Sunday, August 29, 2010


For the last week, I've been on the line with some international publications (a few in China, some from the US and Mideast) who were asking for my take on the bus hostage situation, its reasons and ramifications. This morning, I received a letter from one of the many journalists I was dealing with in Mainland China. It really put things in perspective for me. And as I hope, for the many Filipinos and Chinese nationals out there who have access to

Of course, unlike us, Mainland China doesn't have this tricky thing called democracy and freedom of press, so please forgive me for not including her/his name.

Dear Mr Carlos Celdran,

Thank you for your kindness help last week. I think it really helped our readers to understand more about the situation fillippinos are facing, rather than conspiracy and hysteria.

Unfortunately I'm a Chinese Citizen, which means even though our country are now claimed to be the second largest economy I still have to obtain a visa to your country, Even I tried really hard to secure a visa last week, I can't manage to get one on time.

Once again I have to base in China to report international affairs.

I read this blog about this incident on Philippine Online Chronicle today.

which made me to think the problems our two nation facing are amazingly similar. Inept and corruption also the biggest problems of our administration, and it's also the ordinary people are paying for the price.

I've been reading your blogs these days, and fall in love with the dynamic manila. Through this blog I can see your love of your nation. I've been to XXXX in XXX last year, and only spend X hours at the manila international airport.Maybe next time I will pay a visit to the capital.

If you have time, I would love to have a more in-depth talk to you on phone about Philippine the nation and this incident, hopefully I can bring more sympathy to my readers.

Your's Faithful

I invited him out for a San Miguel Beer should he come back to visit Manila. But at the end of it all, we must realize that many Chinese out there acknowledge that we have to much in common to throw our relationship away.

Just like us, even they know that this too, shall pass.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


In line with the new twitter trending topic #HelpDOT, I'm organizing a little bike ride for the #HelpDOT volunteers around downtown Manila this weekend. Starting at the Manila Film Center, we'll roll all around Malate, Ermita, Intramuros, and Binondo and back again. I want to outline a potential bike/pedestrian tourism corridor between these areas. I would love to see a clean, green, and beautified beltway that links the CCP complex all the way to Chinatown. It would be very beneficial to tourists if we can find a way to link together all our historical spots through proper landscaping, public art, pedestrian paths and bike lanes.

So come with me and let's check it out and brainstorm. It's going to be a great way to re-orient ourselves with Manila's historical spots and maybe have a light snack along the way.


Meeting date: September 5, 2010
Meeting time: 6:00am
Meeting place: Manila Film Center

Please text 9209092021 to register for the Sunday morning bike ride. Just send a text with your name.

Start at Manila Film Center 6:00am
CCP Complex
Roxas Boulevard
Plaza Lawton
Luneta Monument
Back to Film Center

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Stepping out stage left for a bit. Gotta get away. Gotta take a break. Really do. But before I do, let me present an amazing poem by R. Zamora Linmark. Thank you, man. It certainly lightened up my day. It's dedicated to Coco. And Coco. You know who you are.


for Carlos Celdran

Why are you scatterbrains all scattered? Be simple.

Get into rows of three’s or five’s. Four’s an

unwanted number and I’m two-thirds Chinese.

I’m sorry, I have to be strict. It’s my duty.

You know this is an impromptu, right?

You all came here unannounced, uninvited,

expecting to drop your load and wishful thinking

I’ll drop mine too. Expect again. Do you guys

even have an inkling as to what it means exactly

to be on and not out of commission for once?

Try stretching your imagination to the stacks

and cases of human rights violations I have

to read day in and day out? You, in the tank top,

quit playing with yourself. Everyone stay still,

or I’m out the door. Do you all hear me?

Because I don’t all hear you. No, that side

is not my vantage point. Don’t make me

turn my head just for you. I don’t even know

you or what field you came out of. I repeat

this is an impromptu. And impromptus, if

I’m not mistaken, give me the right not to turn

my head right-left-right-left-up-down-

down-up if I don’t want to. And I don’t want to.

My mind is already overloaded with down-

loaded images of precincts and policemen

in boxer shorts and t-shirts kicking prisoners’ beer

bellies like soccer balls and playing tug of war

with their genitals. You in the green shirt,

you’re ugly, get out of my line of sight. Who

was that that just left? You think I’m doing

this for my benefit? Such simple directions

for your simple minds and I have to repeat myself.

Look at me. All of you look at me. If I’m facing

you this way and not the other way, is that a good

angle to shoot me from? No. The laws of physics

say so. It is always better to shoot up-close

than from behind or way yonder, unless

you’re God. And it doesn’t take God to know that.

