Thursday, October 17, 2013

Intramuros via Segway

The walled city of Intramuros is the oldest district in the city of Manila, thus it has such a rich and storied history within its old walls.  Even knowing that, I’ve never really explored it, except for that one time in college where we were required to do a research paper on it.  A few weekends ago, J was invited by one of her very good friends to go on a tour of Intramuros… while riding on a segway.  How fun could that be!  

One my favorite structure in Intramuros is also one of the most beautiful churches in the country, the San Agustin Church.  I love this church so much that I chose to get married in it more than a decade ago.
The tour’s starting point is at the White Knight Hotel, within the vicinity of San Agustin Church.  The White Knight Hotel  is the company which organizes this tour, which is called “Intramuros Tour on Electric Chariot.


The company also offers tours on bikes, and ATV's.

The segway is a two wheeled, battery-operated motor vehicle.  It is controlled using the passenger’s body angle, and the pressure of the feet.  Lean slightly forward to go, lean slightly backward to stop. Emphasis should be given that all movements should be slow and calculated as jerky actions while onboard the segway could lead to accidents.  Since it was everyone’s first time to hop on one, the guide gave everyone a quick one-on-one tutorial on how to navigate the segway.  
After a quick introduction and demonstration, everyone was given a chance to hop on one and go around the hotel's courtyard.
Once everyone has gotten the hang of it, everyone was asked to form a straight line behind the guide, as they proceeded to explore the rustic streets and historical landmarks of Intramuros. 
Since the group was quite big, they had to go in 2 batches since there were not enough segways to accommodate everyone in one go.  While the second group was waiting for their turn, they visited the nearby museum for a quick guided tour.

Other than the tour guide, there are 2 assistants who accompanied the kids to ensure everyone’s safety as they ventured out into the street.  The assistants made sure to stop traffic everytime the group had to cross an intersection.  They also took photos of the kids during the tour.

Tour sights include:
Plaza San Luiz Complex (Casa Blanca & Casa Manila Patio)
San Agustin Church
Clam Shell (Ateneo De Manila, San Ignacio Church)
Puerta De Santa Lucia
Galeria Delos Presidencia
P.C. Barracks (Quartel de Santa Lucia)
Victoria (Light & Sound Museum, Overlooking Golf Course)
Baluarte De San Diego (San Diego Gardens, PLM)
Murralla Wall (Japanese Canon)

Unfortunately for the second group, by the time it was their turn to take the tour, there was a slight drizzle already.   Ponchos were provided free of charge, and the tour still went on smoothly. The overcast sky seemed to threaten with a heavy downpour, and ultimately, the tour had to be shortened to 30 minutes for the safety of the kids.

Meanwhile, while waiting for our kids, the moms also enjoyed going around for a short while before settling down for some serious chit-chat.:)  Thanks to the mom of the birthday celebrant for thinking of this unique way to celebrate!

To know more about the segway tour, you may go to their webpage, or like them on Facebook