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I love to travel just to explore new things in life from breathtaking natural wonders, interesting historical sites, delicious food, friendly people and colorful culture. I treasure every moment in traveling by writing in my journal, taking photos and publish it in my travel blog.
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Friday, November 2, 2012

A Walk in the Historical Fortress



In the heart of Manila's oldest district, there is a fortress that was strengthened by history. You will take a walk in a clean and green park where you can see carriages (calesa in Tagalog term) which is the mode of transportation during the Spanish period. Then, you will make it to the bricked moat filled with water lilies and an old facade where history awaits as you enter the old fortress, Fort Santiago.

Located in the mouth of Pasig River in Intramuros, Fort Santiago is one of the most visited parks and historical sites in Metro Manila. The entrance fee is worth P50.00 for students and P75.00 for tourists. If you want to experience to ride in a calesa, you can pay P20.00 for children or students, P50.00 for tourists and P300.00 for Intramuros tour. 
Fort Santiago moat

Fort Santiago facade
Historical Background
Fort Santiago is the location where Rajah Sulayman, a Muslim chieftain of pre-Hispanic Manila. It was palisaded fort with bronze guns during the ancient period. It was destroyed by Martin de Goiti who fought with the natives in 1570. The Spaniards started building Fuerza de Santiago (Fort Santiago) in 1571 after the establishment of City of Manila which made as the capital of our country. The construction of Fort Santiago was accomplished from 1590 to 1593 headed by Governor General Gomez Perez de Dasmarinas and the gate was built in 1714. During the American period, the citadel served as headquarters of the U.S. Navy. It was destroyed during the Battle of Manila in 1945. Today, the 16th century military defense structure is one of the most visited parks and historical sites in Manila.

Following the Footsteps to a Historical Walk
The footsteps of our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal.
As I entered the gate of the historical citadel, I noticed the metal footsteps which lead you to a journey which reflects our colorful past. These steps represent the footprints of Dr. Jose Rizal as he walked to Bagumbayan for his execution in 1896.
The memorial cross of Fort Santiago for the victims of World War II.
I followed the footsteps and it lead me to another place which is the Memorial Cross. This site marked the resting place of 600 Filipinos and Americans who were victims of atrocities during the last days of February 1945. They suffered from starvation and suffocation on dungeons. Near in the memorial cross are the dungeons or underground prisons where it is formerly a battery of weapons. 
Dungeon
The skyline view of Manila from Baluarte de Santa Barbara located at the mouth of Pasig River.
Then I went upstairs to go in the stone bastion called Baluarte de Santa Barbara. Built in 1593, it formed a part of the Fort Santiago and it commemorated the memories of the Second World War in Manila. 
The prison cell of Dr. Jose Rizal in Fort Santiago.
I also visited the Rizal Shrine where the prison cell of Dr. Jose Rizal was located in this area. In addition, the poems "Mi Ultimo Adios" (Last Farewell) and "Sa Kabataang Pilipino" (To The Filipino Youth) in different languages are posted in the museum as well with the different pictures and the objects he used during his lifetime.

Other Photos from Fort Santiago
A ruined brick building which is considered as the oldest building in Fort Santiago.
Media Naranja, located near in Baluarte de Santa Barbara
The ruined buildings.
Therefore, my visit in Fort Santiago helped me to reflect in our colorful past. In addition, this place served as a witness of our history from the establishment of Rajah Sulayman's kingdom in the pre-colonial times to the fortification of this citadel as a military defense site during the Spanish period. Today, it is one of the most visited historical sites among Filipino and foreign tourists. 

Date of Travel: February 12, 2012

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