Okay, one more worst-case scenario: If you

and I get caught up in a moment like now

and another guy jumps in, is that considered

polite and good hygiene? N-double-O.

I know why you’re here. I thought long and hard

about you, shot you from every angle, every

side, dorsal, anterior, profile, top, bottom,

and the bottom line always remains the same:

calling me Coco doesn’t mean we’re seeing eye

to eye or almost close to coming together.

R. Zamora Linmark

Monday, August 23, 2010


Thank you Kate Bartlett of for the shout out in your article, "Manila Seeks To Tempt Tourists". It's a really great and balanced article on what Manila has to offer and is currently about. Click on this link for the article.

Thursday, August 12, 2010





But since I hate seeing anyone go home empty handed. All the following names are given 2 tickets to any Intramuros Regular Tour or Imelda Tour:

Bernadette Casinabe
Christensene Guevara
Andre Calixto
Kristine Binay
Kristel Salvador Tungol
Maria Haeja Franca
Abi Lasquety
Candy Lasquety
Jey-aiy Reyes
May Corpuz
Rocell Alejo
Ellaine Samson
Chris Ely
Maika Perez
Maria Criselda Yu
Alex Ruelo
Mary Jean Saberon
K-Ann Marpuri
Alexa Villano
Robert Velayo
Ron Nicolas
Adrienne Sarmiento
Kathleen Ann Kho
Dianne Gutierrez
Darlene Monoy Fenix
Caliyah Lillies
Katrina De Dios
RJ Oca
James Betia
Jessica Rayos
Jaziel Oliveros
Ciara Juan
Manuel S. Bernardo Jr.
Kevin Punzalan
Kumiko Mae
Katrine Sales

Please email to confirm your Intramuros Hotel Gift Certificate or consolation prize walking tour.

LOG onto the site of White Knight Hotel Intramuros and check out the digs. It's a great little budget hotel in the middle of the walled city.


And today is the day! The Hotel Intramuros Raffle is done. In a few moments, I pull ten names out of my hat and hopefully there will be bunch of people who'll be real happy before the sun sets. But before I do, let me post a few more entries. My deepest apologies for not printing out all the entries. I do hope you understand. There were just too many. Will post names of all contestants in following post.

First, a comic strip (above).

Bored and Jaded's entry. Click link to get to her blog.

I was born and raised in Manila. Manila definitely is home to me and I feel lucky that I've lived in the quiet parts of Malate and Santa Ana which totally have old houses and history I adore. As an artist, I find Manila truly rich in visual inspiration through its ups and lows. It's been awhile since I went to Intramuros, and I'm interested to know more if there are things I don't know about the place. I'd want to add this experience, if ever, to my good ol' Manila days when I get old. For my mom too who'll be celebrating her 61st birthday on the 20th. She's been through a lot and she deserves a treat. She'd totally adore the tour. And it'll be a good bonding time for me and my mom. Malling and watching movies is just way too obsolete for us. I want something different, something I'm sure both of us will definitely enjoy.

I actually want my friends A & B to get the overnight stay and tour because: 1) they're newlyweds (married last 2009) who need a break, a mini-vacation that doesn't take them too far from the city and doesn't tire Aina out (she works nights at a call center); 2) they both work too darn hard, at one point Aina's boss commented that she was overworked because she was (and still is) so driven; 3) ahem, as much as I believe in the RH Bill, it would be nice to have my godchild one of these days, maybe conceived during the time they have their second mini-honeymoon in Hotel Intramuros :D hehehehe Can we just surprise them if they win? So they won't think it's a scam when you text/email them,

