something on your head.  You're actually required to wear a helmet during the bike ride but if you sign a waiver, you can wear a cap or a hat.  On that note, I finally got to wear my Golden State Warriors 2015 Championship cap which I brought home for me and T from the States.

3. What should I bring?

There's no need to bring a water bottle because water is included in the package. Just bring an extra pair of clothes you can change into after the tour and of course, your camera.

Don't bring a big bag because you'll just have a hard time carrying it over your back or shoulder while biking.  Maybe just a pouch or a really small bag for your essentials.  You won't need money during the tour anyway.

4. How much is the tour?  And what are time slots for the tour schedules?

At that time we went, the Full Tour is 2.5 hours long and costs PhP1,200 per person.  It comes with bike and helmet rental, entrance fees, and bottled water.  The tour schedules are from Tuesdays to Sundays, 10:00am - 12:30pm and 3:00pm - 5:30pm.

There is also an Express Tour where you can choose your own adventure and lasts only for an hour.  This costs PhP600 per person.

You can also just do a Bamboo Bike Rental for PhP200 per hour.  I did this a few months after we did the full tour.




I'm ending this blog post with a bit of trivia about Bambike.  The company provides scholarships, as well as feeding and livelihood programs to our less fortunate brothers and sisters.  In fact, the people who build the bikes are from Gawad Kalinga, a Philippine-based organization which aims to end poverty.  So supporting Bambike means supporting this advocacy as well.  I placed a link to their website below if you want to learn more about it.  Happy biking!




A Day in Intramuros



Bambike Ecotours
Tour Date: 27 October 2015

Plaza San Luis Complex
Real Street corner General Luna Street
Intramuros, Manila
Philippines

Tel No.: (02) 525-8289

Official Website
www.bambike.com

Facebook Page
hwww.facebook.com/BAMBIKE/

Twitter/IG: @bambike



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