Byline: Ma. Glaiza Lee
People residing in Manila perceive it only as a hub of the metropolis where traffic jams and bad roads are part of their everyday life, where people cautiously travel main streets because they are afraid of what lurks in dark alleys.
But Ivan ManDy, an Old Manila Walks (a tour outfitter) tour guide, sees beyond this and looks at Manila as one big museum that is waiting to be explored... on foot!
"I grew up in Binondo. Everyday, I saw wooden houses, walked through the busy streets, breathed in the aroma of food being cooked in nearby Chinese restaurants, and listened to the bustle and hustle of the everyday life," shared Ivan.
It is not surprising that Ivan wants to share his experiences in living in one of the most historical sites in Manila. And for him, the best way to explore the city and learn about Filipino heritage is to go by foot.
"To explore a city is to walk through its streets, taste the food, learn the history and get the feel of the area," said industrial designer Ivan.
He continued: "Old Manila Walks tour is not your ordinary tour. It is a historical walking tour, with emphasis on the walking part."
Unlike other tours where people spend a few minutes in an area, Old Manila tours spend almost three hours in the historic place, exploring its alleyways to absorb a sense of the area.
Old Manila Walks offers "Walls of This Content" (an Intramuros Walk), "A FEU Good Men (a walk in Far Eastern University campus), "The Big Binondo Food Wok" (a walk in Chinatown), and "Power, Palace & A Shot of Beer" (a walk in San Miguel).
If you think these tours are cool, wait until you hear about their "Mounds, Magnates & Mausoleums" which is a Chinese Cemetery walking tour!
"People often perceive cemeteries as just the setting of horror movies. For them, cemetery means gravestones, ghosts and ghoulish stuff," related "streetwalker" Ivan.
"What we are offering is not the creepy part. Our tour delves on the historical and cultural aspects of the cemetery," he added.
"In Manila, we have different kind of cemeteries - American, Spanish, Chinese, Filipino. These cemeteries are a reflection of the various facets of our culture," said Ivan.
He added: "Cemeteries are 'untouched' places. They were not ruined by wars, unlike other historical …