Seven years and we’re not sure how many days. Unlike other couples, we never remember official dates and anniversaries. Until now, we’re not quite sure when we officially hooked up – it’s all a technicality that hangs on the time we agreed to be “us”. The midnight hour had passed, but we hadn’t slept yet so the days flowed into each other. It was a precursor to the rest of our days. Seven years. Has it been that long? Or has it been that quick? Look at us now, the numbers we have to show for:
Transferred residences: 4 times
Changed jobs (between the two of us): 7 times
Children: 1 precocious preschooler
Weddings attended: 2
Funerals attended: 3
Natural disasters lived through to tell the tale: 1 (Ondoy’s wrath)
Romantic getaways: 0
We’ve never traveled alone just the two of us. Family holidays and trips with friends are always in the plans, but we don’t know what it’s like to get away in a romantic, luxurious way. How did we let time fly without getting that done? My husband and I (yes, we are married. Somewhere along the way, we went to City Hall so we could sign a marriage contract before I suddenly went into premature labor 3 days after) spend a lot of time together. From the moment we fell googly-eyed in love with hips attached to each other, sticking through our days together have been our journey in figurative and literal ways. But days of late have seen our coupledom become a threesome. With a fast-growing child, family life has taken over. And date nights, romantic getaways, even delectable couple’s massages are all out the window. Laging may sabit, kumbaga. And while there are no regrets, this current adventure leaves us with a pang of longing to indulge. How lovely would it be to step into a different perspective of our lives, in this same metro, and to make new something as simple as waking up next to each other again and spending more hours together? Living together with the same person day in and day out can never be a drag when you keep things new and fresh. But we need help, sometimes. And happy surprises thrill us to no end. At the end of the day, our twosome-turned-threesome is on an adventure. It’s easy to look for problems and cracks, walls and obstacles that can paint a picture of what-ifs and deep regrets. But it’s much nicer to believe in why-nots and impossible-is-nothing and look for the miracles and magic and abundance that everyday life can bring. See what we have gained so far in undetermined quantities:
• chuckles and high pitched laughs with friends
• late-night cheerleading moments for the other when the chips are
• questioning how and why we were able to produce another human
being who has consumes our love and attention (which we happily
• dreams that the Universe is slowly handing out to us
And this little raffle for a hotel stay and a fun day touring Manila we ask from the Universe as well. It owes us a bit, you know. Timing’s perfect now, we think. We’re ready to collect our ticket to our next escapade. We’ll go so far to say that we’re deserving – but that declaration comes with the caveat of gratitude. Ultimately, we are so grateful to see that life can indeed be kind and benevolent.

I spent my childhood despising Manila. My lola is a dentist and I hated it when she asked me to accompany her to her clinic in Quiapo. I did not like the long ride in Espana with the jeepneys going at each other like they were having a race, the walking in the streets of Quiapo with all the vendors at my ear shouting the bargains they had in store for us, and I especially feared the robbers and pickpockets that were all around me, although I did not know who they were. This continued until college, where I spent four years around the University Belt, fearing for my safety every single day. I did not go back to Manila after that. Years afters, I got married and had a son. Wanting to spend more time with him, my husband and I decided to homeschool. Now homeschooling makes us do things I would rather not do and brings us to different places I would rather not go to. Until it brought me back to Manila. Riding the Pasig River Ferry one day, we went down the last stop and found ourselves walking towards Intramuros. After that, I simply fell in love! I found myself making excuses to go back again and again. Then I found your blog. So my husband and I went to the Manila Transitio and I was head over heels! There was simply so much to learn - and teach to my 6 year old son. So we went again, volunteered this time,... and again, with my son in tow. Truly, one tour is not enough. Even if we have walked your way, Carlos and walked the streets of Intramuros on our own, another tour will do us good. The overnight stay is just an added bonus! It will give us more time to roam the streets and fall in love with Manila over and over again. I am proud to say that my attitude towards Manila has changed, and I have rubbed it off on my son. Believe it or not, I experienced something new for the first time some months ago, when my son wanted to fly a kite at the Rizal Park and we did! Manila offers endless possibilities, and it is never too late to discover all the things that it has to offer. As for the three reasons, I believe I have given you more than that.

I'd write you poetry, but it will ruin the spontaneity. So here's the real deal:
1. I love Manila to bits and pieces, to an angry point of defensiveness. Earlier this year, I read this obscure writeup on Mayor Lim which mentioned how any ancient city, no matter how cultured, has its own share of cobwebs and and dust bunnies. It couldn't be helped. Manila was once akin to London centuries ago, on its golden era of flourish, and I'd board a time machine to see its beauty restored, once this country is done with the major problems such as brain drain and sky-rocketing crime rate.
2. I love you! (Not in that way if it makes you uncomfortable, but if it's okay with you I'd shamelessly tell you in person.) I love the way you are spreading love notes for our as-crowded-as-it-is-beautiful-of-a-capital that is Manila. This is personal, but a lot of my friends coming from more capacious areas in the metro COMPLAIN, COMPLAIN, and COMPLAIN SOME MORE on the so-called dirty people and procedures of our city. I was being gracious but at the back of my head I never fail to scream "Then go back to where you came from! Nobody's pushing you to get a job/earn your degree here!" The Manilenos do not need ungrateful people. They are the ones who need the good culture and service of Manila's essential professionals and highly skilled workers.

3. Along with thousands of others, yes, I stalk you online (which I think is welcome, so the more I do it). I am alone amongst my peers in this seemingly unrealistic quest to save the face of Manila. Today's young professionals seem to be occupied about a lot of other things. Not that I fail to engage in the same interests, but I've always had a penchant for my own heritage.

