I just had recently gotten the chance to relive my graduate school days while pursuing my MA in Foreign Service at the Lyceum of the Philippines University back in 2001. I used to take the jeepney and FX ride to and fro the university via Lawton, the famous landmark in Manila. It is where the Post Office of the Philippines is located. It is also where the spacious and manicured Liwasang Bonifacio is located. The first, I think of the beautification project of former Mayor Lito Atienza was the Liwasang Bonifacio which is very near Intramuros where LPU is located.
I had to endure the queues of passengers taking their turns on parked PUV to wherever they might be at some crucial moments in time after class. As for me, I go home directly. But every day, I took PUV from Roxas Boulevard near the famed Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) because I worked as legislative staff of Senator Edgardo J. Angara. Every after office hours, I proceeded to LPU for my class. At one time, I had to cross-enrol for my Spanish class in the undergrad program since my Japanese language is not enough. I had it for a semester at the Lyceum.
The esteemed Lyceum of the Philippines University was established by Jose P. Laurel to serve as his lasting legacy for the Filipino people. It remained to be the bastion of truth and fortitude and its alumni were renowned for their undying commitment to the country and their chosen professions.
One thing I liked about Manila is its historic landscape and to define it succinctly, it is an old city in a new world. Manila now tries very hard to be attuned with the pace of the world however, the way I see it, still with the imposing fortress of Intramuros overlooking the famous Manila sunset at the harbour, Manila remains to be an old city. I like to call it an “old” city foremost, because of Intramuros where it played host to many of Philippine history’s main events. The famous last walk of National Hero Jose Rizal to his execution place at Luneta can still be seen in Intramuros.
When I was in Intramuros recently, I have seen the bell which has been used in churches around the fort well preserved in one of the walls fronting the campus of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod Ng Maynila. It is an awesome recollection of the events that the bells were used. The bells dated back as far as 1600’s.
When you are in Manila, visit Intramuros and pay a visit to the Rizal Museum. While there, visit the churches too. Nearby is the Luneta Park where national celebrations are mostly held and where Rizal, our National Hero was executed. Also, nearby is the Paco cemetery where Rizal was first entered after he was executed. Once you have done this, then your crash-course on Philippine history is with an A+.
Enjoy Manila, enjoy Intramuros.