The other day we went to to Intramuros, or the old walled city, where the hub of the old Spanish rule was when they ruled the Philippines. We met up with Dustin Ancheta who provided us a wonderful tour of Casa Manila, lunch at a nun-run restaurant Della Mitre, a visit to a wonderful store called the Manila Collectible Company that houses pre-Spanish artifacts, and a behind-the-scenes-look at the San Agustin Church — the first stone church built in the country.
The Philippine history is sometimes characterized as “400 years of Roman Catholicism and 50 years of Hollywood,” describing the former colonizers Spain and the United States. I don’t really like that description because it oversimplifies the Philippine history and does not acknowledge the fact that there was some type of civilization that existed here before the Spanish came. However, that is a whole another discussion.
Here are some of the wonderful souvenirs of the day. Casa Manila is a good example of how wealthy Filipinos of mixed heritage (Filipino-Spanish or Filipino-Chinese) lived under Spanish rule. Though the outside is quite beautiful, it does not do justice to the details of the interior. It was unfortunate we could not take photos inside.
Ristorante Della Mitre is right across from Casa Manila. It is amazing that nuns run this place and often do the cooking. The flavors of the food are so authentic and remind me so much of how my grandmother used to cook.
The following are images from the Manila Collectible Company Store, which is about a block and a half away from Casa Manila. In an effort to help sustain indigenous Filipino groups with specialized skills, the store works with local artisans to produce some of the wonderful crafts they sell.
Lastly, pictures of our visit to the San Agustin Church.