The golden hour light lends a romantic – almost ethereal – vibe to Intramuros. The main roads are busy as usual, but the alleyways and baluartes are empty except for a few students and couples. Intramuros (literally “within the walls”) was built in 1751 as the ruling enclave of the Spaniards and the seat of government of the Philippines. Its pentagon-shaped fortress at the southern bank of the Pasig River was a whole city in itself, containing government offices, banks, and schools. It’s a perfect souvenir of Spanish rule in Asia. The place was virtually flattened out in the second World War and while a tour around here still evokes a strong sense of history, there’s a sense of frustration from the lack of proper development, which the current administration tries to address.

In the northern entrance of Intramuros, facing the Pasig River, stands Fort Santiago, the defense fortress built by the Spaniards. The place stood witness to various historical landmarks, most notably as the site where Dr. Jose Rizal was imprisoned shortly before his execution. The building where the national hero was kept is now a museum showing his various memorabilia, as well as other displays showing his cell and his courtroom trial. Surrounding the building are gardens, fountains and crumbling walls that provide much of the place’s character.

Modeled by Maebel Chan


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