Manilakad tayo!

Have you tried to really explore the area where you live? Have you ever walked around a place to discover nooks and hole-in-wall crannies that you’d never see from your car or a public vehicle? It is rewarding to go on a walking tour because then you can discover secrets while allowing the sights and sounds of a place to linger. It feels great to work up a sweat, get the heart beating a little faster, and use those legs to explore a place up close.

And if it’s a guided walking tour, led by a knowledgeable and creative tour guide, then you’ll get much more — a bit of history, some trivia, little known stories, secrets. Not as big as Walk This Way (by the late Carlos Celdran) or Old Manila Walks is Manilakad, created by licensed tour guide JP Ordoña in 2014. He wanted to customize a more creative walking tour of Manila, with a focus on Ermita and Malate. 

Photos courtesy of JP Ordoña/Manilakad

“Aside from the basic Intramuros and Binondo Walk, I also have a Quiapo, Old Makati, and a Pasig Ferry tour,” Ordoña says. “During Holy Week, I do a ten-church walking Visita Iglesia… my most popular tour is Manila Night Walk because it covers three areas: Quiapo, Intramuros and Binondo.” Manilakad strives to be different from other walking tours as it keeps on developing its tours and evolving its itineraries. For example, born just recently is the Kamuning Walking Tour.

As a member of Advocates for Heritage Preservation (AHP) and a former member of Museum Volunteers of the Philippines (MVP) and Museum Foundation of the Philippines (MFP), Ordoña can be described as “a tour guide who reads a lot, walks a lot, writes a little, and takes photos on the side”. His occupation has been greatly affected by the pandemic but he stayed active on social media to strengthen his network so that he can come back strong as soon as the restrictions are lifted.

A Manilakad tour’s highlights would be its well researched narratives, along with the unique and diverse experiences and surprises that participants will meet along the way. As Ordoña likes to say, “Manilakad tayo!” All you need is “a sharp eye, a curious heart, and an open mind.” For more information, you can find Manilakad on Facebook.