Intramuros

According to the shirt that I bought on my recent trip to Intramuros, Intramuros was the citadel of Rajah Soliman, the seat of Spanish sovereignty and a city within a city. In Spanish, Intramuros is called a ciudad murada (walled city). The 0.67-km2 Intramuros was built in 1590 in order to protect the seat of Spanish government from foreign invaders. After 82 years of construction and funneling collection from taxes and gambling fines, Intramuros was deemed fit to house the most influential people in the Philippines at the time—the Spanish elite and the mestizos. The 64-hectare area enclosed by the walls must have been a wonderful playground, eclipsing the fantastic mansion of Jay Gatsby.

If one looks at the map of Intramuros, one will notice  that it looks like a slice of pizza (or maybe it is just because I am craving for one now). This irregular shape follows the delineation of the Pasig River. The Spanish officials proceeded with the construction of Intramuros next to the Pasig River because the waterway played a vital role in transportation and commerce and trade.

The money, time and effort put into building Intramuros were not in vain as its 8-foot thick stonewalls were able to withstand attacks from Chinese, Dutch and Portuguese forces. Unfortunately, almost half of the walls were damaged during the Japanese attacks in World War II. Also, most of the edifices were leveled due to the bombings. Only San Agustin Church was able to survive the incessant attacks unscathed.

A day within the confines of Intramuros looks like Throwback Thursday, only grander and centuries farther back in time. Ubiquitous Spanish influence is very present in the remnants of the buildings–in the two-wheeled horse-drawn carriage calesa, the guardia civil that patrol the areas to help the visitors, and the Spanish words that are abundant in every turn.

 

The remains of the Aduana Building

The remains of the Aduana Building

The building in front of Aduana Building

The building in front of Aduana Building

Palacio del Gobernador. Palacio del Gobernador is perpendicular to the Manila Cathedral. It also faces the Plaza de Roma.

Palacio del Gobernador. Palacio del Gobernador is perpendicular to the Manila Cathedral. It also faces the Plaza de Roma.

 

Palacio del Gobernador from the right side

Palacio del Gobernador from the right side

Casa Manila

Casa Manila

An almost empty building in the vicinity of Fort Santiago

An almost empty building in the vicinity of Fort Santiago

On the way to the gate of Fort Santiago, there is a well-maintained park with ample grounds for parties and enough number of benches to rest one’s aching legs. While resting, one can look around at the beautiful red bricks that adorn the area. One of the features I like about the park is its fountain. The soothing sound of water in the middle of a hot day in Manila is music to my ears.

Fountain inside Intramuros

Fountain inside Intramuros

horse

Kalesa (calesa) for hire. Visitors can go around Intramuros in style with these carriages

Kalesa (calesa) for hire. Visitors can go around Intramuros in style with these carriages.

Comfort room signage: dama y caballero

Comfort room signage: damas y caballeros

I might be wrong, but I think this is the entrance to an area that PETA (Philippine Educational Theater Association) used to showcase its works. I remember watching Wowie de Guzman in a PETA play in this area when I was in college. ☺

I might be wrong, but I think this is the entrance to an area where PETA (Philippine Educational Theater Association) used to showcase its works. I remember watching Wowie de Guzman in a PETA play in this area when I was in college.

FORT SANTIAGO

Fort Santiago was built under the leadership of Miguel López de Legazpi in 1571. It stands where Raja Soliman’s settlement was previously located. It was named after the patron saint of Spain, Saint James the Great or Santiago. If one looks at the beautiful gate of Fort Santiago, one can see the image of Santiago.

Fort Santiago is replete with historical importance. It served as the prison of José Rizal just before he was executed in Bagumbayan (now called Rizal Park) in 1896. As one of the oldest fortifications in Manila, it was put to good use by the British during their brief stint in the county and by the Americans during World War II. The Kempeitai (Japanese Army) also used it as chambers of horror where they imprisoned, tortured and executed hundreds of guerillas and civilians.

The gate of Fort Santiago was built in 1714, but was destroyed in the Battle of Manila in 1945. It was restored in 1982. Wood relief carving was made by Wilfredo Layug while the stone carving was done by Zacarias Salonga.

The gate of Fort Santiago was built in 1714 but was destroyed in the Battle of Manila in 1945. It was restored in 1982. The wood relief carving was made by Wilfredo Layug while the stone carving was done by Zacarias Salonga.

The view from inside the gate of Fort Santiago. The steps on the ground are the last steps of Jose Rizal before he met his death.

The view from inside the gate of Fort Santiago. The steps on the ground are the last steps of José Rizal before he met his death.

Retracing Jose Rizal’s steps

Retracing José Rizal’s steps

According to a historical marker, approximately 600 bodies of Filipinos were found inside this dungeon. They were victims of the atrocities perpetrated by the Japanese Imperial forces during the last days of February 1945. This dungeon is found near the Baluarte de Santa Barbara.

According to a historical marker, approximately 600 bodies of Filipinos were found inside this dungeon. They were victims of the atrocities perpetrated by the Japanese Imperial forces during the last days of February 1945. This dungeon is found near Baluarte de Santa Barbara.

The view of the Pasig River and part of Manila as seen from Baluarte de Santa Barbara.

The view of the Pasig River and part of Manila as seen from Baluarte de Santa Barbara.

RIZAL SHRINE

A Rizal Shrine is located in Fort Santiago. For a minimal fee of P10.00 (US $0.22), one can look at the furniture, clothes and books of José Rizal.

The busts of Jose Rizal, outside and inside the Shrine.

The busts of José Rizal, outside and inside the Shrine.

nolimetangere

 

Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo

José Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. My favorite school books in first and second years of high school.

rizalthings

rizalstuffandthangs

The memorabilia of Jose Rizal

The memorabilia of José Rizal

OUTSIDE FORT SANTIAGO

Walking outside Fort Santiago, towards the remaining churches within Intramuros, I encounter the following.

This is for the victims of Battle of Manila in 1945. This continues the pattern of bloody and hapless violence that World War II caused.

This is for the victims of Battle of Manila in 1945 who experienced the pattern of bloody and hapless violence that World War II caused.

This guardia civil gamely posed for photos. ☺

This guardia civil gamely posed for photos. 🙂

The building perpendicular to San Agustin Church where Barbara’s is located. Nice ambience.

The building perpendicular to San Agustin Church where Barbara’s is located. Nice ambience.

More Spanish words at Barbara’s where we had a very late snack

More Spanish words at Barbara’s where we had a very late snack

How to get to there: Take the LRT-1 to Carriedo Station. Board a jeepney going to Pier. Alight from the jeepney once you see Palacio del Gobernador. Turn right and walk for two to three minutes.

How much: The entrance to fee to Intramuros which includes Fort Santiago is P75.00 (US $1.67). Students pay only P50.00 (US $1.11).

2 thoughts on “Intramuros

  1. ¡Que fascinante! Puedo ver que nuestros pueblos tienen historias muy similares. Igualmente la arquitectura es hermosa.

    Me encantan las fotografías.

    Gran artículo, gracias por compartirlo.

  2. Interesante reportaje, muros, murallas, guerras y muertes que conviene recordar para no repetir.

    Saludos desde Shanghai.

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