Friday, September 12, 2014

Manila: 10 Historical Structures You Should See in Intramuros

Intramuros was the seat of Philippine government during the Spanish Colonial Period. Intramuros is a Latin word which means "within the walls" and it was named so because thick defensive walls were built around the area to protect it from foreign invaders.  Intramuros was heavily damaged during World War II. It was reconstructed in 1951 and presently, this National Historical Monument is being managed by the Intramuros Administration.

Owing to its historical value, Intramuros today is one of Manila's top tourist attractions. There are plenty of heritage structures one can see inside this walled city. Intramuros walking tours are offered for a fee but if you're on a budget, you can easily explore it on your own.

These are the 10 historical structures you should see once you are in Intramuros. The sites are located walking distance to each other and can all be visited within one day:

1. Fort Santiago

A fortress built by Spanish conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi in 1951 on the site of the settlement of Filipino Tribe Ruler Raja Soliman. Fort Santiago is one of the oldest forts in the Philippines and it is where Philippine National Hero Jose Rizal was imprisoned before his execution in 1896. Entrace fee to Fort Santiago is 75 pesos for adults and 50 pesos for students. You can read more about my experience inside Fort Santiago in this POST

2. The Aduana

The ruins of Aduana Building (also known as Intendencia Building) is located at the corner of Muralla Street and Soriano Avenue, fronting BPI Intramuros. It housed the Customs during the Spanish Regime then became Casa Moneda (of House of Mint)  where peso coins are minted. It was repaired after World War II and was occupied by the Central Bank of the Philippines followed by the COMELEC until fire destroyed it in 1979.

3. Plaza Roma

Plaza Roma (also known as Plaza de Roma) is a public square during the Spanish years and is considered as the center of Intramuros. Bullfights and other public events were held here until it was converted into a garden in 1797. At the center of the plaza is a monument of King Charles IV of Spain, built in honor for having sent the first batch of smallpox vaccine to the Philippines.

4. Palacio del Gobernador

A stone throw away from Plaza Roma is the Palacio del Gobernador. The Palacio is the former house of Manuel Estacio de Venegas,  a governor's aide. It was sequestered by the Spanish government and was made as  the official residence and office of the governor generals in 1645. An earthquake destroyed the building in 1863 and was rebuilt only in 1978. Today it houses government offices such as the Intramuros Administration and Land Bank of the Philippines.

5. Manila Cathedral

Fronting Plaza de Roma and a few steps away from Palacio del Gobernador is the Manila Cathedral. Considered as the Mother of All Churches and Cathedral of the Philippines, it was first built in 1581 and has been damaged and rebuilt several times. Its sixth and present incarnation was completed in 1958. Inside the Manila Cathedral are crypts where  former prelates, including Jaime L. Cardinal Sin, who served as the Archdiocese of Manila are buried.  In 2012, the cathedral underwent earthquake retrofitting and subsidence prevention and was reopened to the public only last April 9, 2014. 

6. Bahay Tsinoy

Housed within the Kaisa-Angelo King Heritage Building, Bahay Tsinoy is a museum which documents the contributions and influences of the Chinese community in the lives of Filipinos throughout history. Bahay Tsinoy is located at the corner of Cabildo and Anda Strees and is only one block away from the Manila Cathedral.

7. Memorare Manila

A monument built in the memory of more than a hundred thousand civilians killed during the Battle for the Liberation of Manila between Februry 3 to March 3, 1945. The Battle of Manila was one of the most brutal episodes of World War II. Memorare Manila can be found at the corner of Anda and General Luna Streets, walking distance from Manila Cathedral and Bahay Tsinoy.

8. Plaza San Luis Complex

Plaza San Luis is a recreation of an old barrio inside Intramuros. It is composed of fve houses: Casa Manila, Casa Urdaneta, Casa Blanca, Los Hidalgos and El Hogar Filipino. This cultural and commercial complex houses a museum, gift and specialty shops, cafe and restaurants and a hotel.

9. San Agustin Cathedral

Right across Plaza San Luis is the massive San Agustin Cathedral. It is one of the only four Philippine churches recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the collective title Baroque Churches of the Philippines. It was also named as a National Historical Landmark by the Philippine government in 1976.

10. Cobblestone Streets

You don't have to go to Vigan to experience walking on a cobblestone street. General Luna Street, in-between San Agustin Cathedral and Plaza San Luis, has a short stretch made up of cobblestones which could complete your walk-back-in-time experience. Another short cobblestone portion can also be found within Cabildo Street.

Intramuros Travel Guide

Here's an Intramuros Tourist Map for your reference. The numbers (1 to 10) represent the sites I listed above.

To read my other posts about Intramuros, kindly visit this LINK.

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  1. My favorite place in the metro! Thank you for featuring this.

    1. I stayed inside Intramuros for almost one month last summer. That's why I became familiar with these sights. Thanks for dropping by Mustachio.

  2. Hahaha lapit ko lang dito pero hindi ko pa talaga napasok ang Intramuros bro :) Will definitely set a date na talaga. Thanks for sharing this!

    1. I am sure it will be worth your time sir. :)

  3. After reading your published blog I decided to visit this region. I visited this ancient place before my trip to famous hawaiian landmarks . Plaza San Luis Complex is my favorite place of Intramuros. I must say carry on to share such kind of informative blogs to help the tourists.

  4. I hope to visit Manila again soon!


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