Intramuros Travel Blog› entry 1 of 2 › view all entries
It was a gloomy afternoon in December. All I wanted was some sense of history. I wanted to know how it was then when i first got into the city and and how it was now after many years.
The 160-acre Walled City is home to several universities of Manila (Letran, Mapua, Lyceum and PLM). The famous parian served not only as a passing place for students but a perfect hangout area to while away time. Some parian location had been converted to canteens selling student lunches and snacks. The ambience within the area is still pretty much different from outside.
For 333 years of Spanish presence in the Philippines, their influence are still evident in structural designs of houses, buildings and churches within Intrumuros itself.
No one can miss the grandness of Manila Cathedral which is located at the very center of Intramuros while San Agustin Church is the oldest stone church in the Philippines worth a visit. UNESCO listed it as World Heritage, one of the four Baroque Churches in the Philippines.
But for me, Intramuros has always been a reminder of Fort Santiago. My first visit was when I was a child. Going there was limited to some kind of an extra curricular school activity.
There is an air of gorriness inside Fort Santiago. Many people were brutally tortured and executed in this fort. Another reason it became infamous was the imprisonment of national hero, Jose Rizal. There, Rizal spent his last days before his execution in 1896 .
But once again, I was quietly observing inside the museum. I saw his clothings, sunglasses, books. I looked at his life-size seated statue imaging how it was during his time of repressed freedom and national idealism. Before heading out, reading the renowned Mi Ultimo Adios on the wall was sure to give a different kind of chills up to anyone's nationalistic spines.
Not much has changed since. You could still see through any Filipino eyes the determination to weather the non-stop,ever-present tough economic times served daily by one administration after another.
An afternoon spent in Fort Santiago gives a bit of an insight of the Philippine history under Spanish colonial rule and a closer look at patriotism and political convictions, then and now.
The fortress and whole area surrounding Intramuros, can be visited in a day.