Retracing the Steps of a Hero

“Travel is a caprice in childhood, a passion in youth, a necessity in manhood and an elegy in old age.”

– Jose Rizal, Los Viajes

Nowadays, traveling has been popular among millennial youth. It has become a trend that some only do it to have Instagram-worthy pictures or to harbor attention in other social media accounts. Moreover, others say that they travel as a way of escape from reality, to have a getaway from their toxic day-to-day tasks, for “Operation: Where do broken hearts go?”  or it can also be “Operation: Moving On” and so the petty list goes on and on.

Why Travel?

What does really one gain from traveling? Aside from the feels you get when you arrive at your destination, the breath-taking view, the joy shared from the company you’re with, post-worthy pictures; aside from all of these, what can someone gain from traveling? Knowledge.

One can travel and learn at the same time. This was the task given to us in our Rizal course. Upon finishing our mini travel around manila, we were able to define the importance of learning through traveling – Traveling allows one to learn new things while having fun. By traveling, one can learn something new not only by-the-books but aslo by actually experiencing it yourself. 

Our group retraced the footsteps of a hero, Dr. Jose Rizal and at the end of our mini journey, we were able to have a vivid visualization of what it was like during Rizal’s time by going through historical places such as the walled city, Intramuros; the National Museum of the Philippines where we were able to go to an exhibit and witness the artsy side of our hero; and the Rizal Park where we were reminded of how great of a sacrifice Rizal did to attain this freedom we’re all able to enjoy.

Group picture taken in front of Manila Cathedral. Left to Right: Adrian Felix, Martdenzel Rhey Timajo, Jannie Joyce Pallera, Hannah Eunice Paguio, Cariza Natividad, Pauline Escalona.


Manila? Why not?

Originally, our group we’re planning to go to Calamba to visit Rizal’s Shrine but due to our hectic schedule at school and our empty pockets, we just decided to pick places in the vicinity of Manila and we were glad we did so. The journey barely cost us any money yet we were able to feed not only our eyes but our minds as well.

If you’re planning to go through the same places we visited, I advise that you pick a day which Mr. Sun is shining bright and not when he is gloomy especially since you’ll do a lot of walking; you wouldn’t want to get stuck in the rain, would you?  Another thing, bring an umbrella or a hat with you, sunglasses might be handy too. I would suggest that you go around 10:00 am for the sun at this hour won’t hurt your skin too much, then take a rest at noon and go back around 3:30 pm or 4 pm.

“But I’m not from Manila..”

There are numerous ways to commute going to intramuros whether you’re from Quezon City, Caloocan, Cavite, Makati, Mandaluyong/Pasig, Muntinlupa, Parañaque, Taguig or just around the vicinity of Manila. Here I’ll just mention some of them and if you don’t find your location here, you can just use this as your reference.

From Quezon City:

Route 1: Jeep

  1. From Cubao, ride a jeep to Lawton/SM City Hall, and get off at Manila City Hall.
  2. Cross the street using the underpass, away from Manila City Hall towards Intramuros.

Route 2: Jeep

  1. From Philcoa, Cubao, Aurora Blvd., or Quezon Ave., ride a jeep to Quiapo, and get off at Quiapo.
  2. Ride a jeep to Pier, and get off at Intramuros. Landmark is Palacio del Gobernador.

Route 3: Jeep

  1. From Philcoa, Cubao, Aurora Blvd., or Quezon Ave., ride a jeep to Quiapo, and get off at Quiapo.
  2. Ride a jeep to Lawton/SM City Hall, and get off at Manila City Hall.
  3. Cross the street using the underpass, away from Manila City Hall towards Intramuros.

Route 4: LRT2-Jeep

  1. Take the LRT2 to Recto terminal station.
  2. Walk through the connecting foot bridge towards LRT1 Doroteo Jose station.
  3. Ride a jeep to Baclaran/Mabini, and get off at Intramuros. Landmarks are Manila City Hall, National Museum, and Philippine Normal University.

From Cavite:

Route 1: Jeep

  1. From Dasmarinas Bayan/Bacoor/ZapoteTalaba, ride a bus/FX to Lawton/SM City Hall, and get off at Manila City Hall.
  2. Cross the street using the underpass, away from Manila City Hall towards Intramuros.

Route 2: Jeep – Bus

  1. Ride a jeepney going to Baclaran and get off at Lydia’s
  2. Ride a bus going to Lawton and get off at Manila City Hall and you can take the underpass to cross the street towards Intramuros.

From Manila:

Route 1: Jeep

  1. From Quiapo, ride a jeep to Pier.
  2. Get off at Intramuros. Landmark is Palacio del Gobernador.

Route 2: Jeep

  1. From Rizal Ave. or Divisoria, ride a jeep to Baclaran/Mabini or Lawton/SM City Hall.
  2. Get off at Intramuros. Landmarks are Manila City Hall, National Museum, and Philippine Normal University.

