Viva La Vida Imelda!

As part of my Christmas gift to Mich, I secretly booked a walking tour by the famous Carlos Celdran. I've already heard a lot of good feedbacks from friends who joined his tours. Since we're done exploring Intramuros last year, I decided to just book the Imelda tour. :) Mich still ended up paying for it though coz I spent na all my Holiday money. Haha! She was commenting at first about the price (it's P1k/person for a 2 1/2 hour tour), but I told her to just save the comments for later coz I'm pretty sure it's gonna be worth it. Hello, it's Carlos Celdran--IT IS WORTH IT. So keep on reading to see how fun it was. I will not share everything , you have to go and experience it yourself! :)

After a stressful cab ride (nagpa-gas pa talaga si kuya ng matagal!), we finally got to CCP 10 minutes before the meeting time. No picture taking inside! So we were asked to surrender our cameras at the entrance. Booo. Hehe. I was able to take a few (as in 4 pcs few) photos inside though!

According to Time Magazine, "Celdran offers up rich narratives that are by turns gossipy (his account of Imelda Marcos' rise and fall is hilarious) and compelling (the description of a bombed-out Manila, at the end of World War II, is unforgettable)."

 Me with our tour groupmates waiting for our guide!

How shushal the restroom...

Spent the 5 minute break/prep time looking at nice artsy stuff inside the cafe, while eating broas. Heh.
i want this chair.

And then the tour started! In came the legendary Carlos Celdran in his cute bowler hat and red shoes. Armed with just a lapel, a cassette radio and a binder full of photos, he took us on a wild ride and brought us back from the 1920s to the 1980s. He was actually quite surprised by the volume of people who attended his tour. I think we were around 60+? Mostly foreigners. He started the tour with the mandatory singing of our National Anthem! The last time I sang this was in a movie theater. So it was a nice surprise. :) We then headed to the elevator going up to Silangan Hall for the 1st part of the tour...

 Everyone's glued..his energy was amazing!

I didn't take any more photos after this, but he took us to different locations inside CCP as he unfolded each chapter of Imelda's crazy/colorful/beautiful life. Andaming chismis! Seriously, he told us a lot of things that we still can't get over until now. Join the tour to know what those are!

After an hour, we then headed outside and rode on jeepneys that took us to our next stop-- PICC.
hello sir!

We sat on the steps while waiting for the other tourists:)
infront is the Manila Film Center

Carlos' assistant is so cute!:)

and the storytelling continued...:)

i love it when he imitates Imelda, complete with props and a printed photo of her face. Hehe

We then proceeded inside for more stories!
..stories on how Imelda spearheaded the construction of numerous Arts and Culture center for Filipinos.

Sir Carlos dancing..hehe kyooot

can you spot him dancing? hehe

He discussed the history of the Coconut Palace...and other stuff in between.
secrets about Ferdinand Marcos. you should join to find out. Heh.

Then we transferred to Imelda's party room!:) Love the glass dividers!
Where he shared with us Imelda's charm, love for glitz and skill in negotiating/dealing with different world leaders & personalities--including killed Libyan leader Gadaffi! Interesting!

A theatrical like performance on the fall of Imelda and the Marcoses...
 he discussed the Manila Film Center scandal & tragedy--was it real or another urban legend?:)

He's like the pied piper nga!:) He was playing Filipino songs all throughout the tour!:)
 ...and ang Mich best in participation huh! Ilang beses ako iniwan! Bibo kid lang. Lol.

Carlos singing "Bayan Ko":) with feelings:) okay, we were all singing too. Hehe.

Narrating the fall of the Marcoses and death of Ninoy...plus some interesting information. Juicyyyyy.


And this is where it all ended.. our last stop.. people power of 1986!
The End! 

Summary: The tour is something you must all experience! This has got to be the best tour we've ever been on. Sir Carlos Celdran presented each fact, each story, as fairly as he can and as if he was there. He was theatrical, comical, engaging, entertaining, blunt but still refined, and it really felt like we time traveled! The lessons we tried to learn in school for a year, we learned in one day! :) There were secrets revealed, questions thrown and ideas formed. But best of all, you could really feel by the way he tells each and every story his love for our country and his dedication to inspire if not spearhead positive change. His tour is not just an activity or a history lesson, it is a cultural awakening. In his words (as I vaguely remember), "To my fellow Filipinos in this tour, I hope this inspires you to promote our country coz change starts with us". Amen to that!:)

As for Madame Imelda...
once known as Asia's version of The Kennedys. Bongga

Her life story is quite heartbreaking-- for her as well as for us Filipinos. After all, she was just a girl who dreamed big for herself and for her beloved country. She may come across as a soft-spoken, charming lady who hides behind a pink terno, but she is also tough, persistent and dedicated. Only she can meet with world leaders or personalities and charm them into agreements and she didn't even need her President husband by her side. Did you know that she successfully persuaded the relentless Muammar Gadaffi to stop funding the MNLF? She was sent by Ferdie (yes close haha) to have a chat with Gadaffi to stop the war in Mindanao. And she did that in a pink terno and a Koran (Muslim's bible) in hand. She may have done a lot of things that angers you and me, but she will forever be carved in our history as an advocate of women empowerment and cultural identity. She was not perfect, but we also know that she did everything she can to uplift our country and put the Philippines on the map. I would never forget the countless abuse to human rights during their time, but would it be treason to really feel good knowing once in our lives, in our history, we were progressive, we were respected, admired and on top? Love her or hate her but she's a really tough act to follow. As Carlos said (as I remember), "We should take it upon ourselves to promote our country 'coz noone's gonna do it for us anymore!".

