Intramuros was coined as the Walled City as the Spanish term literally translates to "within the walls". It housed the seat of government back in the days when the Philippines was still under Spanish rule. One of its most notable structures was Fort Santiago or the Fuerte de Santiago. Located at the mouth of the Pasig River, Fort Santiago served as a citadel and defense fortress for the then newly established city of Manila. It was built by Spanish conquistador Miguel López de Legazpi and is considered one of the most important historical sites in the country. Today, it serves as one of the most popular tourist spots in the Philippines with beautifully manicured gardens, picnic tables and benches to lounge on and eat as well as a museum dedicated to the national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal.
“A wooden relief sculpture portraying Saint James slaying Moorish enemies, decorates the fort’s main gate. The symbol below it is the symbol of Spain. It is not how it originally looked like. During renovation someone removed the six pointed star that is related to the story of St. James."The fort was named after Saint James the Great (Santiago in Spanish), the patron saint of Spain.
Inside Fort Santiago is the Jose Rizal Museum which displays a huge collection of memorabilia of the hero, his works and other historical items. I have been to many museums in Cebu but nothing quite compares to the manner in which this museum was built, conceptualized and maintained. There were mannequins that portrayed Rizal's life accompanied by adequate music, lighting and informational tags. (Sadly, I don't have good photographs of those because my camera does not do well in low lighting.) Plus points for the consistent air conditioning units that sucked out the intense summer heat and humidity.
Mi Último Adiós (My Last Farewell) is a poem written by Rizal on the eve of his execution by firing squad on December 30, 1896. The alcohol stove pictured above was given by the Pardo de Tavera family to him which he used throughout his imprisonment. Here, he carefully hid Mi Último Adiós later to be found by his family. It is one of the last notes he wrote before his execution. The other one was hidden in his shoe but because the text was illegible, its contents remain a mystery until today.
A relic of Rizal's vertebra where the fatal bullet struck him.
One of Rizal's works etched on an entire wall! I wonder how long it took to finish this.
Fort Santiago and the Jose Rizal Museum is located in Intramuros, Manila. They are open on Mondays to Fridays from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Click here for map and directions! Entrance fee costs ₱75.00 for adults and ₱30.00 for students. Bring your ID to claim the discount.
More of Out and About Manila:
Part 1: The Binondo Church
Part 2: Manila Chinatown