Mabuhay Guides is another one of Tourism Secretary Ace Durano’s project to “produce young men and women who will guide DOT visitors to the Philippines, presenting the country in the best possible light in an interesting, intelligent & engaging manner, even as they represent the best the Philippines has to offer.” (from the Mabuhay Guides website)
The training of the first batch is already over, and we now have 23 very qualified guides who are always on call when there’s a need for a guide around the Philippines. Luckily, one of the guides was an avid Couch Surfer, and he offered to members of the Manila group a free walking tour of Intramuros one weekend. It was such a big hit that he offered it again a couple of weekends after, and lucky for me, I had nothing to do that weekend.
Arnold brought his fellow Mabuhay Guide, Bryan for the tour. Though there was a number of confirmations in the group discussion, there were only four of us in the tour group. The meeting place was outside Fort Santiago’s gates, where the tour starts. Fort Santiago is my favorite place in Intramuros, and I was quite happy to visit it again. I’ve been to Fort Santiago several times last year, so I was able to notice changes made throughout the park. It was great to learn things about Fort Santiago that I never knew before.
From Fort Santiago, we walked towards Plaza Roma, the park across the Manila Cathedral and the Palacio del Gobernador. There was a short history lesson under the shade, before we walked down the street to Casa Manila. Casa Manila is a living museum, built to re-create what the house of a wealthy landowner is like during the 1800’s. Picture taking isn’t allowed inside, and they’re very strict about keeping to the carpets while inside the “house.” The museum reminds me of the Aguinaldo Shrine in Kawit, Cavite.
Arnold and Bryan were both very knowledgeable about the Philippine’s history, thanks to their intensive training program. Aside from learning about the different facets of the Philippines, they were also trained on being a guide. They were very mindful of their guests, taking careful note to learn everybody’s name and addressing everyone personally. They encourage people to ask questions, and when they don’t know the answer to a particular question, they make sure they get your e-mail address so they can send you the answer once they have it.
The Mabuhay Guides can be booked through the Department of Tourism, under Ms. Susan Calo Medina at 8965523.