Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Bambike Ecotour (A bike tour of Intramuros)

It's been ages since I learned how to bike and I was never a fan of biking. I get scared of small spaces and I get out of focus when I see cars drive by.

I arrived quite early at the venue actually I saw first so I went to Manila Cathedral since San Agustin was closed. There was a mass there and I lingered for a few hours. Then after a few minutes I saw a friend bloggers and the rest of the group came.

The firs ting I took a picture of is this little kitty sleeping at the gate of Casa Manila. He seems so tired and in peace. I hope I am in peace later when the tour starts.

We gathered in Plaza San Luis as the sun rises in the east. The air is warm and its going to be a hot day!

The store is located besides Paper Tole. It's a good sized place for their bikes and their small bar. They have different kinds of bikes for all sizes and uses. They have cheap ones as well as expensive ones. The best part is that they can also customize a bike for you.

The Bambike

We are doing a tour that costs Php 1,200 which includes the bike use, helmet, entrance to certain places and water. I tell you this tour is worth your every penny and to think that they also help people to get jobs and earn money. They are helping people from Gawad-Kalinga.

Their stores sell bamboo bikes, helmets and bike accessories as well as other bamboo products. They also have a cafe where you can buy coffee, drinks and water.

Maybe you just need a bamboo frame? They can also provide you with that.

By now everyone is ready for the ride but we watched a video of Bambike and how it started and also its goals and objectives.

Drinks available at Bambike and they all cost less than a hundred.
We did some practice within the fountain. It took me sometime to get used to the bike. It seems I am going to be working hard today and need to learn biking the hard way.

Then our leader Bryan led the way towards the nearby San Agustin Church. He talked about the history of the place and interesting trivia. This Fil-Am knows his history well.

Mr. Bryan Benitez Mc Clelland- founder, bamboo bike builder, socio-ecological entrepreneur, whitewater kayaker, ecotourism developer.
At the same time me and my friends also supplied other information about the Church.

I survived one short stop and then off we go to another place. I am slowly getting used to the bike by now despite all. Next stop is the gallery of Presidents. It shows some of the Presidents of the country.

Bryan also talked about this area as I remember used the a place for soldiers. Hmmm I think I am just making stuff here. But the fact remains that this area has not been restored yet.

Then off we go to Baluarte de San Diego, this time I became more confident with biking. I make less mistakes now. I am enjoying the tour the more because I am really enjoying biking.

Also not easily seen is this artilery gun left by the Japanese as a reminder of World War II. And this was the firs time I saw this gun...

Artillery gun at Intramuros
Then I biked faster and is actually following Bryan at his back now as we make it to the ravelins and of course Puerta Real. We saw bells, canons and stuff at the insides of the gate.

Then we went to the ravelin of the Puerta Real to see a view of Manila. Of course, the place is littered with students and at times lovers. This place has already been covered a lot so I didn't take pictures of the place. Besides I was here last week. lolz

The Intramuros Administration has stamped the bircks they used with 1981. That was the year I was born...

Here Bryan reminded us of one great and interesting thing we did, we passed a bridge using bambike. Yeah! That was cool coming from this white guy.

We went in again and passed by Manila Bulletin where there was a breath of cold air...

I am no logner worried about cars and is not even much scared by others getting near. I am improving... YES! Here Bryan leads the way for us while another person makes sure is following and none is left behind.

Here at Escuala Taller students learn lots of crafts like brick making and things that are important to the restoration as well as the maintenance of the many heritage places in the Philippines. Especially that a big earthquake destroyed the many Churches in Bohol and Cebu.

Here we climb the walls for a very exclusive things. Bambike is the only tour that allows you to travel the top of the walls of Intramuros. I bet you are jealous of us...

There are cannons in here that face Parian or the old Chinese settlement in Manila before they were moved to Binundok or Binondo.

Here we get to see another side of Manila and the places near Mehan gardens and of course as far as the eyes can see.

We climbed down the walls to visit our favorite Queen who stands by her gate. Reina Isabella II or Queen Isabella II of Spain.

We then passed by Plaza Mexico and went biking into the Maestranza walls as well as the Royal Warehouse. This is one of the Royal Warehouses in the walls. On walking tours I never reach the far end but I did today with a bambike.

After that we headed for Fort Santiago. This is where the old kingdom of Raja Matanda once stood, I mean his palace.

This kid poses with Manuel Quezon and McArthur to ponder something. I hope its not about loom bands or watching the latest movie of Daniel Padilla.

We are greeted by the St James the great as I passed by several foreign tourists. DUH this time I am a tourist as well. Taking pictures with this old camera.

We are given water and we enter the gates now on foot as we also the Rizal Musem or Dambana ni Rizal. This is where Rizal was kept before his execution. Now the place is beautiful and air-conditioned.

The place documents the last days of Rizal and the things and pictures from that time. I love the way they presented the story now with more and better displays and also videos and lights and sounds.

There are tons of memorabilia and art works abut Rizal as well as pictures. I love the marble Mi Ultimo Adios!!!

Rizal's vertebrae, a hero's relic. 

Rizal and his very own "needle." I bet he was as big as Arya Stark (Game of Thrones)

Rizal' Business Card

A variety of FDCs and Rizal Stamps

Rizal on paperbill

Mi Ultimo Adios written on stone! WOW!

We left the coldness of Rizal's trial and sentence behind to see one of the dungeons. It was dark, damp and cold but there was no water. The story about people drowning in the dungeons of Fort Santiago is just a myth and is not true.

I also left that place because of fear. It's way too dark and cold there. Creepy as fuck too!

Rizal seems sad in here.

Here we get a nice view of Manila and its Pasig River. Now full of garbage and I even saw a dead dog floating. that I didn't take a picture of.

Monument to the dead unidentified Filipino and American soldiers found in the dungeons.
And then the last place where Rizal stayed over night before waling to Bagumbayan or Luneta now called Rizal Park.

After this we headed back to the Bambike headquarters after this I was too lazy to take pictures.

VERDICT: This Tour is worth the price. I learned to bike at a very short time once more. I enjoyed re-learning history and just the use of the Bambike is an experience you want to do over the city of Manila. This group is also not for profit which makes me a big fan. I just hope I can own one of their awesome bikes.

BTW, Bambikes are designed to last a really long time and is not something you can just say as cheap. It's strong as steel. Imagine the torture mine got. lolz

If you are interested with the Bambike Ecotour you can visit their website and other palces online here:







Bambike Tours: 

Tour times: 10 am & 3 pm
Please arrive 30 min before tour departure.

Bambike Headquarters
Plaza San Luis Complex
Real Street corner General Luna St.
Intramuros, Manila 1002

Phone +63(2)5258289

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