Tag Archive: Baluarte



We didn’t plan on being here. We met for early lunch hoping to simply chat the afternoon away. But why not chat while driving around Intramuros, much like those joy rides we used to enjoy when we were kids?

 

 

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Then the calesa passed right in front of us. It’s 2 o’clock in the afternoon and those riders didn’t seem to mind the heat nor the sun. Well, it wasn’t particularly hot this afternoon. Pleasant enough to get off the car and walk into Baluarte de San Diego here in Intramuros. It’s a better option than the more open spaces in Fort Santiago. More shady trees too.

 

 

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For only 75 pesos (less than US$2), one can get in to enjoy the “park with some history”. There were kids running around with their dog in the shady part of the Baluarte. Not many tourists. Many of them must be in Fort Santiago or San Agustin Church and Monastery. Yet this is one of the oldest stone fortifications in the whole length of the Intramuros walls.

 

 

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The old stone steps lead up to the walls from where one views this circular stone formation, the length of the walls, and the Manila Hotel and other modern skycrapers surrounding the walled city. I remember being here years back when I attended a wedding of a friend’s daughter where I stood as sponsor. I would have wanted to walk atop the walls, but my long gown got in the way 🙂 Today, there is no such restriction.

 

 

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Will someone please tell me how these circular stone formations were used? Surely, the good Jesuit priest who designed it back in the 16th century had some purpose in mind. I mean, I do know they’re there to defend the walled city but my simple mind can’t understand the many circular formations. From what I gather, this part of the Walls went into disrepair and were in fact only rediscovered in the 70s. Forgive my ignorance, but I’m most certainly eager to know how that circular design work.

 

 

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These days, the Baluarte (Baluarte means bastion or fortification) is more popular as a wedding reception venue. I wish it could be more than that. The place has so much history and is, in fact, a lovely “park” which children would enjoy. The only drawback is it could be really hot during summer here. I sure hope the Intramuros Administration consider late afternoon and dusk tours here and around Intramuros. It will require some investment in good lighting and better security, but I’m sure tourists and even locals would enjoy the place better as the day approaches sunset and at night. Play some good music too (like in Paco Chapel and Cemetery) and you’d turn the Baluarte more magical!

 

 

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Who does not know Chavit Singson? He was the man who squealed about the Jueteng Scandal that eventually led to Erap’s ouster.  While before his name was associated with Jueteng-gate, Ilocos politics, his friendship with world-famous boxer Manny Pacquiao, and his (Chavit’s, not Manny’s)  lovely women………..of late, people remember Chavit for his not-your-typical-nor-ordinary pets in Vigan’s Baluarte.   Should this make us happy?

This tiger had a lengthy “pictorial” with a long line of guests, each of whom posed for a fearless solo shot with the awesome animal.   Watching them line up, pose and try to touch the animal, helped along by the zookeepers who never let go of the leash on the animal, I couldn’t help but feel pity for the tiger.  It didn’t look like it was having a grand time. The way it growled and  turned its head left , right, up, and down,  it could have easily lopped off somewhere away from this scene,  perhaps dragging one of the zookeepers along. But it didn’t.  I’m sure not even a team of those short and thin-looking zookeepers could manage to hold it down. I suspect the animal’s drugged.  

After the pictorial,  back to the cages they go.  Very small cages.  I hear Chavit “plays” with these animals when he is not busy playing with something else like they are his pets.  I can only surmise that they are fed very well before meeting the master.  

The ostriches we found in Baluarte probably had a better life.  They had the “space” and were likely left to roam around the grounds.  

So with the deer, ponies and other animals we found.  Well, at least they look healthier than those starved at the Manila Zoo!

Fed well. Clean environ.  Drugged, maybe not.  Would that make it better?

The Zookeeper and (His Ward) Tiger

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