Photograph of the Philippine Post Office, courtesy of Mr. Lawrence Chan.
When In Manila, you are in a multilayered city. The lights of the Metro, the most familiar face of this Oriental capital, is only the surface layer. Go down deeper, and you may discover pieces of Philippine history you never knew. Go deeper still, and you may discover its very beginnings.
The best way, perhaps, to do this digging, is to go on a walking tour of old Manila. Tours like Carlos Celdran‘s Walk This Way and the charming Old Manila Walks are tourist favorites, and well worth the fees paid for them. But for the budget traveler, or the Manileño wanting to find their roots, the Filipinas Stamp Collectors’ Club, or FSCC can help you dig down deep and find the Manila you never knew before…without paying a single peso. In cooperation with Philpost, the Museo ng Maynila, the Intramuros Administration, the National Press Club, the Winners Foundation, and the Department of Education, the FSCC invites anyone and everyone interested in discovering a side of Manila they may have never seen to their FREE Postal Heritage and Metropolitan Theatre Tours! Spend a fun-filled afternoon traveling, unravelling stories, nature tripping, discovering mysteries and (perhaps) sighting a ghost or two at some of the city’s most historical buildings, wilderness areas and sites. Photography is allowed.
The FSCC conducts tours based on the history of the Philippine postal system, but the tour does not appeal exclusively to philately (That’s a fancy word for stamp collecting.) enthusiasts. Bloggers, travel enthusiasts, architecture lovers, history buffs, shutter bugs, and even seekers of the paranormal will all find something to appeal to them at FSCC’s Postal Heritage and Metropolitan Theatre Tours. The itinerary is based on photos from old Philippine stamps, and discusses everything from architectural funfacts to postal trivia to juicy historical gossip.
The tour assembles at the Liwasang Bonifacio fountain area between 12:30PM to 1PM, and covers several locations of Manila that aren’t common to walking tours. The itinerary is as follows:
Arroceros Forest Park – one of the few remaining forest parks in Manila, harkening back to when the capital was green.
Metropolitan Theater – The famous theatre is one of the few remaining buildings in the art deco style, and was designed by brothers Juan and Arcadio Arellano built in 1931. Many tour goers report paranormal activities whenever they come here.
Manila Main Post Office – The gorgeous neo-classical building was designed and executed by Mr. Juan Arellano, Tomas Mapua and Ralph Daune.
Puerta Isabel 2 Gate – Built in 1861, it was the last gate in Intramuros to be opened for public use. Its name is after the famous Queen Isabella II of Spain.
Monumento del Reina Isabel 2 – The monument was first installed in 1855 in the old Plaza Arroceros (present day Liwasang Bonifacio ) after her ouster. The statute was ordered to be destroyed by the Ayuntamiento de Manila , however Senor Barreto a royal sympathizer hid the statute and the statute was installed in Plaza Ermita in Front of Malate Church (present day Plaza Rajah Soliman)before a powerful Typhoon Patsy (aka Yoling) toppled the statute in 1970. The present statute was relocated to the present site in 1975.
National Press Club grounds – The main building was designed by well-known architect Mr. Angel Nakpil in an earthquake-proof style, during the 1960. It holds an interesting Merlion mosaic and see-through glass staircase.
Plaza Mexico – A relic of the old Manila Galleon Trade, the Plaza Mexico houses old letters and postcards, transported by the galleons.
The FREE tour is scheduled every third Sunday of the month, with this month’s being on November 20. To those who are interested in coming to the tour, Pre-Registration is until November 18. Can’t make it? Don’t fret! The next scheduled tour is on December 18 , 2011. Pre-Registration is a must for these FREE Guided tours, because some of these sites are restricted areas that the FSCC has special privileges to visit.
Among these special privileges is an arrangement with the Post Office to hold meetings and even allot parking space to those attending, which is why pre-registration is a must. Also, for those who love to collect stamps, coins, and objet d’art, a short lecture/discussion about stamps other collectibles is held at 1:30 PM at the library of the Postal Museum.
Interested in joining the tour? Here are the people to contact:
Mrs. Josie Tiongson-Cura – ( 0917-9800708 / 735-5001 )
Monday to Saturday 1pm to 5pm only
Ms. Nena De Guzman – ( 527-00 -96) Postal Museum and Library
Monday to Friday 8am to 5pm only for parking instruction.
Mr.Lawrence Chan – ( 0919-3901671) Email: L_rence_2003@nullyahoo.com.
When In Manila, why not check out FSCC‘s Postal Heritage and Metropolitan Theatre Tours? If you do, be ready for an epic afternoon discovering a side of Manila you may have never knew.
Discover Old Manila with Filipinas Stamp Collectors’ Club’s FREE Postal Heritage and Metropolitan Theatre Tours