I have 3 simple reasons why I should also win this contest:
1) Because it's my 31st birthday on August 13th. Seriously, I think winning your contest will be a fantastic and memorable way to commemorate my "huling-hirit-sa-kalendaryo" age.
2) The weekend package and tour will be a great way to go bonding with one of my friends I haven't seen for more than a year. In case you're wondering where I've been hiding, I was in Palawan and Japan for the past 2 years (after I resigned from my work of 8 years) so I haven't really gone on a gimmick with friends who are based in Manila. (I still am in Palawan by the way but I'm returning to Manila soon to go job hunting. So, your contest has great timing.) Frankly though, if I win and my mom can be with me in Manila for a weekend, don't be surprised if I ditch my plan to make your tour a gimmick event with a friend.
3) I'll finally get to see you and your famous tour. Honestly, I've only heard of you since Ondoy via Twitter and with what I've read of your Twitter/FB/blog posts, I thought it'll be great to witness this man in action.

3 Good Reasons why I should win your Hotel Intramuros contest
1. I am eager and so is my 15 year old son (celebrating his birthday on Aug.16)to learn more about the mystic beauty of this hotel and the city. We're always fascinated with history and culture behind these walls.
2. We have not gone anywhere this year because I was tied with too many obligations at work and I believe I deserve a break and a recluse from my public school teaching job and my son to better appreciate his history class being a freshman in college.
3. As a teacher, I need a new topic to feature about loving the Philippines for the school paper feature page and I need to make my students aware of what they have not discovered about Manila and Intramuros. That, if given a chance, I'd blog about Intramuros and Hotel Intramuros (which I haven't done).

I have always admired your posts and sometimes I do share your posts to my students in FB.

(1) I truly miss Manila since I graduated from college (DLSU). Having worked in Makati and QC, and frequenting in commercial spots (because of my event heavy work and proximity to friends) can be fun but culturally tiring at some point. So to get a chance to spend a day/night in Intramuros, will be a form of retreat for me.
(2) Intramuros makes me feel I'm Filipino because of its rich history. I can walk around there alone with no pretensions - make up-less, under-dressed and kalesa-ready.
Plus its not so far from Quiapo and Ongpin.
(3) Intramuros highly reminds me of Noli Me Tangere, one of my favorite highschool subjects.
We had a creative exercise in one of my photography classes. Attached are some photos I am and my professor were proud of.
(4) FOURTH - This is unnecessary but I've never tried sampaguita ice cream. So I wish I could go there again and finally try it.
Thanks you! I hope to win and meet you soon.

I came across your blog while searching for some information about White Knight Hotel. Right there and then, I made up my mind to win this contest and hang out with you in Intramuros, with my husband of course. Why should we? I probably have more reasons than 3 but 3 shall be it:
1. This year, my husband and I are into our 12th year of imperfect but blissful marriage. Anyone who's married would agree it's already a feat in this day and age. Yes, it's hard work but the rewards are far greater than the toil. We could go on a date, pay for it ourselves, or go on this walk with you, with a third party, a very much welcome one at that, for free. Then have some time just between us in this hotel that invites with its character. It would be wonderful treat we deserve!
2. I love anything that goes back in time. I was not valedictorian in my high school class but I beat everyone else in World History. I checked the exam papers of my class and could recite the answer, no matter how tongue-twisting the names were, on cue. And this is not so say I was good at memorizing. Interest was the key; I loved visualizing what I was reading. I love "circa" pictures, those fading black and white ones, and even adore "Back to the Future" to this day. That's also the reason why I was into "Time Traveler's Wife". (Ok, they're not exactly such clever movies but some things we enjoy without much help from our IQ). I don't know why I was not into Philippine History, however. I definitely want to ignite my interest in the past, one that's our very own. Your tour might be the key; I've read and heard how differently you share your gift, in a wonderful way.
3. We're not poor but neither are we wealthy (I would like to believe just not YET. Haha!). There are just other things to prioritize our resources with; you could imagine having a family if you didn't have one yourself yet (sorry I don't know much about your personal life). So, even if we wanted to take your tour for a fee, we haven't to this day. So, here's our chance, just in exchange for creativity and sincerity. Am damn sure about my sincerity but not so about my creativity (I'm a Capricorn and Capricorns are not well known for that). So here's hoping my sincerity will finally see us down there in Intramuros, this time not for Ms. Cory Aquino's wake, but for other views of our history, from no other than Mr. Celdran himself. And just in case you're wondering how come we seem to be considering paying for a hotel to celebrate our marriage but not for this tour, forgive us for being traditional. But then again, thanks to this wonderful contest, we just might have the chance to do something not just between us as a couple but also something that connects us to our past, present and future - with Mr. Celdran at that. On the year of our 12th wedding anniversary. I forgot - please wish me God's luck for the raffle draw, that is, just in case I pass the creativity and sincerity test. Three reasons, three hurdles, one worthy try. We hope to see you in Intramuros!

