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Intramuros' Kalesa Tour Experience

kalesa & kutsera!! (photo courtesy of Gigster)

According to my father, my grandpa (my mother's father) was once a kutsero (a man driving a kalesa) during his younger years. But since I only met my grandpa once and he's old then, I haven't had a chance to ride with him. Actually, I haven't had a chance to ride a kalesa since before last weekend. Kalesa, a horse-drawn carriage, is the Philippines' mode of transportation in the olden times.

Last weekend, me and my friends went to Luneta for a photo walk (hehe, feeling photographer lang).  From Luneta, we're supposed to walk our way to Intramuros, unfortunately the weather and the rain and the sky conspired against us, the sky became gray and eventually it rained. :(  However, we were enticed by a kutsero to have a tour of Intramuros via his kalesa.  We asked him how much is the fee and he said it's "PhP300.00, 30 minutes".  We're four in the group so we asked him if the kalesa can accommodate us all and he said yes (poor horse! good thing he looks healthy and well-fed).  I also asked the driver if we can finish the tour in 30 minutes and he also said yes and so off we go, we tried the kalesa tour in Intramuros.

Intramuros, also known as the Walled City, is the oldest district and historic core of Manila, the center of political, military and religious power of the Spaniards during the time when the Philippines was a colony of Spain, and the Japanese garrison and prison during World War II (source: Philippines Travel Guide).

It only drizzles when we started our kalesa tour.  From Luneta, we went to Intramuros via  Bonifacio Drive, passing by the Cory Aquino Memorial Shrine where the statues of both Ninoy and Cory Aquino can be found.  The Shrine is near corner Bonifacio Drive and Padre Burgos Street, just across Manila Hotel.

Cory Aquino Memorial Shrine

We continued our way along Bonifacio Drive, passed by the Anda Circle and turned right to Andres Soriano Jr. Avenue, going to the side street in front of Fort Santiago and then back to the main street heading to the Manila Cathedral.  Manila Cathedral, built from 1953 to 1958, is the eight structure built on the said site.  The first seven churches were destroyed by storms and earthquakes as well as the Battle of Manila in 1945 (source: Cathedral marker).

Manila Cathedral

Beside the Manila Cathedral is Palacio del Gobernador, the state residence of the governor-general of the Philippines.  Destroyed by earthquakes several times, the present building was constructed in 1976 to house government offices (source: Palacio marker).

For several years, Palacio del Gobernador served as my second home (the office where I first worked was housed in this building).  I've worked here for several years but I haven't had the chance to explore the walled city.  Now I'm here again, to wander around the place I took for granted for four years, to appreciate its beauty and its role in our history, to remember the many good memories that this place brings.  Of course, there were bad memories too but I prefer to remember the good ones, good memories outweighs the bad ones anyway. :)

Palacio del Gobernador

We continued our tour, passing by several historical spots - the old Aduana Building, the Plaza Mexico, out to northern side along Pasig River, passing by central post office building, Manila City Hall and National Museum on our way back to Luneta.  That's the coverage of our Intramuros' Kalesa Tour, a one hour lecture of history from our kalesa driver, an hour of sightseeing and of passing through several spots which I just recently saw and heard about even though I used to work inside this walled city, a one hour tour of reliving the past, of remembering good memories.

King Phillip statue, near Puerta Isabel
Starbucks in Puerta Isabel, where one of the tunnels is located
Old Aduana Building - housed the Customs offices, Interdencia, Treasury and Casa de Moneda
Plaza Mexico - port of galleon trade, marker of friendship between Mexico and Philippines
Manila Central Post Office Building
National Museum

Except for a misunderstanding about the cost of the kalesa ride (the driver said it took us one and a half hour to finish so he's asking us to pay him PhP900.00, to which I argue and said "I thought the tour would only take us 30 minutes blah blah", to avoid heated arguments, we pay him PhP600.00 instead, since I believe it only took us one hour to finish the tour), Kalesa Tour in Intramuros is worth a try, the drivers are usually well-versed about the place, telling us about some interesting facts and information about the places we passed by.  Just make sure to clarify the route and the normal cost of the entire tour with the driver first to avoid misunderstanding and arguments.

