I’ve Been to Manila Series

Wondering what to do over the weekend? How about having a walking tour in Intramuros and Fort Santiago to relive the historical highlights of the Spanish-time Manila?

Intramuros and Fort Santiago are easily accessible via taxi, jeepney, or LRT. From Espana Boulevard, you can take a jeepney plying the Pier route and get off at the road in front of Manila Cathedral. From there, you’re just a few steps to Fort Santiago. If you’re taking the train, you can get off at the Central station of the LRT and get a cab.

The Walled City
The busy and prosperous Manila that many see today was a riverside settlement ruled by chieftains in the early 1500s. Known as Maynilad, the place was a melting pot of Asian culture and a trading Mecca for Chinese, Indian, Malays, and Indonesian businessmen. When the Spaniards took over the village in 1521, stone walls were constructed to protect the city from invaders. Within its walls rose a city of churches, monasteries, convents, schools, and courtyard houses. Intramuros, the walled city , was born and became the seat of government for many years.

The Citadel
Among the main attractions in Intramuros is Fort Santiago, the military headquarters of the Spanish colonial government. Built in 1571, the fortress also served as protection against Chinese pirates, a prison for Spanish-era political prisoners, and a Japanese torture chamber in World War II. The fort sustained heavy damage during the Battle of Manila in 1945. Major reconstruction effort was able to restore key portions of the original Fort Santiago, including its iconic gate with a wooden relief featuring Santiago Matamoros (St. James the Moor-slayer), the patron saint of Spain.

Fort Santiago is also the home of The Rizal Shrine, a small museum dedicated to the life and work of Jose Rizal, the Philippine national hero who was imprisoned here prior to his execution on December 30, 1896.

Santa Clara Street, Intramuros, Manila
Contact Number: +632.527.1572
Admission fee: P40, adult; P15, students

* Photos taken with Cherry Mobile Flare.


ArisMape is a travel insider at ABS-CBN's Choose Philippines. He loves orange, halo-halo, and PowerPoint, and hates beef, slow internet, and long taxi lines. His pastime is watching people watch other people. He swears on the power of smartphone. His half-life? Thirty.