Thursday, August 17, 2006


On the book meme I had answered a while back, there was this question — one book you wish had been written — to which I had given a frivolous response. But if allowed to go back to change it, I would say a book on our local history to be written by Carlos Celdran.

After many months of wanting to join one of his walking tours of Intramuros, I finally did this Thursday afternoon. I was expecting it to be a good one based on responses posted on his comment boxes by those who had already taken it. But much to my surprise, it was even better than I had expected.

Now, I had taken a few guided tours in my past travels, but the one I was in this Thursday was no mere guided touring — it was pure theater; a one man show. The guy is a bonafide performance artist. Plus, he has portable visuals and soundtrack music to go along with his monologue. There were lots of laughter, as well as moments of reflection. It was intense!

My only disappointment was — and this has more to do with me than Carlos — I was both taking pictures (like a typical tourist) and listening to what he was saying about our local history and culture. I should have been just taking notes. However, there’ll be plenty of time for that, because from now on, instead of taking my future balikbayan friends or relatives on local food trips, I will take them on one of these historical tours given by Carlos. It’s that good.

For expat parents who will be coming back home to visit with their foreign-born children (at least of high school age), these tours are highly recommended, indeed.

Incidentally, I do intend to take his other walking tours.

Labels: , ,

posted by Señor Enrique at 9:34 PM


Blogger Analyse said...

that's interesting. i should do it next time i'm there. nakakahiya, i stayed in intramuros during my college days but know nothing about the history behind its walls. thanks for the info.

August 17, 2006 11:00 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like Analyze said, these tours seem to be so interesting. I never actually heard anything like that before, a guided walking tour complete with sounds and visuals. It's ultimately unique and a fresh idea.

August 18, 2006 3:37 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I did, too, Annalyse -- four years, though only twice a week since I was a mere high school student of MIT. However, I was always intrigued by Intramuros, but had enough academic load to pursue it outside of school.

I highly recommend taking one of his tours. A definite must for all balikbayans!

August 18, 2006 6:11 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Truly a unique presentation, Major Tom! You come away from it as if you actually relived some aspects of our history bcause of the way Carlos dramatizes his narratives. He has even broken it down to Act I and Act II.

Even those living in the provinces ought to plan to check out his walking tours when visiting Manila.

August 18, 2006 6:22 AM  

Blogger Senorito<- Ako said...

My friends chinatown walk..

I think your blog has a 30 comment limit. You can test it.

August 18, 2006 7:22 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thanks, S.A.!

I was already in touch with Ivan and had signed up for one of his Chinatown Big Wok Food Trip Tour (or something like that) ... hehehe. Wish you were here (sounds like my blog name) so you could join us -- I'm sure you'll spice up the entire tour with your witty comments and make the entire afternoon even more fun :)

On another note: I might have to totally upgrade my blog, because I've been having a hard time, especially when posting pictures.

But for now, S.A., any idea how I could circumvent this 30 comment limit?

Hey, thanks again!

August 18, 2006 7:32 AM  

Blogger TOW Blog said...

thanks for sharing so many interesting things that we tend to take for granted!

i will be sure to check out the walks with my kids when we get back.

August 18, 2006 8:04 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

My pleasure, Minotte.

How I wish I had known about these walking tours the very first time I came back to Manila after a long absence; instead of having my sister as my guide, which was more like "let's go malling tour." And everytime I asked that we take even a short walk around Quipao and Sta. Cruz, she was always quick to complain of hot flashes ... hahaha.

But seriously, these tours ought to be part of any balikbayans' (and their kids') itenerary.

August 18, 2006 8:22 AM  

Blogger ipanema said...

Two years ago, we had reunion and we went to Intramuros. We parked in front of Manila Cathedral and walk. After exploring the church areas and old buildings within the vicinity, we wanted to go farther. Having nephews, nieces and brothers-in-law from the US, my sister based in Manila decided that we ride on a calesa. They enjoyed it. It was dark when we met at the church.

One fascinating thing is that these calesa 'drivers' will take you around knows more history of this place than we do. After we paid (250/calesa or per person am not sure), I asked one of them, how come he knows much. He said that they are under WOW Philippines, part of the job to know these things. It was fun.

August 18, 2006 8:45 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

And I'm certain a good time was had by all, especially by the kids who rode the calesa, Ipanema.

