Thursday, May 17, 2012

Inside the Walls of Intramuros

I walked on its cobbled streets for weeks and yet when I took my friends for a visit, I still shared the same fascination like it was still my first time. 

Intramuros is one of the oldest and historic places of Manila. The towering old structures are reminiscent of its past Spanish grandeur even its ruins still exude the greatness it once were. Traces of luxury are evident in the lavish design of structures that line the streets of Intramuros. Nothing shabby for the royal viceroys sent from Spain to call 'home'. 

In those leisurely jaunts I take after work, I marveled at the spectacle of it all. I do not wish to live in those difficult times but if given the chance to play with time, I'd love to spend one day as a quiet and invisible spectator of how living in excess amid a stifled freedom was like. But in the mean time, I imagine the wealthy and educated Filipinos called Ilustrados in gallant pageantry, in the streets wearing tight suits and bowler hats in the latest European fashion and their women parade in Filipinianas with a lacy parasol in one hand and a matching fan in the other. 

But along with the opulence each structure manifests, it also speaks of suffering Filipinos had to endure for decades. Decades of cries hushed in lashings and guillotines and of stifled freedom. The Ilustrados held their piece of comfort and security through the guise of pledging loyalty to a foreign country. They were like beautiful birds in a luxurious cage, pampered yet imprisoned. The unfortunate lower class however, knew nothing but endless suffering. I can barely imagine how it was like to hold on to a flickering light of hope; to live in a way feeling like there is no end to it all. 

I'm glad I was born a century later, walking the same cobbled streets in a bright yellow top and floral skirt only taking photos of what had been. 

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