~ oo00oo ~

Date of Visit: March 24, 2012
Kalesa Tour Fee: PhP250.00 - PhP300.00 per 30 minutes, would take about an hour for the entire tour

34 comments:

  1. lokong driver yun ha? hehe. anyway nice photos! naalala ko tuloy adventure namin ni grace diyan sa intramuros.

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    1. medyo loko nga pero di naman sya umubra eh, hehe! gawa ka na ng post about your one-week Luzon adventure, pati si Grace eh la pa din post the last time I checked eh. :)

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  2. awww di ko alam yun ha.. may SB na sa intra.. huling photowalk ko dito wala pa ang SB... babalikan ko to..
    i will do a project din sa intra this year.. sama ka ha...

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    1. Medyo matagal na ata SB sa intramuros pero ala pa sya nung nag-work pa ko dun. Kapag libre ko try ko makasama para makapag-explore pa, limited lang kase tour na to eh, umikot lang talaga yun kalesa sa intramuros.

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  3. Di pa ko nakapunta ng intramuros... ganyan pala dyan... hehe inosente sa sariling bayan... pupuntahan ko yan... ma-ilista sa sched ko... bakit starbucks nilagay? They should put an old kapehan, Pinoy/spanish style, or whatever coffee they drink during those time, to maintain the old concept para wholistic ang approach ng theme. Ito ang ayaw ng mga tourist sa Pinas eh, pag punta nila dito, they see the same stuff.. walang pinag-kaiba sa kung anong the usual na nakikita nila sa bansa nila. Just a thought. Pero just the same, pupuntahan ko pa rin yan.

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    1. Ako nga rin eh kaya umiikot kahit pano. :) malapit kase sa schools yun SB and maybe they are targeting the students kase yun ang mas marami na crowd kaya siguro pinayagan. Balik pa rin ako dyan, limited lang kase inikutan ng kalesa tour namin eh. ;)

      BTW, Have a safe trip, pauwi na pero nakaka-comment ka pa rin ha. ;)

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  4. Medyo yan ang hindi ko pa nata-try sa Intra, ang kalesa ride. Mahal ba? Ang maganda ay yung mga new establishment hindi gumagawa ng sariling building design gaya ng starbucks, old looking pa rin, :)

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    1. Hi Edmar! Medyo mahal, PhP250-300 per 30 minutes, it would take around an hour to an hour and a half per tour kaya mga PhP600-900 ang gastos. :(

      Yun lang ok dito sa SB, inayos lang siguro nila yun place pero intact pa rin yun old look nya, sabi nga ng kutsero tunnel daw yun na inayos at nilagyan ng starbucks eh. :)

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  5. Meron din pala sa Intramuros nitong kalesa. Again, sabi ko nga sa dati kong comment dito sa blog mo nakasakay na ako ng kalesa pero sa may fort santiago yun, mas malaki yun at kasya ang lima hanggang 7 kasama ang driver hehe. Mukhang mahal yung 300 pero ok na din kung medyo madalang ang nagkakalesa. Kapag nagawi ako ng Manila, tiyak mangangati paa ko't pupuntahan ko yan. Dahil sayo Glen at sa blog mo parang napupuntahan ko na din yang mga lugar dyan na talaga namang maipagmamalaki diba? Maraming salamat. Ingat ka.

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    1. Talaga, kasya ang 5-7 tao? Lima kami pati driver, pero yun tatlong kasama ko, ang papayat kaya parang 2 tao lang equivalent at pinagkasya nila sarili nila sa pangdalawahang upuan sa likod. Kawawang kabayo nga eh, buti na lang nakaikot pa rin sya...hehe!

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    2. Oo mahaba kasi yun, hindi ganyan na 2 lang ang gulong. Nakapagsimba kami pagkatapos dyan sa Manila Cathedral, habang yung isip ko lumilipad haha pano kasi iniisip ko hay nakarating din ako sa lugar na ito kung saan nakikita ko lang sa tv na mga sikat at artistang kinakasal(kulang nalang ngumatngat sa pader) :D Kaso di pa yata naimbento ang camera sa telepono kaya zero wala akong photo.

