Intramuros: The Walled City Part I
We’re not wasting any single minute while inside the Walled City, from San Agustin Church we walked down at the stretch of General Luna Street going to Plaza de Roma. Glad that the weather was very cooperating that day and that we were able to stand the walk without much fret at all.
The cobblestoned streets remained as is but it could probably survive another century if cars would not be allowed to enter this site. Take for example Calle Crisologo in Vigan, only caleza are allowed to cross the threshold to conserve the pavement.
Anyhow, I enjoyed the pace as I was entertained by the sight of commercial establishments which remained in classic baroque styles. And yes calezas remained to be a hit for local and foreign tourist at this side of the city.
Along the way, we passed by Plazuela de Sta. Isabel. Probably we have the same feeling of that blogger who wrote a blog post about this monument. It’s one of the least interesting attractions in Intramuros, the reason why we didn’t stop and look around.
Not too long we hit the other end of General Luna where Manila Cathedral stands.
The Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica (also known as the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception and informally as Manila Cathedral) is a prominent Latin Rite Roman Catholic basilica located in Manila, Philippines, honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, the Principal Patroness of the Philippines.
Unfortunately the church was closed to public since February 7 because of a newly discovered structural deficiency. And its temporary closure will last for a year.
On the other side of Plaza Roma is Palacio Del Gobernador. It’s literally became the residence and office of the governor general during the 17th century.
The building now houses government offices and the Intramuros Administration.
Down to our last destination –Fort Santiago, this is located at the northern tip of Intramuros. Actually, when we planned this visit we had only Fort Santiago in mind but given all the Spanish architecture we passed we took the same opportunity to discover more of historic Manila.
Admission Fees is P75 and its open daily from 8:00-6:00pm.
Rizal Shrine schedule
Plaza Moriones –a lush of greens will welcome you upfront; it’s like a promenade with numerous steel benches and trees lined-up surrounding the fountain. I can stay here for long and be idle.
The visitor center can be found at the 10 chambers near the gate, there are also a snack bar and a souvenir shop alongside.
Remnants of the warfare are visible ubiquitously.
Oh no, we didn’t mean to make the kid a cannonball here, he just can’t get over the existence of real cannons in his time. 😀
You can opt to ride a horse and carriage while touring this side of Fort Santiago, they charge P50 per head and if husband heard it right, they will make two rounds at the promenade. We didn’t try it because we’re so prepared to walk. 🙂
A tranvia (old style tram) can also be hired (I guess) if you’re travelling with a bigger group.
At the edge of the promenade, the inner wall of Fort Santiago welcomes you.
Fort Santiago is а citadel first built by Spanish conquistador, Miguel López de Legazpi for the new established city of Manila in the Philippines. The defense fortress is part of the structures of the walled city of Manila referred to as Intramuros (“within the walls”).
The picturesque archway leading to the fort proper, most tourists would stop and have their photo taken here. We did the same! 😛
And the highlight of our visit begins here.
The bronze footsteps on the fort’s ground represent the final steps Dr. Jose Rizal, the National Hero, took from his cell to his execution site on December 29, 1896.
Don’t miss to check this landmark –The Last Walk to Martyrdom.
A scenic garden and a statue of Dr. Jose Rizal (extreme in photo).
The Rizal Shrine is dedicated to the lifework of Dr. José Rizal.
This is a fortified complex which houses the building the Philippines’ national hero spent his last night and where his family later found concealed in an oil lamp, the famous poem Mi Ultimo Adiós (My Last Farewell). The shrine is home to various memorabilia such as the shells he collected in Dapitan, books, manuscripts and artworks belonging to the prodigious and multifaceted Rizal.
I failed to capture the Spanish version of Mi Ultimo Adios but was able to shoot the Chinese version.
Rizal poems and writing were carved on panels this way; it was very inspiring to read significant lines from our National Hero.
His medical tools.
Leoncio while checking a “piece of Rizal” –a piece of Rizal’s vertebra believed to be where the bullet from the firing squad hit him.
On the other room, a manuscript was written on the flooring. It narrates the last day of Dr. Jose Rizal.
From Rizal Shrine’s 2nd floor there’s an exit connecting the old barracks to the Baluarte de Sta. Barbara which houses the Rizaliana Furniture Hall.
A P10 fee is collected here to cover maintenance of the old furniture and furnishings of Rizal and his family.
Also on display are furniture pieces used by the Rizals during their exiled in Hongkong.
Next stop was Baluarte de Santa Barbara, built in 1593, is a stone bastion that forms a part of the Santiago Fort in Manila. It brings back the memories of Second World War where 600 American and Filipinos where killed by the Japanese before their surrender in 1945. Formerly, a storage house of ammunition and arms, it was converted into a prison.
These dungeons are located below the high tide level, so tales of deaths during floods and high-tide are in abundance.
On the other side of the ground is The Rajah Sulayman Theater (Dulaang Rajah Sulayman). It is an open air theater under the grounds of Fort Santiago which was ruins of a former Spanish military barracks. It had served as a highly atmospheric setting for contemporary theater-in-the-round productions by PETA (Philippine Educational Theater Association). It was designed and conceptualized by Guidote. It was named Rajah Sulayman in honor of the leader of the Mohammedan Malays who first inhabited the area.
The rest of the fort you’ll see building ruins and others memoirs of the war.
Once last look at Fort Santiago from the wall –the gate and the moat.
Before our exit to the main gate, we passed by Baluartillo de San Francisco Javier. It is an extended curtain wall that is adjoined by a tunnel that leads to the Reducto de San Francisco Javier, which now enshrines the image of the Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. A mass was offered at 5:30pm that day, though I don’t know if there is a regular mass being offered here.
This is also an entrée to the exclusive golf course. All non-golfers are strictly not allowed in the golf course. 🙂
All in all, the visit at Fort Santiago was worthwhile, you get your history fix here and in a nutshell I was back in the Hispanic time.
P.S. We look forward to visiting more historic places on the days to come, that is if our schedule and budget will allow us to do so all the time.
January and Leoncio 😛