Route 3: Jeep

  1. From Quiapo, ride a jeep to Lawton/SM City Hall, and get off at Manila City Hall.
  2. Cross the street using the underpass, away from Manila City Hall towards Intramuros.

Route 4: Jeep

  1. From UST-Dapitan/Blumentritt, ride a jeep to Lawton/SM City Hall, and get off at Manila City Hall.
  2. Cross the street using the underpass, away from Manila City Hall towards Intramuros.

*Attached below is LRT 1 and 2 fare matrix for your reference. 

Intramuros to National Museum

You can just ride a tricycle or pedicab going to national museum but you can also just travel by foot.

Route 1: From Intramuros, you can ride a pedicab going to the National Museum, just tell the driver to get you there and pay the fee.

Route 2: From Intramuros, you can cross the street going to the National Museum. You will exit one of the gates and pass by a couple of traffic lights, you can easily see the National Museum.

National Museum to Rizal Park

The Rizal Park  is a three-minute walk away from National Museum. There is a gate close to the National Museum Anthropological Annex going to Rizal Park. From there, you go straight ahead and at the end of the path, to your right, you’ll see The Martyrdom of Dr. Jose Rizal and straight ahead, you’ll see high and mighty Rizal’s Monument guarded by two guards.

Low-cost Journey at its finest

As I’ve mentioned above, this educational journey cost us almost none at all yet we were able to gain a lot from it.

Our first stop was Intramuros – the oldest district and historic core of Manila, Philippines,  also known as the Walled City. The Walled City, was the seat of Spanish colonial rule in the East for almost four hundred years. It was the center of commerce, education, government and religion. Many historical events took place here which makes it a must-visit place in Manila.


There are plenty of attractions and tourist locations here inside Intramuros but we only chose to go to Fort Santiago , Colegio de San Juan de Letran and Manila Cathedral. 

Group picture in front of Colegio de San Juan de Letran

Fort Santiago

The Fortress Gate photo from

Fort Santiago is a citadel first built by Spanish conquistador, Miguel López de Legazpi for the new established city of Manila in the Philippines. The fortress is part of the walled city. The fort was named after Saint James (Santiago in Spanish), the patron saint of Spain. Fort Santiago is one of the most historical places in the Philippines – Dr. Jose Rizal was accosted and detained here and inside his cell, he wrote his final letters to his family and his closest friend Ferdinand Blumentritt, before he was shot to death on December 30, 1896 at Bagumbayan (now known as Luneta or Rizal Park).

Our group wasn’t able to go and explore inside for we didn’t know that there was Php 50.00 entrance fee. It would’ve been nice if we were able to explore more of the fort. I advise you to bring Php 75.00 for entrance fee. Php 50.00 entrance fee is a discounted price for students. By the time of our visit, the fort is under construction but visitors are still welcomed to go inside.

Inside Fort Santiago, you will be able to explore Silid ng Pagninilay (Contemplation Room), Ang Piitan (Prison Cell of Jose Rizal), Bulwagan ng Panulat (Chamber of Text), Silid ng Nalalabi (The Reliquary Room), Ang Tulang Walang-Hanggan (The Valedictory Poem), Rizal Shrine and The Ruins in Fort Santiago.

Colegio de San Juan de Letran

Colegio de San Juan de Letran is a Private Roman Catholic Dominican institution of learning located in Intramuros, Manila, in the Philippines. The college was founded in 1620. Colegio de San Juan de Letran has the distinction of being the oldest college in the Philippines and the oldest secondary institution in Asia. It is owned and administered by the friars of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) of the Philippine Dominican Province.

For his secondary education, Jose Rizal took an entrance examination in Colegio de San Juan de Letran, but his father wanted a Jesuit college so he went to Ateneo de Municipal instead. We passed by the college on our way back so our group decided to took a group picture in front of it.

Intramuros to National Museum

From Intramuros, we went to National Museum next. Gallery V Exhibit of the National Museum of the Fine Arts building pays homage to Dr. Jose Rizal wherein several portraits, busts and paintings of Rizal by eminent Filipino  artists are displayed. A prominent doctor and a writer, Rizal was also a skilled artist. Included in the gallery is his drawing of the view of Gendarmenmarkt from his 1886 visit in Berlin, as well as his sculptures Bust of Ricardo Carnicero, San Pablo Ermitaño, Oyang Dapitana, and Mother’s Revenge – a declared National Cultural Treasure.