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    3. Haha, pag-uwi mo, samahan kita Intramuros, dito kaya kitang samahan dahil malapit lang at medyo familiar ako sa lugar, wag mo lang tanong sa 'kin masyado yun historical relevance ng mga lugar dun, mahina ako sa dates eh, refer na lang tayo sa mga marker nila...hehe!

      Bilib ako sa 'yo ha, kaka-reply ko lang at dito ka na ulit, naka-subscribe? :D

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  6. Modus ng mga kutchero yan dati pa na palakihin ang bayad nyo kahit may napag usapan na kayo. Ganyan din ngyari samin pero di sya umubra.hehehe! Kung ano napag usapan, yun lang.

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    1. Hi Anney! Medyo asar nga pero dahil 4 naman kami na pinagkasya nya sa kalesa eh pumayag na lang kami sa PhP600 para ala na lang gulo. Anyway, sensya na ngayon lang na-publish comment mo, napunta sa spam eh at ngayon lang nakita. :)

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  7. Namimiss ko yung post mo sa isang blog. Dito ka pala naglalagi ah. Hehehe. Buti di kami sumakay nung nagpunta kami jan kundi di kami magkakaintindihan ni Manong driver ng kalesa. hehehe.

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    1. Hi Sey! Dito nga naglalagi ng malimit, hehe! Na-feel ko na pang-come on lang nila yun 30minutes kaya ask ko si manong kutsero, ayun nga tama ako. Pero di bale, tipid pa rin naman dahil 4 kami, buti na lang tingting mga kasama ko, hehe!

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  8. marketing strategy!! na remember ko tuloy what happened in mines view park sa baguio about the horseback photo shoot!!! lolz I MISS INTRAMUROS!! I MISS MANILA!!! hahaha

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    1. Yeah, marketing strategy talaga! Kaya kelangan bago sumakay, malinaw ang usapan, entire tour ang contract price dapat di per hour o 30 minutes o ano pa man.

      Bakit, ano nangyari sa inyo sa Baguio?

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  9. I am in love with this place! I haven't been here in such a long, long time now. I only went here once, with my mom and her friends, but I was too young to appreciate the beauty of the place. We stayed there for three days and actually slept in one of the old houses, which was thrilling. (I'm not sure if it was a hotel or motel) - anyway, this place inspired me to write my very first novel :) ( which unfortunately, I had abandoned )

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    1. Hi Nastassia! I got confused with your comment, hehe. Are you referring to this post (Intramuros) or the Vigan post, got confused about the old house that you mentioned eh, hehe. Anyways, thank you for the visit, will visit your blog later. :)

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  10. that is one colorful Kalesa!

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  11. Mukang nagulangan kayo ni Manong dun sa PhP600.00 lol. Ok na rin yan kung nag-enjoy ka naman.

    Pinag-ubusan ko ng panahon etong Intramuros eh, but that was a long time ago. Wish ko ngang magawan ng post yung mga old manila adventures ko kaso dami pang priorities :(

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    1. Actually, expected ko na na it's not just PhP300 pero ok lang, apat naman kase kami, para sa kabayo na lang, hehe.

      Hectic kase ng sched mo eh, lahat ata ng events dito sa Manila kinu-cover mo. ;)

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  12. alam mo, naka experience din ako makipag argue noong umuuwi kami dyan sa Pinas noong 2011 sa Boracay...pinabayad naman ako ng almost 3,000 pesos sa lobster lang at shrimp na order namin...nakipag-argue talaga ako kasi sa sobrang mahal, kaya sabi ko ireport ko sila sa pulis pinabayad nila ako ng 1,500 which is fair enough...kaya simula noon kinukuha ko na ang bill namin bago kami magkain or mag tour or mag taxi kasi bigla na lang nila kami hingi-an ng 2,000 dyan sa pinas...nahiya nga ako sa husband ko kasi first time nya pumunta s apinas at yon ang nagyari sa amin.pero sa ibang country ang ganda ng tourism at wala kami problema or kahit ano...

    At least naging fair ka din..hehehhe..ang ganda pala ng intramuros noh.