Hi! My name's R. I want to hang with you in Intramuros and win this contest for a lot of reasons, but here are the top three:
1. My partner is really into photography and I am sure that she'd love it if I can surprise her by taking her to Intramuros wherein she can take pictures all day because of the magic that this place brings to photographers and wanna be photographer like me. She promised to teach me the basics of photography and this getaway to Old Manila is the perfect time for us to bond and play with our cameras.
2. We really enjoy each other's company. We can be together all day and not engage in conversations but still walk away feeling happy and looking forward again to our next date. I'd love to lounge in the comforts of The Hotel Intramuros with her. We have both been busy with work lately that's why we rarely get the chance to maximize our weekends.
3. I want to watch sunrise and sunset with her. Then after a long yet fulfilling day- hug her to sleep.

The trip would be an opportunity do three things; 1-Bond with my goddaughter Ioann, 2-Revisit and be inspired by the history of Intramuros and 3-Have a good time with my good friend JAC. photo caption-my goddaughter I wearing a Dalmatian coat. "Ninang sama mo ako sa Intramuros ha :D"

This is my short story on why my Girlfriend and I should be picked to be one of the lucky winners of your contest. The 3 reasons are at the end. Every August, My girlfriend and I celebrate our anniversary by doing something different to mark another year together. Whether It’s going to the beach, having dinner in a new restaurant, or just plain hanging out somewhere new, we try as much as possible to make our anniversary special. A couple of years ago we went to do a tour of Manila and Intramuros on our own thinking we live in Metro Manila, how difficult would it be to just go museum and site hopping….well we had mixed success in that regard. Our first stop, LUNETA. The Rizal monument was fine, but Chinese garden nearby wasn’t such a great experience. Believe me, the pictures you see in the internet don’t show any of the real stuff you see when you get there. It felt run down with all the thrash laying around people sleeping everywhere =( Next we visited the National Museum. Just our luck though, a lot of the exhibits were closed the day we got there so we paid full price for a few exhibits which doesn’t really give you a money well spent experience. A quick peek into the National Library was next and then we were off to Fort Santiago. The Fort was fun as it brought back a lot of school field trip memories and the weather even cooperated being cloudy enough to stop the heat from the sun. Then came the tour of San Agustin Church which was really cool but again, a third of the exhibits were closed. We crossed the road to Casa Manila. But guess what….. a lot of the exhibit areas were closed for maintenance as well…..shocker!!! The last stop of our long day was the Chinese Museum which we vaguely remembered was supposed to be nearby based on a snippet of a feature we caught on tv a few weeks prior. After getting lost for a few minutes, we finally found it. There were hardly any visitors so we were able to go around in a very leisurely pace…it also helps that it’s one of the few Air-conditioned areas in our journey. All in all the day was good, but having a guided tour would have really been a whole lot better. Learning the hidden secrets and trivia of the places we’ve visited would make the history of the place pop out even more.

3 reasons why we should be picked
1) It would help end all the anxiety of thinking what we should do this year….because guess who gets stuck with all the planning
2) Having a guided tour would be a whole lot better than reading a ton of books that I can’t seem to make sense of.
3) And Third, because were good people, we work real hard, and would really like a break from the daily rat race.
Ps…….4th reason.......... because my girlfriend will kill me if we don’t get picked.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I received more entries today for the Intramuros Overnight Package. Whee. I'm posting a few more of them now...

I Wanna Win this one because..
1. I want to join your tour( Living La Vida Imelda) and have a picture taken with you and your nice magician hat(is that what we call it or is it the Uncle Sam hat?) BUT! I just haven't find the time and the person to do it with.
2, I grew up in Pandacan Manila and wished old things never change. Like for example I am super pro in restoring old buildings and old houses. That old building in Near Adamson I wished they didnt demolished because i find the pillar nice =). But i think its a good news i heard they plan to restore The Metropolitan theater because it a site to see whenever i commute on a bus from Pandacan to Sta Cruz. This said in Kudos to your blog and to whats your vision for Manila =) .
3, I Wanna experience that Hotel inside Intramuros and have a decent sleep for one! (I just move back to Pandacan from Paranaque) And you know adjustment to the new place is chalenging. SLEEp decent sleep plssss =). It will be so great to wake up like as if your trap in time. I wanna be a Seniorita for a Day Lolz.
This just about my entry. Im no creative person but Id like to share you a pic taken by the Manila Bay. Sunset!! =)