Visita de Gendarmenmarkt en Berlin. 1886 Graphite on paper

Left. Bust of Ricardo Carnicero, Top-Right. Oyang Dapitana, Bottom-Right. The Mother’s Revenge

The Mother’s Revenge

The Mother’s Revenge is a clay sculpture by Dr. Jose Rizal in Dapitan, 1894. Rizal was inspired to create the sculpture by an incident that occurred while he was in Dapitan, where he was deported and set up a school, in 1894. Some of his students secretly went to Dapitan in a boat from Talisay and a puppy of Rizal’s dog Syria tried to follow them and was eaten by a crocodile. Rizal scolded the boys, telling them that if they had not gone to town without his permission the puppy would not have died and its mother would have been spared the sorrow of losing an offspring. He further stressed the moral of the incident by making a statuette showing the mother dog killing the crocodile, to avenge her lost puppy. He called this “The Mother’s Revenge.” (source:

Ricardo Carnicero

Don Ricardo Carnicero was the politico-military Governor of Dapitan (1892-1893) during the time when Jose P. Rizal started his life as an exile. The Captain served as Rizal’s warden but eventually became his friend. As evidence of his their friendship, Rizal wrote a poem, “A Don Ricardo Carnicero,” on 26 August 1892, on the occasion of the Captain’s birthday. (source:

Oyang Dapitana

Oyang Dapitana is said to be a nickname for a girl named Leonor, Leonara or Teodora. The woman in the clay sculpture is doing laundry and this woman is said to be either his mother Teodora Alonzo or his former lover Leonor Rivera. (source:

National Museum to Rizal Park

Rizal Park is just a few steps away from National Museum. Rizal Park also known as Luneta Park, was formerly known as Bagumbayan (New Town). It is a historical park adjacent to the walled city. The execution of Dr. Jose P. Rizal and the GomBurZa was done here. For me, the park itself portrays a symbol of peace, courage and freedom.

The Martyrdom of Dr. Jose P. Rizal

This was one of the historical markers in the Luneta Park. It is located in the northwestern part of Rizal Park, near Jose Rizal’s monument.There’s Php 20.00 entrance fee for adults and Php 10.00 for students. The picture below shows the view upfront.


Marker for the execution site

Inside, you will be able to see huge replicas that represents Dr. Jose Rizal’s life and sufferings and you will have a deeper understanding about how our hero sacrifice his life in exchange of our freedom.

My Last Farewell (Mi Ultimo Adios)

Upon entering the site you will see both engraved on the tiles is the “Mi ultimo Adios” and “My Last Farewell” written originally in Spanish by the hero himself at Fort Santiago on the eve prior to his assassination.

My Fatherland ador’d, that sadness to my sorrow lends,
Beloved Filipinas, hear now my last good-by!
I give thee all: parents and kindred and friends;
For I go where no slave before the oppressor bends,
Where faith can never kill, and God reigns e’er on high!

Jose P. Rizal

Rizal’s life in replicas

This part of the site shows Rizal’s life. Included in these replicas is his life as a doctor, a student, a part of La Liga Filipina and the Propaganda Movement and many more.

A Replica of Rizal’s Execution

This part of the site portrays how Jose Rizal was executed on December 30, 1896. There was a firing squad consisting of 30 people, all guns pointed at Rizal. When we saw this part of the site, we were able to deeply understand how great Rizal did for our country. It’s as if we felt like putting ourselves in His shoes at that moment; we couldn’t fathom the courage Rizal had in him. He stood for his countrymen though he knew all along that it would cost him his life.

Rizal’s Monument

The bronze-and-granite Rizal monument is among the most famous sculptural landmarks in the country. Located on the monument is not merely the statue of the national hero, but also his remains Luneta Park was officially renamed Rizal Park in his honor, and the monument enshrining his remains serves as the park’s symbolic focal point. The monument was erected to commemorate the memory of Jose Rizal and what he has contributed to our country.

Rizal’s Monument

Rizal Park was a place rich in stories, sacrifices, love and hope for the nation; we were glad that we were enlightened as we recall the life of our national hero, Dr. Jose P. Rizal.


When we reached our last point of destination, our stomachs’ already growling. There are food carts everywhere inside Luneta, but we chose not to have our meal there, aside from being pricey, the surroundings is too humid and it would be uncomfortable for us to eat. So we decided to go to SM Manila and picked one of the many fastfood restaurants there to dine in. You can go to SM Manila by foot but if you’re legs are too tired at this moment, you can just ride a pedicab going there. There are also a variety of fastfood restaurants inside Intramuros but we weren’t still hungry at that time so we chose not to dine there.

Travel Tips

  • Bring an umbrella, wear sunglasses and sunscreen

It is very hot here in the Philippines, that’s a fact. You wouldn’t want to tan yourself after this mini-trip, would you?

  • Wear comfortable pair of shoes

So as to enjoy the trip and not end up constantly complaining that your feet hurts! Trust me, you’ll thank me for this. (You’re welcome.)

  • Enjoy the view and do not rush

One of the reasons for traveling is for us to feel the view, ambiance and scenery. You won’t be able to do that if you’re in a rush.

