Intramuros is a historically rich destination that has so much to tell about the Philippines’ past. The most recent proof of this was the APEC Spouses tour of the walled city during the APEC Summit in November 2015. In their very short time in the country, Intramuros best showed them the nation’s story and the Filipino’s culture and heritage.
But as interesting as a tour of Intramuros can be, the long walk that it entails—usually under the scorching sun—can dissuade potential visitors.
The good news is, besides riding an iconic kalesa, there are now modern alternatives to explore the walled city, one of which is Navigatour Manila. This is the local edition of the popular Segway Tours found in Paris, San Francisco, the Bahamas, Canada, Singapore, and other international destinations.
Navigatour Manila is a guided 30-minute or one-hour tour of Intramuros where visitors can marvel at the sights while riding two-wheeled personal and green transporters. This unique experience found its way to Manila with the joint efforts of Simply Moving Philippines Inc., (Segway Philippines), Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), Intramuros Administration and with the support of the City Government of Manila.
Locally, Segway Tours are also available in Boracay and a theme park in Laguna. In the future Segway hopes to offer the same service in Subic Bay, Tagaytay, Baguio, Legaspi (Mayon Volcano), Cebu, Palawan, Bohol (Chocolate Hills), Banaue Rice Terraces and Davao, among top Philippine tourist spots.
Sights to see
The smooth segue tour starts inside Club Intramuros Golf Course and will proceed to Intramuros and its famous structures such as Fort Santiago, Manila Cathedral, San Agustin Church, and the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Other tourist spots in Manila such as the Manila Bay and Rizal Park are also included in the tour.
Upon arriving at the golf course’s club house, the first-time Segway riders have to sign waivers and apply for a Segway license, which they can get by watching a safety instructional video and undergoing hands-on training, while wearing safety gears. When returning for a second Segway tour anywhere in the world, the Segway License holders only have to sign waivers.
The initial challenge for first-timers is finding the balance but, since Segway transporters use dynamic stabilization technology—where the center of gravity of your body enables you to move forward, backwards, and 360 degrees on the same spot—getting the hang of it should be really quick.
Once you pass everything, you are good to go out to the practice track and start the real tour.
The Segway Tour has a total of 15 Segway units out on tour, including two tour guides (golf caddies Segway trained to be official tour guides) in front and at the end of the line. Guided Segway Tours are open for groups of one to nine guests accompanied by a tour guide.
All riders will be asked to form a single line with five to eight feet of space between each other. Each unit runs at the safe speed of 20 kilometers per hour and though it has no break system (riders just have to pull back a little to make the Segway stop), the tour guides will be of great help with their hand signals as warning tools for objects on the road or caution to tell riders when to stop and move forward.
Tour guides will of course be considerate and provide enough time at special stops for visitors to appreciate the sites, and take selfies!
To book Navigatour or any of the tour packages, visit www.segway.com.ph.