samreshwas absolutely blown away by Carlos Celdran's tour. Definitely was the highlight of my trip (and yes, i was in Boracray for a few days). I am a novice history buff and was wanted to know the history of Manila/Phillipines. Tried reading about it in Lonely Planet, but not the same. Carlos's tour was very informative, entertaining and emotional. I would DEFINITELY recommend taking his tour. The guy is hilarous and clearly takes his history and culture seriously.The only issue is getting a taxi back home. A bit hard to find and as his tour ends at dusk, the area get a bit shady, so try to arrange for someone to pick you up - just in case.
samreshI went to visit Fort Santiago because I was in the old town and it was ranked so highly on TripAdvisor. It was 75 pesos to enter and all I saw was construction work being done. You can only walk down one main path which is also littered with horse carts asking to give you a 'tour'. When you finally reach the top part of the fort... It's drenched in this awful smell from the nearby polluted river. Definitely a pass until they can clean it up.
samreshThe original cathedral of Manila was comprehensively destroyed during WWII. The current cathedral was built after the war to replace it, but obviously couldn't be expected to be of the same build-quality. It's nice enough, but just doesn't have that same colonial aura to it.