Thursday, December 8, 2011

How to be an Intramuros Tour Guide: A Short Story


Even heaven knows I love to take pictures. But during that day that finally, my life-long dream of becoming a tour guide had been realized - I didn’t bring a camera with me and this was the only photo that I have to remind me of that wonderful memory. How come? I guess I really enjoyed finally being a tour guide that day that I have forgotten to be a photographer.

The day was November 26, 2011. A 23-year old girl from Hong Kong named Sally Xu met me at the train station in Recto Avenue. A couple of days ago, she asked me to be her tour guide in Manila for her short vacation. I was excited! Finally, my occasional daydreaming of becoming a tour guide, a promoter of my own city and country to foreign visitors, paid off. Sally was able to find my profile online where I posted myself as a guy offering tour guiding services to Intramuros - and that I speak a lil’ Mandarin. Turned out the latter wasn’t necessary. Sally can speak English.


Sally studies engineering in a university in Hong Kong. She hails from the province of Hunan, a province I vividly remember with its ultra-spicy dishes – where chili peppers are actually dominating the entire dish - not just a mere “spice”. (Imagine a picture of a dish floating in chili oil and chili peppers. Whew!) Anyhoo, Sally says she was here for a short vacation to find “energy” for 3 major exams waiting for her in Hong Kong. (Thank God I’m so done with college.)

I admired Sally for her sense of adventure. I was able to take her to one of the noisiest and the most crowded part of Manila. I was able to let her experience riding a jeepney too. I had hesitations at first, riding a cab might be the best option that time, but it turned out Sally was enjoying everything about it. She even let me take her photo inside the world-famous public utility vehicle of the Philippines. I like the fact that I was able to let her experience that part of the Filipino culture. Something that I think some tourist probably miss out when they come here – because they take the cab.

Going back to the photo. Can you guess where this was taken? The clue is on the picture itself. Take a look.

It was inside a money changing shop in Sta. Cruz. The photo was taken by the storekeeper herself. This was after the whole day of walking tour in Intramuros- we visited Fort Santiago, Manila Cathedral and the Lights and Sounds Museum. When we are about to depart from each other, Sally declared she was running out of peso. She needed it for her trip to Taal Volcano scheduled for the next day. I willingly helped her find the nearest money changing shop. After seeing a couple of closed shops (it was 6:00pm then and most businesses are already closed), we- at the end -successfully found one. Sally got her peso and at that moment, nothing could truly stop her to seeing the magnificent volcano sitting at the middle of Taal lake.

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When Sally finally reached her youth hostel in Makati, she sent me a short message. She said, “Thank you. Phillipino are nice.”

I smiled. It was a job well done.

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Blogger's Note: If you have personal stories, articles or photos related to Intramuros that you would like to share to IntramurosManila.Asia, just send us an email at intramurosmanila [@] ymail [.] com. Thank you and hope you can share our blog to your friends too. Enjoy!

15 comments:

  1. nice tour guiding experience.. pangarap ko din ang mag guide ng tours around intramuros #proudmanileño

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  2. oo nga it was a dream come true for me! malay mo through your blog maging tour guide ka na din gaya ko. =)

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  3. i love your job. i want to be a tour guide too to have this kind of experience

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    1. I want to thank from the mind. I was really inspired from you.
      incontinence products

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  4. Thanks, Jay! I'm doing tour guiding on the side lang. But who knows it might be profitable that I might make it full-time. Haha! Like Carlos Celdran.

    It's nice to know that a lot of Pinoys actually want to be a tour guide. I have heard a lot from readers that they want this kind of job too ever since I posted this blog. I think it's very telling that we wanted to be ambassadors of our own country. We are indeed very proud of the kind of country (despite the downsides) that we have that we want to show it to the world.

    Thanks for your comment. Please keep it going. :)

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  5. Great experience indeed. I wished you had more pictures like as if you;re taking all of us along with your tour for the day. :)

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  6. great lessons can be learned from simple experiences too. :) have a great weekend!

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  7. Wow. I genuinely enjoyed this post. And I agree with you! Foreigners who want to experience our culture should try riding a jeepney!

    I remember one of our clients begged us to let her take a jeep. We laughed so fricking hard when she stayed at the entrance of the jeep, stood there and held on to dear life like what guys do when the jeep's full. She asked us to take a photo of her, and mine came out blurry 'cause it was so funny and cool at the same time. :))

    I honestly haven't toured around Manila or Intramuros yet. I'm thinking of going to one of Carlos Celdran's tours soon. Or maybe yours. ;)

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  8. Wow. I genuinely enjoyed this post. And I agree with you! Foreigners who want to experience our culture should try riding a jeepney!

    I remember one of our clients begged us to let her take a jeep. We laughed so fricking hard when she stayed at the entrance of the jeep, stood there and held on to dear life like what guys do when the jeep's full. She asked us to take a photo of her, and mine came out blurry 'cause it was so funny and cool at the same time. :))

    I honestly haven't toured around Manila or Intramuros yet. I'm thinking of going to one of Carlos Celdran's tours soon. Or maybe yours. ;)

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  9. Nice! Intramuros is a nice place to go when it comes to Philippine culture and history :)

    Are you putting up your own tour guide business na Mark? :)

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  10. Nice! Intramuros is a nice place to go when it comes to Philippine culture and history :)

    Are you putting up your own tour guide business na Mark? :)

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  11. am glad, they still come to our country even after the tragedy that took place in Manila among her kababayans :)

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  12. @Angela: Yeah too bad I wasn't able to remember to bring my own camera. I got too focused and excited on being a tour guide for Sally. But thank you so much for your suggestion!

    @Mary: Thanks for dropping by! Have a great weekend too!

    @Mhel: Thank you Mhel! I have some great ideas for bloggers in the future. Watch out for it! When it comes, I hope you can come.

    @Ria: Indeed, it is. It still looks elegant in my eyes. About the business, yes, I am looking forward to really being a pro about tour guiding. I felt that being a blogger for Intramuros is a good start.

    @Joy: Funny that she never even mentioned that to me. I didn't even remember it. I hope this is a sign that they have already forgotten about that tragedy. If they keep that in their hearts forever, it will seriously affect our tourism. I hope that my blogging may be away to win them back again.

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  13. @Angela: Yeah too bad I wasn't able to remember to bring my own camera. I got too focused and excited on being a tour guide for Sally. But thank you so much for your suggestion!

    @Mary: Thanks for dropping by! Have a great weekend too!

    @Mhel: Thank you Mhel! I have some great ideas for bloggers in the future. Watch out for it! When it comes, I hope you can come.

    @Ria: Indeed, it is. It still looks elegant in my eyes. About the business, yes, I am looking forward to really being a pro about tour guiding. I felt that being a blogger for Intramuros is a good start.

    @Joy: Funny that she never even mentioned that to me. I didn't even remember it. I hope this is a sign that they have already forgotten about that tragedy. If they keep that in their hearts forever, it will seriously affect our tourism. I hope that my blogging may be away to win them back again.

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  14. This is such a nice post. I've been to Intramuros for quite a few times already, but I haven't toured the whole of it.. :) I hope I can join one of your Intramuros tours some time soon.

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