Wednesday, April 28, 2010

invitation to free postal heritage tour

about a month ago, i received an email with the subject "invitation to free postal heritage tour" from a guy named lawrence. the word "free" instantly caught my attention, although i was a little skeptical. nothing's free in manila, right?
so i emailed him back and asked him if by any chance his email was a missent or worse, a spam. he replied and said that he was actually browsing my blog and that he really intended to invite me and my group for a free tour in manila.  i was so thrilled to hear about it that i've asked him to give me time to gather a small group to come to his tour. not wasting any time, i've invited a couple of my correspondents to come with me, then they've asked their friends to come with us. i've also invited some old workmates, and they've told their friends about that, too. soon enough, our small group of 5 became 30. three weeks after, we're driving ourselves to manila for the free tour.
lawrence chan is the vice president of the filipinas stamp collectors club, the very same organization that is providing the tours for free. they've been conducting this free tour for the past 12 years and surprisingly, not many people know about it. do you even know that there is a postal museum library within the manila post office's compound? that is included in the tour that they're giving.  tours are held during the 3rd sunday of the month and it is always led by lawrence himself.  free refreshments and handouts are also given to his guests.  to register and for other info about the tour, email him at or email him at

meeting place was at the liwasang bonifacio, fountain area, right in front of the manila post office at 12:30pm.  we were a few minutes late and there was a large crowd, around fifty people, gathered waiting for the tour to start.  lawrence instantly recognized me among the crowd and approached me.  his firm handshake gave me a warm feeling that we were expected and welcomed.  he immediately introduced me and my group to everyone.  i was quite embarrassed that i had to make a short speech and introduction to our team.  the air was humid and the sun was unbearably hot.  we had to avoid the harmful rays of the sun, so we've decided to start the tour by visiting the postal museum and philatelic library.  it is where you will see a good and quite impressive collection of very old stamps.  it is also a place for trading and selling stamps.  thank goodness that there's a small air-conditioned room in that building.  on a very hot afternoon like that, you just have to love aircon.

our kind tour guide took us to the insides of the postal office which i had featured in biyaheng pinoy in 2006.  it was a little dark because the doors were closed, although the lights were coming in through the big windows.  the ceiling was unbelievably high and beyond reach.  it could have been inspired by roman structures. it was a quick tour of the postal office then we headed our way out of the building.

interesting places we've also highlighted during the tour were the teatro alfonso xii (now known as the metropolitan theater), aduana ruins, puerta isabel 2 gate and monument, plaza mexico, plaza roma, the manila cathedral, and bahay tsinoy.  click here to see more photos of the tour.

it was long afternoon and we were all sweating like a herd of pigs.  nevertheless, it was a fun afternoon filled with historical knowledge all given for free.  we would like to thank lawrence chan and the filipinas stamp collectors club for the wonderful tour.  to diane portugal, don tapitan, sonny martizano, greg quimpo, mark maquimay, christopher paloma, and their friends, thank you for coming with us.  it was a very successful tour.


palma tayona said...

very interesting. hmmm, they do this every month eh?

Biyaheng Pinoy said...

Yes Daniel, they do. In fact, they have a scheduled tour on May 16. You may contact Lawrence Chan to register. Please encourage your friends to join the tour. :)

Mari said...

What an interesting tour, and for free. I will try to remember that day--3rd Sunday of the month--so that in case I happen to visit Manila, I can join the tour.

Thanks for visiting and posting a comment on my blog. I'll put you on my blog link, if you don't mind.

Biyaheng Pinoy said...

Thanks for the comment Mari. Yes, tour's free. You just register prior to the tour date. I've mentioned Lawrence Chan's email address in my post. Thank you for linking my blog.