  • Bring lots of water with you

As you are walking and walking and walking, you’ll get thirsty from time to time that’s why it would be handy if you have a bottled water with you.

  • Bring a camera

Whether it’s from your phone, or a DSLR camera, make sure to bring one so you would be able to capture scenes, view and people from your trip that really astounded you.

  • Learn from what you see/experience

Your travel would never be in vain most especially if you learned something new from the journey.

To sum it all up..

The table below here shows our group’s itinerary for this mini-trip we had

Travel Itinerary

Time Place Activity
11:00 AM TUP Manila Meet up
12:30 PM Intramuros Roam and wander around, take pictures, learn new things
2:30 PM National Museum Visit Gallery V and other galleries as well
3:30 PM Luneta Park Visit Rizal’s Execution Site and Rizal Monument
4:30 PM SM Manila Grabbed merienda

Travel Expenses

Expenses Amount
Rizal’s Execution Site Entrance Fee Php 60
Food Php 600


Seeing or reading facts from the actual place, actual monument or also hearing them from tour guides would somehow make us experience a particular feeling from retracing footsteps of these historical pictures. Books will provide us with facts and we can just run our imagination through it to visualize but it will not give us the same feeling of imagining the place, the occurrences, when we are in that place where that particular event happened. In fact, lessons stay in our minds best when they are actually seen. Yes, we wont be experiencing the same event that happened long before we were raised but when you are actually in that place, when you walk in those footsteps of a historical character or a hero like Rizal, there is this understanding that we cannot get from just reading those facts on books, on webpages or even in newspapers and magazines. After the trip, I realized that I can learn many things by traveling.

– Cariza Natividad

As a person who rarely goes around Manila, I learned new things in traveling to the places Rizal did. While it has been hundreds of years, I can feel the ambiance of the place as if I was brought back in time. It was such a wonderful experience to me, looking around and viewing the same things Rizal did. We learned from the books about what he did there, but we don’t know what it looks like and now we can imagine how he lives on the places we went into and it’s a wonderful experience

– Pauline Escalona

I’ve been going around Manila quite some time now. In my four years of stay here in the city of Manila, I’ve learned to appreciate the fast-paced environment and the historical sights present in this city. I often find myself visiting these places by my own and in this mini trip we had, I appreciated it more while being with my friends. We were able to bond and have fun together while learning through traveling.

Jannie Joyce Pallera

In my four years of college here in Manila, I never had the chance to go around and explore these historical places we’ve been to in this trip. After the trip, I realized that having fun while studying and learning new things is possible; through traveling it is possible. I’m looking forward to travel and explore more with my friends in the future.

Hannah Eunice Paguio

Traveling is not just a hobby, it helped me learn things i haven’t know before and make me pumped up for an adventure. Our trip makes me learn first hand the history of Rizal itself, and locations known for his connection. This helped me realize that this trip opened my mind for knowledge and ideas. It also helps me to enjoyed the beautiful scenery of Intramuros and creation of Jehovah God.

Adrian Felix

I’m not an outgoing person but after this trip, I realized that there’s more to the comforts of home. I never thought that one can learn new things not only by books but also through other means like traveling. I’ll definitely travel more in the future.

– Martdenzel Rhey Timajo


So, what have we learned?

We belong to those youths who pay little visits on the places mentioned above. We were grateful and we consider our mini trip as an opportunity for us to know that there’s more to Manila than just being the place where our University is located.

It’s always refreshing to know that behind the hustle and bustle of the city, there is a piece of history that we can visit and retrace the steps of our forefathers while looking back on the values and morals they’ve presented us. To us, this is not only a trip that gave us the break that we needed, but it also awakened our hearts, sparked nationalism, and helped us to get in touch with our heritage. Manila holds such rich culture and plays an important role in history, but now the urban jungle has masked the historical events that occurred during its glorious (or not) days . Our books can only take us to a certain depth and understanding, but getting a closer and having more personal visit in these places expanded our understanding, and our thoughts of history is no longer under the confines of our books. Visiting these places validated history (it didn’t need to, but everything felt more real and authentic) and in the back of our minds a voice told us, “Yes, it did happen. It’s not all words in books”.

These artifacts and historical places will continue to remind us that historical events happened and asks us to plant in our hearts that we should always be loyal to our motherland, offer our help when she calls, and continue to tell her story to younglings. Places like these will continue to spur nationalism in our hearts as it did to Dr. Jose Rizal and others who offered their blood, sweat, tears, even their lives to our motherland. Historical places should be taken care of in order for us to tell their stories. We should always remember that these are just not roads, buildings, a street, but these places are pieces of history and it is very important for us to take care for it. While we progress as a country, lest we forget these historical places helped pave the way for democracy and freedom that we now enjoy.

Let us continue to visit and tell the stories so that the future generation can benefit and remember the lessons it upholds!