Three Good Reasons Why

There are three good reasons why
A trip to Intramuros would be a new high…
For me, my husband, and little daughter
We’ll explore a facet of what old Manila has to offer.
Since she turned one and way, way even before,
We’ve exposed her to new worlds,
New places to explore
For her it’s a joy, a delight, a surprise,
For us it’s a treasure to see it all through her eyes.
The third and last reason is simple, it seems
But being a Filipino is stuff made of dreams.
At this early stage, we want to plant a seed
In our daughter’s little heart
To love, to grow, to need
---need to know more and more
About roots, about heritage
---need to awaken a hunger
For knowledge no matter what age
---need to embrace where she’s from
And spark a love for the old
---need to light her imagination
For stories untold.
We’ve been to zoos all over Manila,
We’ve peeked into museums too.
We’d love a chance
To see Intramuros with you…
To appreciate what’s there
And how it used to be
And enjoy the experience
with photographs
to freeze a new memory.
Intramuros, Intramuros
You won’t just be a view
In our book of memories,
You’ll stand out anew.
Our child will taste a piece of history
Just by catching a glimpse
Of the place in its glory.
A brand-new pebble
In our memory glass jar, it will be
That’s how much this little
Trip will mean to my family
And me.

I've always wanted to join one of your tours because I've never really been to Intramuros or the other interesting parts of Manila. My route has always just been Cainta - Makati since I started working. Hehe. I've been trying to talk my hubby into signing up for one of your walking tours, but being the cheapskate, errr... thrifty person that he is, he always refused by saying that we have to save up, yada, yada, yada. So... Here's to hoping that we win one of those 10 overnight weekend packages! Hehe. XD
My 3 good reasons:
- I've never set foot in Intramuros before.
- I want to show my husband that we can enjoy and relax while not spending a fortune.
- Most of my young student life was spent abroad and I've only read about all the historic stuff that Manila's known for. This time, I'd love to experience it and see things before my very eyes.

(1) I've known about your tour for years and it has been on my list of things-to-experience. I just haven't gotten around to doing it because of the busyness of my details that need to be taken care of in my daily life. I think this would be a very wecome break for me and my husband.
(2) It has also been a very long time since I visited Intramuros. The last time was probably in 2006 for a wedding. It's a pity, I know... I really want to go back and rediscover the place again.
(3) Thirdly, I bought a DSLR last year and I'm now working on my photography skills. Intramuros would make a beatiful subject. I also plan to take portraits of my husband and son while there, and maybe a few shots with me in it. It will be my son's first at Intramuros and I think he will enjoy being in a new, unfamiliar and interesting place. He needs to get out of the condo more. :)

1. I am stuck here in Cebu for so long and I am dying to experience the adventure that Manila has to offer.
2. I am willing to trade the pristine white sand beach getaway (a picture that I took is attached) in Bantayan Islands, Cebu to an overnight of relishing our history. Finally i'll get to experience what I saw in the pages of my "Kasaysayan ng Pilipinas" textbook back in high school.
3. I'm sure it would be pretty cool to hangout with you on a weekend and my partner thinks so too.

After being subjected to 4 days of Maynilad torture- 24 hours non stop drilling right outside my window (please see Maynilad torture pic) I feel that I deserve a nice relaxing weekend. It would also be a treat for me to sleep in a nice clutter free room (unlike mine - please see attached room pic) for a change :D Please please please pick me!

1. I am a product of MANILENYOS. Both my families (Mother & Fathers side) have deep roots in the fine city. My dad in the Port Area and My mother worked in the Ledesma Building (Across San Agustin Church)
2. I work in MANILA. Everyday I dive from San Juan to Manila and pass through the walled city to get to work.
3. I was married in MANILA. San Augustin Church to be exact.
The sad thing is: I know nothing about Manila and Intramuros. My father and mother has called this city home, I have been driving through Manila for 10 years (not to mention my college days in San Beda), my wedding in San Agustin Church. All these things and I don't know enough about Manila. I believe Mr. Celdran can enlighten me and show me where to begin. Through his tour and hanging out with Mr. Walk This Way himself I can finally put meaning and history behind the places & things I see on my daily drive to work.

