Touring Intramuros with the Mabuhay Guides

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)

Fort Santiago 01
Not the best thing to wear that Sunday. It was one of the hottest days of summer!


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.

Fort Santiago 04
Mabuhay Guide Bryan (right) answering Eran’s question

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.

Fort Santiago 09
Calesa inside Fort Santiago

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.

Casa Manila
Casa Manila’s courtyard

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.

RELATED:   Blue Dolphin Resort

The Mabuhay Guides can be booked through the Department of Tourism, under Ms. Susan Calo Medina at 8965523.

Article by Nina Fuentes

Nina doesn't aim to travel to every country in the world -- she just wants to travel to the places that means the most to her. She started traveling in 2006, and hopes to travel for as long as she can. Her travel blog, Just Wandering won the Best Travel Blog in the 2010 Philippine Blog Awards and in the 2011 Nuffnang Asia Pacific Blog Awards.

This Article Has 6 Comments
  1. bchai says:

    Wait…are you one of the guides?!? 😉

    Also, since my Spanish is sadly lacking, what is “Intramuros?” I mean, why is it called that?

  2. Antoine says:

    hmm…love it here….

    ^ ^

  3. nina says:

    bchai: Nooo! Hahaha, I doubt I can ever become a real tour guide XD Intramuros means inside the walls ^_^ Basically it’s a city within the walls where the Spanish used to live in the Philippines

    Antoine: I love it here too ^_^

  4. Marco says:

    Was here yesterday!

  5. dong ho says:

    i really like the idea of the mabuhay guides. and congratulations to the first batch. this posts proves the importance of having guides officially from DOT. i hope there’ll be more guides.

  6. Arnold Ancheta says:

    Hi Nina,

    I never had a chance to check your blog until today! Thanks for your kind words.

    To answer a fer questions:

    Intramuros does mean inside the walls. It was also alternatively called Ciudad Murada or walled city. You can learn more about Intrmuros by reading the book “Ciudad Murada” by Jose Victor Torres (published by Vidal Publishing).

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: