Memoirs of Manila: A Photo Diary

Go back in time with the Chosen Juan in the city of Manila

By Dave Agbayani
April 29, 2016

A walk around the streets of the city of Manila turned out to be a walk down memory lane for me. From the walled city of Intramuros to the once-busy streets of Escolta, here are a few photos that should excite you about touring the country’s capital.


Casa Manila – This house turned museum inside Intramuros gives a sneak peek of what it was like to live during the Spanish period in the Philippines like dealing with foreign businessmen, playing music after dinner, and even sitting on the toilet beside someone else!

Memorare – This heartstring-tugging sculpture was dedicated to the innocent victims of the War of Liberation in 1945. It has time capsule behind it that will be opened in 2045, a century after the war.

San Agustin Church – Considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, this baroque church inside Intramuros houses the remains of the founder of the city of Manila, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, among many others who contributed to the construction of this church.


Manila Cathedral – This church behind Plaza Roma has undergone a lot of reconstructions after being destroyed by earthquakes. Its Romanesque revival architecture has been carefully preserved.


Plaza Roma – Being in the heart of Intramuros, this plaza was once a venue for public events during the Spanish period, which surprisingly also includes bullfights!

Fort Santiago Gate – This is the main gate of Fort Santiago, reconstructed and restored in 1953 with the emblems of the Spanish monarchy and an image of their patron saint, St. James or Santiago in Spanish.

El Hogar – Embodying heritage preserved in neoclassical and renaissance architecture, this building was built in 1914, which is also known for its astounding interior architecture. But it is facing demolition threats at the moment.


Burke Building – Housing the very first elevator in the country, this building can be found in Escolta, also known as “Manila’s Queen of Streets.” Escolta also used to be the financial district of the city.

National Museum of the Philippines – This building was originally the Old Legislative Building where public declarations were held on its front yard. Neoclassical architecture is evident on its façade.

Berlin Wall – A section of the Berlin Wall can be found inside the National Museum. It was given by Germany to the Philippines to commemorate the struggle for peace and freedom. The Philippines is the first Southeast Asian country to receive a piece of the wall.

Kikiam – This yummy street food can be found in Binondo’s New Toho Food Center, currently the oldest restaurant in Manila. It is also believed that Rizal got the chance to eat here!

Banana Split – This classic is just one of the many tasty treats you can have at Escolta Ice Cream and Snacks. The snack bar is also famous for the “Mount Everest,” a dessert made with a mountain of 9 scoops of ice cream, each with a different flavor.

Going back in time to know more about the city of Manila, immersing in its rich history, and exposing myself to its heritage was a new and incredible experience for me. And I believe it’s something every Filipino must try as well. After all, looking back always helps with moving forward.