1.Though we’ve been in Intramuros a couple of times, we’ve never fully appreciated it because our trips there had been for school requirements or an occasional wedding. A tour from you would make us discover Intramuros in a fun and enlightening way plus an overnight stay in The Intramuros Hotel would be a super plus+++
2.It’s free. We like freebies that cost nothing but are still able to enjoy nice things, like a tour and a hotel stay.
3.I read your blog and check everyday for new posts. I learn new things, places, food, etc. from your travels and tours. J

Sunday, August 08, 2010


Wild. I've recieved over 30 entries for the Hotel Intramuros Weekend Package contest and I love all of them. Some sent poems, some sent photos, some sent shameless pleas, but all of them were wonderfully sincere. I will post a few of the entries now. More to come. Contest ends on August 12. Log onto the contest rules here:

Walk This Way, with R and J

The walls inside my heart
Shatters through its part.
Wished to travel by foot
Together, we must stood.
Our bravery and might
Showed before day and night.
By our great forefathers
Fought for we and others.
Books and panorama,
Prose and every drama,
Not enough to display
Its history and faith.
Several past had shown,
Became our witness and shield.
Ruins and walls was filled
With majesty and reign.
Our foot never witnessed,
Kings and heroes sadness.
But with you while walking,
Explores our city's thing.
Past and the present holds
Our interest unfolds.
Curiosity with fun
Must not evade but done.
Me and my future wife,
Never traveled at night.
Without a care of home,
Beats us and made alone.
A vacation for us,
Will ease our burden.
Things may be forgotten
For days and a plus.
Sincerest attitude
With humblest gratitude.
Back to admiration
For best information.

i am msbj. i live in malabon city. me and my friends loves to bike around our city and admire old houses. we love going to intramuros and one of our favorite destination is fort santiago. one time, we decided to visit san agustin museum since the last time we visited it was during our high school/college days. during our visit there, we chanced upon carlos celdran who is also having his tour that time. we heard a few segments of his tour and we cant believe the amount of information we learned in that short passing. what we learned from mr celdran, we talked abt it to friends. and instantly be become historical ambassadors. we are no experts, but in a way we are influencing our friends to take another look at our culture/historical places and have a positive attitude abt it. like what mr celdran always says, we believe we are changing ourselves and other people, in our own small ways, one step at a time. how we wonder from that time on how wonderful the rest of his tour must be. it will be a great pleasure for us if we win this contest. to see the entire tour, for us, is a "wish ko lang come true". the overnight stay will just be a bonus.

I'm KP, a longtime fan of your work, and a supporter of the RH bill. I was intrigued by your contest, and decided to give it a try. Why should myself and a companion win a stay at this Hotel? Let me give you three reasons why:
1) I love the Philippines, and I love Manila. As a born and bred Manileno who's had to work abroad for a while, I have begun to appreciate just how special our country, and our city is. Manila, as Pimlott & Anderson wrote in their book on the Battle of Manila, was not only the capital of our country, but unique in all the world as the only place where four different cultures met. We were not only Asian Malays, but also East Asian, Hispanic, and North American. Where else could you find all four cultures combining in one place? As a result, Manila before the war was one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Asia. The war changed that, but the city is a diamond in the rough: peel away the layers of grime surrounding it, and you find the gems of a unique culture that has survived war and poverty.
2) As a scholar of history and international relations based in Singapore, I've studied Manila with both an outsiders and insiders perspective. The former, developed by my study of Asian and international history, allowed me to compare Manila to her contemporaries in the Far East and to see what we have often taken for granted: our dynamic and fluid culture. The latter has allowed me to take pride in and feel passion for what we have in order to preserve it. I have often written of the need to better preserve our heritage and adapt it creatively so that the current generation can not only take pride in our architecture, but to use it actively so that all segments of our society can enjoy it. I've also held discussions with my colleagues and friends from abroad and home to expose the 'real' Manila and the 'real' Philippines, which has been buried under negative press from both local and international media. Our country may not be perfect, but she is the unique, and we should love her for all the flaws she has, and work to improve her.
3) As a final note on what I see in our country, I hope you can appreciate the video I created on what Manila was, and what she can be once more (above).

I want to win because:
1) My partner Mark and I have been together for almost 5 years and we love going around different places in Manila but we haven't gone inside Intramuros yet. I know right, what gives?
2) Mark is also celebrating his 26th birthday on August 3 so winning this will give us something extra to celebrate with!
3) I wanna walk your way around Intramuros and experience it differently (than what I remember back in college!)!
P.S. I've attached one of our photos for your reference! :)

