This solid stone structure has an Italian-Spanish architectural style and was built in the 16th century. Miguel Lopez de Legaspi built this citadel for the newly established Manila City and named after Spain's patron saint St. James the Great. It is also known as Fuerza de Santiago in Spanish or Moog ng Santiago in Tagalog.
Moreover not only weapons were stored here, this place was also a detention facility during the Spanish occupation and World War II. This bastille is part of the walled city - Intramuros.
This is one of the country's national historic landmarks. Several important historical events took place on this very spot such as the defeat of Rajah Sulayman by the Spaniards, the invasion of the Chinese led by Limahong, and the first raising of the US flag that declared the beginning of American rule. After WWII, the fort was declared a ‘Freedom Shrine’.
Fort Santiago Highlights
By the Pasig River and the Plaza de Armas, it makes an ideal spot for family picnics and other open air activities.
The Fort served as a prison for Philippines' national hero Jose Rizal before his execution in 1896. Rizal Shrine museum was set up to display related memorabilia and to honour this great man. To commemorate the final walk from his cell to the firing squad his footsteps have been embedded onto the ground in bronze.
Another feature worth noticing here is a white cross that commemorates the bravery of freedom fighters who were imprisoned in the dungeons here. Many have claimed there are underground passages leading to chambers that would be able to reveal more historical facts but as of today no one knows how to uncover these secret passageways.
This structure is a great source of history and showcases historical remains such cannons, ammunition, soldiers' quarters, a canal and other historical memorabilia. Modern attractions like theatre houses, restaurants, souvenir shops and food & drink stands have been added to cater to tourists’ needs. Nearby the park are other places of interest: Rizal Park, Manila Baywalk and Our Lady of Guadalupe shrine. Surprisingly enough, this place is surrounded by a golf course called Club Intramuros.
- Opening Hours: Every day from 08:00 to 18:00
- Location: Santa Clara Street, Intramuros, Manila
- How to get there: From Intramuros take the LRT and then get off at the United Nations Station or take a jeepney (always inform the driver that you are going to Fort Bonifacio).