Senorito Ako's friend Ivan also does walking tours; he also has one of Intramuros, which I might sign up for.


August 18, 2006 9:07 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've already seen parts of Intramuros but I think a guided tour will be great.

I had a guided tour before in India. The guide talked about the history and you could just imagine the splendor of the palaces, forts and mosques during their days and they'll always give us time to take pictures after so we had good souvenirs too!

Of course you could always bring your own photographer if you want to (a comment I gave to my friends in one of our travels.. that is if i ever become really rich!!!) :-)

I'm glad you enjoyed your walk and am sure of more walks to come... and definitely more posts on it!

August 18, 2006 9:18 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

A tour of India, Beth? Wow! That is some country, indeed, just as rich with history and awesome architecture.

BTW, wish they have a whole day bus tour of the various historical spots in and around Metro Manila. Do you know of any?

August 18, 2006 9:35 AM  

Blogger ipanema said...

How true Eric. When we reached home, I ask them if they remember some information from the calesa driver's narration. Sheepishly, a chorus of shrugs. :) One very honest nephew told me they were more interested in the ride!

August 18, 2006 9:45 AM  

Blogger Sidney said...

I also recommend Carlo's city tours! He is the best city guide I ever met.
Quite a personality!

Eric, I will probably sign up for Ivan’s wok tour too. I might sign up for his August 26 tour.
If by chance you signed up for the same tour we will meet there before you got the opportunity to organize that famous "bloggers" badminton tournament. ;-)

August 18, 2006 10:00 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

It's for this reason, Ipanema, that I have recommended for parents to only bring along their kids -- of high school age at least -- to one of Carlos Celdran's tours.

Carlos is far too intelligent and witty for little kids to appreciate :)

August 18, 2006 11:04 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Awwwright, Sidney! The 26th it is. Actually, Ivan had already confirmed my reservation since yesterday pm.

Do sign up and we'll talk about badminton as we munch on all those goodies and take pictures in between.

Looking forward to this, Sidney. This is going to be fun!

Hey! Everyone is welcome to join us as well!


August 18, 2006 11:11 AM  

Blogger ladybug said...

Thanks eric! Now I know where to bring my balikbayan relatives and friends whenever they visit us here in Manila. I wish I could join you guys on the 26th but my hubby has a tournament on that date. I'm sure it's going to be an enjoyable tour.

August 18, 2006 11:21 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Let us know where and what time the tournament will take place, Ladybug. Who knows? Sidney and I might stop by and take some photos of the event -- only if okay, that is :)

That reminds me, I should buy a larger media flash (memory) card for my camera this pm. I want to be prepared!

August 18, 2006 11:27 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of course you're very much welcome to watch the tournament. It's the MAP (Malaysian Association of the Phil.) Badminton Open Tournament, to be held at POWERSMASH Badminton Court, along Pasong Tamo, Makati. You can call their number 893-8299, 892-8024 for directions. I think you'll really enjoy watching this tournament since even current members of the national team are expected to join. Who knows? Maybe this will inspire you to join future tournaments. And you'll definitely get some tips even while watching them play.

August 18, 2006 2:48 PM  

Blogger vina said...

ever since i discovered carlos' site, i told myself that i would join one, if not a number, of his tours. i don't know why i keep postponing it (unintentionally, that is). actually, i just forget about it.

i hope to make time for it and who knows, i might bump into you, señor!

August 18, 2006 4:35 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

interesting. i may include that in my itenirary when i get back home. :) thanks for sharing this señor!

btw, my email add is zchizzerz @ yahoo . com :P

August 18, 2006 4:41 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Okay Ladybug, I will call and ask for directions. We'll see how the Binondo tour goes; if not too tired from it, will stop by and watch some of the tournament. And take some pics, too. :)


August 18, 2006 6:04 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

The tour I took, Vina, was only for Intramuros and two museums. I plan to take it again but with Fort Santiago included (deluxe tour). If you decide to take the deluxe one, let me know and I'll join you.

Same I did -- kept postponing; glad I finally went. :)

August 18, 2006 6:07 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

And make sure you have your Nikon with you, Jepaperts. Intramuros is quite photogenic!

Tell your other Pinoy friends over there to check it out as well when they come home for a visit. Amazing history we have.

I'll email you later.


August 18, 2006 6:10 PM  

Blogger PhilippinesPhil said...