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    1. Hindi naman lahat ng mga tao dito sa Pinas na involved sa tourism eh pasaway, meron lang talaga mga iba na sakit sa ulo at pasaway, kelangan na lang talaga natin maging listo, sabi nga nila, alang manloloko kapag alang magpapaloko. Kaya ingats next time...

      Visit mo Intramuros sa next na uwi mo, include mo na rin Luneta kase kaya naman sya lakarin, umuulan lang talaga kaya napa-kalesa kami. :)

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  13. That's good na pinaganda at nirestore din talaga ang Intramuros, considering na this is one of the significant historical places sa Pinas. Na-flashback ako sa mga field trips ko dito dati nung elementary ;) Thanks sa tip about Kalesa rides. Medyo malaki nga ata yung P900 - and it's sad kung may mga oportunistang ganyan na nagbibigay ng negative impact sa tourism sa Pinas :(

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    1. That's right, mas maganda ngayon ang Intramuros compared to the time when I used to work there. Kakalungkot nga lang na may mga kutsero na ganyan pero PhP600 lang sya, di PhP900. Siguro kung mas mura lang eh mas malaki ang kita nila kase for sure, mas marami sasakay. :)

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  14. Isa yan sa list na gusto ko dalhin hubby and daughter ko sa vacation namin diyan. Thank you for sharing these precious photos here! By the way add ko pala link mo sa both blogs ko. :-)

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    1. Hi Sam! Dami pa significant sites sa loob ng Intramuros, di lang kami nakaikot kase umuulan ng bumisita kami, di nga kami nakapunta sa Fort Santiago eh. :(

      Thanks for linking me, I'll also add you on my blogroll (badges & links). :)

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  15. once pa lang ako nakapunta ng intramuros.. at ang masasabi ko maganda talaga... sarap balikan..

    ganda ng kuha sa first photo...

    keep on posting ^_^

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  16. Hi Everyone just want to share our bad experience in riding kalesa. We visited Luneta last week & my husband wants to take a ride of kalesa, the kutsero said its P350 per tour so i said its ok, but after the intramuros tour, the kutsero is asking for P2100 as he said each person is P350 x 1.5hours, but the tour is just less than 1hour. I argued & the kutsero kept on murmuring & dont want us to go down until my husband gave him P1100 just for us to get down. I was so scared because the place we stop is quite dark & that time we are bringing our new dslr camera which costly & pocket money. After we go down & walk towards Adriatico we both felt bad that i felt so ashame to my husband about what had happened because i keep saying to him that filipinos are nice & friendly & manila is a good place to visit. I also tell my self that its still safe to go to Thailand, Indonedia & Malaysia.

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    1. Hi Dwayne, thanks for sharing your experience here. It's sad that there are some Pinoys who take advantage of tourists, even fellow Pinoys. That's why it's imperative that we clarify everything when contracting/hiring someone for a trip to avoid such incidents. But I believe it's not just here in the Philippines, I've experienced it in Bangkok too, a few years ago. That's why I mentioned here to clarify the route, the time, the fare, if its for the entire trip or per person, so we won't fall victims of some greedy 'kutseros'. But I hope despite this, you'll still visit and explore our country, there are more honest and friendly Pinoys, more than the not-so-good ones, anyway. :)

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  17. Had the same experience yesterday in Rizal park. We had 2 kalesa since were 5 in a group. The driver said its 250 in 30 minutes and thats for the entire tour.I even ask the driver what if its traffic but he just smiled and didnt answer my question. We didnt notice the time so I thought that was fine but the other my friends from other kalesa stopped and my friends went off the Kalesa and argued w/ the driver. So we also did the same thing. Its even less than an hour but the driver of the other Kalesa insisted thats its already beyond 1 hour. We payed P1000 for 2 kalesas and left them. I hate that those drivers didnt informed us that we are already 30 minutes. What if we only have 250 pesos on hand, how would we pay them? Seemed like those drivers were taking advantage of us because we are not familiar w/ the place. Hope the government will take an action w/ this issue. We cant file a complain because we are almost late w/ our flight back to Cebu. We just hope that Karma will kick off their butts and realize that what they are doing is wrong.

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