I finally had a Couchsurfer land in my room, and my parents were equally thrilled to accommodate a foreigner. They started with the usual fussy bottled water issue, based on the premise that all foreigners can't handle the local tap; and ended with booting one of my brothers to another room.

Philippine nomenclature, well, at least my parents' style is baffling. At first, my parents thought that he was Dutch, but when I explained that our guest, Stijn, was from Belgium, they went "Aaah..." Boysen. (Both Dutch Boy and Boysen brands of paint - if he's not Dutch Boy, then, he's Boysen, duh).

Don't let its homely facade deceive you

Anyway, Stijn/Boysen looks like he did enjoy a tour of Manila, as much as I did myself. It was time to road test (so to speak) the spanking brand new Canon 400D I received for my birthday (The only gift I received, taken from my April paycheck, drat).

Its lenses landed first in Intramuros, and towards the UNESCO World Heritage Site of San Agustin Church. That's 3, out of 4 WH Churches in the Philippines I've already visited! The ivory display of carved dolls were impressive, as they were creepy. The actual church was definitely more ornate than what I had expected: its internal furnishings were very 16th century church-like, but the intricate pulpits were probably the first ones I have seen. Also of note would be the crypts, the ruins by the garden, and the choir loft in the second floor.

The lovely details etched out of the vaulted dome

After the churches, and trying (unsuccessfully) to covertly take pictures of guards garbed up in Katipunero costumes, Fort Santiago was the easiest place to take out in the the itinerary. There was a lady manning the artillery warehouse-turned-chapel; she griped about the strange 18-hole golf course embracing the Spanish enclaves (yes, that is pretty strange).

Unintentionally, San Agustin was the namesake of my guest, and how interesting that that was the highlight of our morning. Good thing Saint Augustine didn't have parents like mine did, otherwise, it would be a pretty odd sounding name for a church..

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