I love history and I can see you do too. I've seen all manner of guides at wonderful places all over the world, one of the best was a reenactor at Gettysburg. Another was a 73 year old woman at Christchurch. I try to read up on the places I'm going to visit, and usually I end up being the guy who asks all the questions concerning DETAILS. The best part of history is in the details, and I hear that's also where the devil is!

August 18, 2006 9:20 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Yes, Phil, I enjoy history. However, with our local history, seems as I get older the more I run into various versions, which can only get confusing.

Bet you have seen most of the world1

August 19, 2006 5:46 PM  

Blogger Corsarius said...

I'll heed your endorsement and try out Mr. Celdran's tours. Your description makes it seem more appealing than going to the moviehouse..and of course, way more educational. It's a shame my Fil-Am relatives just went back to the States..we had been wading in the (presently-stormy) waters of Boracay. Maybe next time, though. Thanks for the heads-up.

How's the HP lemon, btw? Hope the matter's been settled and A-OK now :)

August 19, 2006 6:34 PM  

Blogger vina said...

i'll keep that in mind! deluxe tour it is!

August 19, 2006 7:02 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hey Corsarius,

Funny you should ask, yesterday it got invaded by a virus :(

I'm meeting with some folks from HP next week and I'll blog about the final resolution.

Yes, definitely go check out one of his tours! I might do his Intramuros again but the deluxe one with Fort Santiago (it's only 50 pesos more).

BTW, don't get too close to the water when you walk on the beach. My cousin got swept away by a sudden gush of wave while strolling in similar weather right on Boracay beach.

August 19, 2006 7:10 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting... I think I'll do that when I go back to the Philippines. I've never been on a tour where the guide was more of a performer than a walking guidebook of the place. And of course you'd take pictures... that's natural lang naman. :)

August 19, 2006 8:16 PM  

Blogger houseband00 said...

Hi Eric,

First things first, thanks for the tip! =)

K and I enjoyed Intramuros a lot yesterday. The walled city was unabashedly showed itself off as we clicked away. We were awestruck!

Have I thanked you? Apparently, not enough!

Thank You, Señor Enrique!

August 20, 2006 8:42 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi Toe!

You must ... I guarantee you'll have a very interesting time! Actually, I've even told my cousins who live here but travel lots abroad that they owe it to themselves to get reaquainted with our local history.

August 20, 2006 3:30 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Oh, how wonderful, Hb00! And K was with you, too ... perfect!

It's my pleasure to be of some kind of help. As I get to know more about other charms of our beloved Manila I will share them with all of you!


August 20, 2006 3:33 PM  

Blogger Analyse said...

uy, hello there fellow Mapuan!

August 20, 2006 7:51 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Wow! That's so cool, Analyze. Mapua ka din pala! :)

August 20, 2006 7:57 PM  

Blogger ipanema said...

lol Toe, that was my first observation. I dare not say it here kasi baka magalit si Senor Enrique. Para siyang character from the middle earth! hahaha....shhh...bad.

Eric don't ban me, ayan me ebidensya, laki ng photo ah. I thought he looks ilustrado. Tama na. I'm banning myself from this blog.

August 21, 2006 5:39 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I say that we're all adults here, Ipanema, and smart enough to police our own selves in terms of exercising common decency amongst one another.

After all, my understanding of a blog site is an intelligent exchange of ideas and opinions on the subject matter or topic at hand (as per the posted entry); neither is a blogsite a venue for judgmental discourse on another blogger's or the featured person's physical attributes.

But then again, I may be wrong :)

August 22, 2006 4:38 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

August 28, 2006 2:10 PM  

Blogger Aldrich said...

I saw this tour guide during my first visit of intramuros 2 years ago. He's quite renowned apparently.

May 18, 2007 7:53 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Yes, Carlos is quite popular, as well as Ivan Mandy. I've taken these guys' walking tours and enjoyed them immensely.

May 18, 2007 9:20 PM  

Blogger Tesa Celdran said...

I'm biased, but Carlos and Ivan are VERY different guides, and cannot be compared (in my book).

I'll stop here, enough said.

October 04, 2008 7:15 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I agree with you, Tesa, though both guys share one thing in common: a passion for introducing Manila to those interested.

I've taken all these guys' delightful walking tours and have since considered both as truly appreciated Manila friends :)

October 05, 2008 9:01 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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