(a) I should win the overnight weekend package accommodation at Hotel Intramuros because my girlfriend of almost two years is finally coming home to the Philippines, for a few days, just for the month of August because her school starts Sept 1, but at least from Aug3 to Aug29 she's here in the Philippines, I get to be closer to love. We met in UP during college, I was in third yr, she was in 2nd yr but it was her last yr in UP, she had to fly off to CA, we never got to be together-together while we still had the chance. We became a couple yr2008, thanks to plurk and a lot of sharing of songs and stories and movies via email and since then, all I ever wanted really was to be in the same timezone as her again, even just for a few hours, if pwede shempre days. We have struggles but so far successfully proven that long distance relationship can work as long as both parties are actually willing to go the extra mile. I think your blog can really give us the chance to prove that distance is only an obstacle if you don't take the steps to make it but a number. Let us walk your way. Hoping to win. Winning your contest would really help me convince her too, that the universe is conspiring for us to be together. Help me remind her that no level of slang can change the fact that Philippines is her home, always have, always will be--reminding her that while being at the heart of Manila I find to be the most effective idea. I want to make her visit memorable too. How many times can she visit and win something at the same time too diba?
(b) I should win because I love-hate Manila. A weekend stay and one of your tours could be the tipping point, where I can finally admit to myself that I do love Manila. I think I love Manila naman eh, I just find the traumatic stories and my almost/mejo traumatic experiences far too hard to get over. Pero I think Manila is magical. Parang kahit ilang beses kong sundan yung Jose Rizal's footsteps in Intramuros, it always feels like the first time. Intramuros especially, has a way of stopping or slowing down time. It's a magical place even during the day. I would love to bask myself in Manila's beauty for a weekend, with the one I love especially.
(c) I should win the overnight weekend package accommodation at Hotel Intramuros because I want to blog about the experience on my culture and wellness blog :)

1. I want to win this for my mom & dad, Ruby and Ayo. They will celebrating their 30th anniversary next year, and it's been a while since they had a real vacation. I'd give this an an early present of sorts.
2. They were both born & bred in Manila, but are based in Zambales now, visiting only when they need to do business. This will be a great opportunity for them to get in touch with their past. As a child, my mom would take trips to Manila with her family. She entered FEU girls high then continued on to college, where she met my dad. In a way, Manila for the both of them is a special place, and I'd like for them to have the opportunity to reconnect with it.
3. My parents both have a great appreciation for beautiful architecture & interior design. My mom wanted to be an interior designer while my dad does some construction work. While both have yet to realize their dream house, it doesn't stop them from admiring beautiful structures for inspiration. I know they'll both love The Hotel Intramuros, not just for its history, but also for it's beauty.

No poems. No flowery prose. I'll take the 'keep it simple' option. My wife's a journalist and travel writer and eventhough we've made it our mission to explore the nooks and crannies of the Philippines, and no matter how far off the beaten path we wander...we always end up returning to the Intramuros area to kind of regain our compass. It really is the soul of the city and while we've wandered around it many times before...we haven't really spend a night in the area and I can imagine what a fresh perspective the experience might bring.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


I'm listening to Vigo, an all new band with Buccino de Ocampo, Kakoy Legaspi, Francis Magat, Caliph8, Paolo Manuel, Tao Aves, and Khavn De La Cruz. According to their profile, "Vigo is a six member chamber-jazz avant-rock collective from Manila who take their name from Jean Vigo, the French filmmaker who died from tuberculosis in 1934 at age 29 leaving behind a slim filmography that despite comprising a mere two films—L’Atalante and Zero For Conduct—blazed a trail through cinematic history. The associations between the band and the man have to do with how both are proprietors of certain modes of ardor and certain modes of insanity. Love and lunacy. And a little of that fierce romanticism that a life that ends before its time and as its cresting."

It was fun having Vigo over at the apartment to shoot their album cover. Myself and the boys Monty and Bogart make a cameo.

Download their music here.

Monday, August 02, 2010



In line with objective of having more people work for the RH Bill's enactment into law, Ms. Elizabeth Angsioco of The Democratic Socialist Women of the Philippines will doing an orientation on the RH Bill and the need for its immediate passage.

When: 13 August 2010,
Time: 1-5pm
Where: Adarna Food and Culture, Kalayaan Avenue, QC.

For pro-RH people who would want to understand the Bill's contents. Leaders of RH groups will be resource persons and hopefully, Rep. Edcel Lagman will be there to discuss the Bill. The orientation is free but we need people who will commit to join the advocacy.

Pls. help us disseminate information on this event. If you are interested to join the activity, just send a message to:

(My note: Go! The food of Adarna is awesome!)

Sunday, August 01, 2010


Women's Health Magazine Philippines is running an article on the Reproductive Health Bill in its September issue. And in light of that, they would like to hear what YOU all out there think of the bill.

So, using the format that you see above, as a "peg", could you people out there be ever so kind as to email them a couple of sentences? Just answer the question, "WHY DO YOU THINK THE PHILIPPINES NEEDS A REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH BILL?" Both men and women may feel free to answer this question.

Here is a sample reply and a sample headshot by yours truly:

"Access to RH services is a United Nations basic human right (Article 25.2).
No need to say more."

Carlos, 37, Artist/Performer

You can send your photo to
Photo must be a headshot, between 1 mb to 3 mb in size.

The answer must not have more than 16 words.
Please provide your first name, age, occupation.

Thanks, guys, and cheers!