Thursday, August 12, 2010


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.