5 things about walking to Fort Santiago

I learnt 5 things about walking to Fort Santiago. I had a morning of free time. I’d worked late the night before and knew I’d be catching up on other work in the afternoon. Even though it’s not the wet season or summer it’s still quite warm and it becomes a little too hot to walk around in the sun after about 9.30 am.

I walked from the Pan Pacific Manila to the Baywalk, Manila Bay.

Homelessness

Homelessness is a significant problem for Manila. People sleep on the concrete barrier of the Baywalk. I saw some families sleeping rough using cardboard and small umbrellas (parasols) to protect their bodies as much as possible from the hardness of the concrete and the sun respectively.

Pollution

Manila is a very densely populated city and quite a lot of the population own and use motor cars and motorcycles. There are also a lot of rubbish fires along the side of roads adding to the smokiness of the sky.

Gary Lum and burning rubbish Manila
Burning rubbish along paths and roads in Manila

Manila Bay pollution from Gary Lum on Vimeo.

The smell

Walking along the Baywalk you cannot help but notice the odour of raw sewage. I’m assuming it’s sewage, it’s the only thing I can think of that smells like that. I was aghast when I saw children bathing in the bay. I may be wrong but I assume the pollution extends into the water.

A rich and proud heritage

Before I flew here I really wasn’t aware of the rich and proud heritage on the Philippines. I’ve met lots of people from this country and I vaguely remember in school learning that the Philippines had been visited and explored by the Spanish. It wasn’t until I had recently watched a documentary on World War II that I had a better appreciation of the role of United States military forces here and the nature of the Japanese occupation. I also didn’t know until reading some of the plaques around Fort Santiago that the British also had a period of occupation in the Philippines.

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Along the roads there are statues of past presidents and important figures including people prominent in the arts.

Gary Lum Dophy King of Comedy
Dophy King of Comedy

Everyone is friendly

Despite the hustle and bustle, the amazing traffic, the constant sound of horns tooting and the taking of one’s life in your own hands when crossing roads, everyone is very friendly and helpful. Regular readers may know I’m not much of a navigator so even though I cannot speak the local language nor can I speak Chinese, most of the locals are only too happy to speak in English to help out a stranger. If you read the guidance from smart traveller (and you should whenever you travel overseas) you will learn that the Philippines has significant theft, pickpocketing and other problems. While I have been approached by children for money, I’ve not felt unsafe walking around the streets.

So they were the 5 things about walking to Fort Santiago. Here are some photographs.

I started with cake and ended with miso ramen!

Gary Lum Cake for breakfast at Pan Pacific Manila
Cake for breakfast at Pan Pacific Manila
Gary Lum Manila morning from Pan Pacific Manila
Manila morning from Pan Pacific Manila
Gary Lum Dophy King of Comedy
Dophy King of Comedy
Gary Lum Dancing Rings by Olympic Artist/Sculptor Jose 'Joe' F. Datuin.
Dancing Rings by Olympic Artist/Sculptor Jose ‘Joe’ F. Datuin.
Gary Lum Dancing Rings by Olympic Artist/Sculptor Jose 'Joe' F. Datuin.
Dancing Rings by Olympic Artist/Sculptor Jose ‘Joe’ F. Datuin.
Gary Lum Bull fighting
Bull fighting
Dr Gary Lum Mayor World Health Organization Regional Office for the Western Pacific
Mayor World Health Organization Regional Office for the Western Pacific
Gary Lum Jose Rizal National Monument
Jose Rizal National Monument
Gary Lum Jose Rizal National Monument
Jose Rizal National Monument
Gary Lum Boulevard of trees Manila
Boulevard of trees Manila
Gary Lum Fort Santiago
Fort Santiago built of Guadalupe 1590–1593
Gary Lum Fort Santiago Gen. Douglas MacArthur
Statues Gen. Douglas MacArthur
Gary Lum Fort Santiago horse and buggy
Horse and buggy
Gary Lum Fort Santiago flowers
Flowers
Gary Lum Fort Santiago fountain
Fountain
Gary Lum Fort Santiago cannon
Cannon
Gary Lum Fort Santiago
Old building
Gary Lum Fort Santiago
Priests
Gary Lum Fort Santiago
Ordnance
Gary Lum Fort Santiago
Ordnance
Gary Lum Fort Santiago
Frangipani. I so miss living somewhere with these beautiful trees.
Gary Lum Fort Santiago
Plaque

Gary Lum Fort Santiago

Gary Lum Fort Santiago

Gary Lum Fort Santiago
Pussy cat
Gary Lum Fort Santiago
Dr Jose Rizal’s walk to martydom
Gary Lum Fort Santiago
Dr Jose Rizal’s walk to martydom
Gary Lum Fort Santiago
Dr Jose Rizal’s walk to martydom

Gary Lum Fort Santiago

Gary Lum Fort Santiago
Memorial Victims at Fort Santiago. Six hundred Filipinos bodies found in the dungeon. Killed by Japanese Imperial Forces in February 1945.
Gary Lum Fort Santiago
Baluarte De Santa Barbara named after patron saint of artillerymen. Built in 1592.
Gary Lum Fort Santiago
Six hundred Filipinos bodies found in the dungeon. Killed by Japanese Imperial Forces in February 1945.

Gary Lum Fort Santiago

Gary Lum Fort Santiago

Gary Lum Fort Santiago

Gary Lum Fort Santiago

Gary Lum Fort Santiago

Gary Lum Fort Santiago

Gary Lum Fort Santiago

Gary Lum Fort Santiago ducks
Ducks
Gary Lum Fort Santiago
A couple studying
Gary Lum Fort Santiago pigeons
Pigeons
Gary Lum Fort Santiago
Priest teaching children
Gary Lum Miso Ramen Bugkyoung Restaurant
Miso Ramen Bugkyoung Restaurant. It tasted funky.

Have you visited Manila? What did you learn?

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9 Responses

  1. I have been to Manila but didn’t visit this Fort so thanks for the history lesson and great photos. Loved the statues of Gen D MacArthur and the little pussy cat and ducks…

  2. Looks like a beautiful place (even with the trash fires – something I can’t recall seeing anywhere, at least in large numbers). I have wanted to visit the Philippines for a long time.

    1. Come now, I’m here for the rest of the week, bring Choppy and the cat 😃 “Where’s Choppy” would be easy here.

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