This tour really made me appreciate our country more. Mich and I decided to join his Intramuros tour on Feb!:) Who wants to come? #itsmorefuninthephilippines!


  1. posts like this makes me more proud to be pinoy! :)

  2. This really caught my attention! I have always been fascinated by the life and legacy lead by the Marcoses, though it may have been a dark period for the country :) Buti ka pa Aisa you were able to join this tour! :) Sounds really interesting!

  3. Oh I love Carlos Celdran! Super inspiring siya! :"> I currently study at Intramuros so I can attest that it's truly a beautiful place, madaling ma-appreciate because well-preserved siya. Can't wait for your Intramuros tour, Pax!! ♥


  4. sounds very fun..must try this next time.can't wait to go back.the philippines is AHHHHmaziing!!!

  5. This will be part of my bucket list for 2012...join one of Carlos Celdran's tours! I like the Imelda pics you chose...she really is such a fashionable woman. I really admire her taste in clothing!

  6. I have yet to take this Carlos Celdran tour. Very intriguing. And this post rocks!

  7. this is such inspiring and very informative post Ms. Aisa!!! now, i want to experience it also!!

    czarina :)
    my blog!

  8. excited for out tour! love ko talaga si meldy! lol :P (wow, nag-comment!) HAHAHA

  9. I love what you said towards the last part, Aisa! I really love it when you do "wanderlust-y" and reflective posts. :) Next time I'm in MNL, I'll be signing up for this!

    x Roan

  10. As a fan of yours, this post made me sad and disappointed." She may have done a lot of things that angers you and me, but she will forever be carved in our history as an advocate of women empowerment and cultural identity. She was not perfect, but we also know that she did everything she can to uplift our country and put the Philippines on the map." I can tell you don't know much about what happened during martial law. I know only too well, since my father was among those tortured and killed by the Marcoses. Whatever "good" they have done, surely these are outweighed by their crimes (saying Marcos is a murderer is not a matter of opinion, the Marcoses have been found guilty by the courts for human rights abuses, and millions of pesos of theft). This is like praising a serial murderer for putting up a school even while he is killing and torturing hundreds of people. And before you praise Imelda for "women empowerment," read some of the crimes against women the Marcoses are responsible for: http://members.fortunecity.com/claimants1081/soldiers_rewarded_for_torturin.html

    1. Hi Anonymous,

      There are no words to say that would lessen the pain of your loss. For this, I am sorry.

      As a person who was born after all the horrors of martial law, all we were taught in school was that they were nothing but monsters. I grew up wishing that such a thing would never happen again. A simple search on the web about the Marcoses would surely bring up countless human rights violations. As such, I didn't see the need to reiterate that fact.

      As I grew up and asked about what really happened, I was surprised to learn that my grandparents felt 'safer' during that time. My parents, uncles and aunts were given nutritious snacks in school and they said that they were able to roam the streets without fear from thugs. Mich, who is originally from Zamboanga, said that her family only moved back home when ARMM was formed due to the efforts during the Marcos era. Before that, her grandparents practically had to dodge a lot of bullets. All of these really boggled my mind. You have to understand that I was taught differently in school. We all know about their evilness but that tour introduced me to a different side of them and their story as well. I was only sharing, not revering them.

      I sounded 'optimistic' in my post because I was. All these years (living in a country run by corrupt officials, over and over), I felt hopeless and indifferent, thinking I'd probably die and we'd still be 3rd world. Joining the tour and hearing their stories (the part when our country was 1st world) made me realize (like a switch flipped) that we can be better and can do better. Forgive me if you thought I sounded like I was "praising" them.

      I did not wish to hurt your feelings but I just chose not to dwell on such a negative aspect of our country. I "worshipped" Cory Aquino and then I heard about Hacienda Luisita. Former president Fidel Ramos was the head of the military that carried out the orders during the Marcos era. I also knew of a couple of people who 'disappeared' during Erap's time. I realized that every regime has skeletons, every regime had their share of darkness.

      People will always remember the lives lost but sometimes the loss is so crippling that people will never see anything else. I did not deny the fact that the Marcoses were ruthless but I also recognize that they had their glory days as well. I just wanted to share what most people (like me) don't know about them.

      This post is a simple wish to all my fellow Filipinos to change their view of their own country. Be the change we wish to see in this world.


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