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Boxing tourism


Went around the walled city of Intramuros for a short tour on Thursday morning.

As it turned out, I often acted as the tour guide since I was familiar with the area having been a student of San Juan de Letran from grade school until high school.

Later, I told them I used to work at Manila Bulletin along Muralla where a grand church used to stand.

With me during the stroll were top photographer Wendell Alinea, American matchmaker-promoter Sean Gibbons of MP Promotions and World Boxing Council president Mauricio Sulaiman, who blew into town as a special guest of the Pacquiao-Elorde Awards taking place Sunday night at the Okada.

First stop was the spot along the Pasig River where a landmark marking the four-centuries old friendship between the Philippines and Mexico stood.

I knew this would pique Sulaiman’s interest because he is Mexican.

And true enough, he was wearing a smile when we got there.

He took videos and pictures.

However, there was a rather hideous sight on the memorial.

A steel inscription was peeled off from the side, and the last time I visited, I knew it was still there.

I am not sure if authorities were the ones who took it for safekeeping.

My guess is that somebody must have taken it away so he could sell it.

Anyway, we took a short ride and went straight to the Manila Cathedral where Sulaiman offered a little prayer and bought some souvenirs from the shop.

A few minutes later, we passed by a memorial to the victims of the Battle of Manila, leaving all of us thinking of the war’s irreparable damage.

The last stop was the San Agustin Church where we spent an hour marveling at the artifacts and exhibits on display.

But before entering the museum, we went to Baluarte de San Diego on board a horse-drawn carriage.

And because it was pouring rain, we were forced to return to San Agustin.

Since Holy Week is upon us, the historic San Agustin was getting ready for Semana Santa.

I have been to the church a few times before but was surprised to see that there’s so much to see, things that you won’t get to look at when you’re dropping by for a quickie tour.

I was glad that Sulaiman enjoyed the trip to the Walled City.

As we made our way out, I realized I was still wearing a smile.

If you got time to spare, go on a tour of Intramuros.

It’s going to be well worth the trip.

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