#DSMxBambike: Revisiting Intramuros with Bamboo Bikes

Nowadays, travelling has been the top activity of millenials and the later generation. Here in the Philippines, what interests most of us to wander are places outside Manila. But why most of us choose to skip Manila when exploring places? #DSMxBambike tour, gives you reasons to not skip Manila especially if it’s your first time here.

Don’t Skip Manila

Don’t Skip Manila is a passion project that aims to tell the stories of the pearl city. Often times, we Filipinos and other foreign tourists skip Manila on the places to visit in the Philippines. This is where they comes in. Don’t Skip Manila will give you reasons to not skip Manila and show you how rich the history of Manila is.

Bambike

Founded by Bryan Benitez McClellandBambike is a socio-ecological enterprise based in the Philippines that hand-makes bamboo bicycles with fair-trade labor and sustainable building practices. Its mission is to build the greenest products on the planet while creating jobs for some of the people that need them the most.

Bryan McLelland The bamboo bike builders (aka Bambuilders) come from Gawad Kalinga, a Philippine based community development organization for the poor, working to bring an end to poverty.

Bambike Revolution Cycles: People – Planet – Progress

They have programs that include scholarships, sponsoring a preschool teacher, and a weekly feeding program for children, as well as a bamboo nursery for reforestation. Bambike is a company that is interested in helping out people and the planet, dedicated to social and environmental stewardship. Our goal is to do better business and to make the greenest bikes on the planet.

The Partnership: #DSMxBambike Tour
Megan Cabalcar of Bambike and Anne Uy of Don’t Skip Manila poses for the camera during our stop at Puerta del Parian in Intramuros

It all started when Bambike heard of Don’t Skip Manila from a well-known Intramuros performance tour guide. From there, Bambike contacted Don’t Skip Manila which happened to be also interested on collaborating with them! So, it was an easy decision for both of them to make this partnership possible to deliver new experience  for us when it comes to exploring Manila.

The tour was named DSMx not just because of the collaboration with Bambike but also about improving the Manila Xperience. In this case, it’s the same Intramuros tour that they offer but with different feels and activities, and the partnership with Bambike = DSMxBambike. Cool, right?

The Experience

It was actually the morning before my flight when I joined the first #DSMxBambike tour in Intramuros. The weather is gloomy and with light rain showers. A bed weather indeed but I was eager to participate and prayed for clear skies so I can have a better experience exploring the “Walled City” (for the nth time); to see how much it has changed overtime.

Me on my choice of bambike to ride for the tour.

For some reason, Intramuros has a very special place in my heart. I think it all started on my first visit there way back when I was 5 or 6 years old. Part of our tour (field trip) is a visit at the Acuario de Manila which housed exhibits a number of tanks where you can see bright-colored fishes and other sea animals found in Philippine waters. Where exactly in Intramuros? From my memory, it was located near Puerta Real or Baluarte de San Diego (please comment down if you still have a clear memory of where it was located. Will appreciate it!). Yes, before today’s Manila Ocean Park, there was Acuario de Manila for our generation. And that was my first exposure to the “Walled City” that made me fall inlove with this historical place. Perhaps, that is one of the many reason I will keep on coming back. So when I got a chance to join the launch of the #DSMxBambike tours, I didn’t think twice.

For the tour, we assembled at Casa Manila where the Bambike HQ is located. Thankfully, we were greeted by the sun shining bright! Perfect weather to bike around. We were welcomed by the Bambike and Don’t Skip Manila team and directed us the bikes so we could choose which one we would like to use.

Thereafter, Anne and Andrei of Don’t Skip Manila gather us all participants to formally start our tour by giving us quick briefing of what should we expect and how to properly use our bikes (especially how to lock and unlock the bike stands which was a struggle for me at first. haha!).

Our first stop was at the Japanese Cannon beside Baluarte De San Diego. Here, stories from the Japanese occupation of the Philippines was shared by Andrei of Don’t Skip Manila, who used to be a professor. Aside from the storytelling, participants are also free throw questions to Don’t Skip Manila guides and they’ll surely answer it and share you interesting facts that are not usually taught in school.

The tour let us wander not only Intramuros but also the “Extramuros” which means the external part of the Walled City. One of the sight that we visited was the Puerta Real Gardens which used to be exclusively used by the Governor-General for state occasions. Onto the next, we visited Puerta del Parian where Chinese merchants gathers to sell merchandise back then.

Ruins of Aduana building across Plaza Mexico

Next on the list is Plaza Mexico. This place in Intramuros is where you’ll find the IV Centenario de la Expedición Marítima México Filipinas memorial and  Manila–Acapulco Galleon marker. This landmark will remind you of the historical and cultural ties between Mexico and the Philippines.

Inside Manila Cathedral

Second to the last stop of our tour was the Minor Basilica and Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception also known as the Manila Cathedral. With the latest renovation, the cathedral has already stations inside where history are told. We also visited their new souvenir shop where the old church bells are kept.

Photo from Malacañang Palace’s official website

Lastly, the perfect landmark to end this tour is a visit to the Memorare – Manila 1945. Aside from the fact written here (as you can see on the photo above) about what it is all about, did you know that there’s a time capsule behind it? This time capsule is scheduled to be opened on February 3, 2045. That’s exactly a century after the war. I’ll be turning 52 by that year and I’m hoping to witness its opening together with the younger generation. It is said that nobody knows what’s inside of it (except of the people who put it in there, of course) but one thing is for sure — those are another proofs of the existence of war.

DSMxBambike Intramuros Tour Package

Overall, the experience was great! It was actually more fun to explore Intramuros by the eco-friendly bambikes than walking under the scorching heat. Plus, Don’t Skip Manila guides are so awesome having the combination of seriousness and fun during the tour. Oh! And by the way,  did I mention that during the tour, they have a speaker with them and plays cool music related to Manila? I swear the feeling was nostalgic.

Interested on this experience? For only ₱1,000 per guest, you get the following:

  • Use of Bambike for the whole tour
  • Snacks
  • Bottled water
  • Don’t Skip Manila guides. 

As of writing, DSMxBambike Intramuros tour is available twice a month every Monday afternoon.


For reservations and inquiries, don’t hesitate to contact Don’t Skip Manila:

Don’t Skip Manila
Contact No.: +63 910 840 7117
Don’t forget to like their Facebook Page and follow them on Instagram for updates.

DSMxBambike’s tinerary may vary per group or schedule so better ask Don’t Skip Manila team for complete details.

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