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Timings : Tuesday to Sunday: 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM and 1:00 PM - 6:00 PM, Mondays: 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Time Required : 1 - 2 hrs

Entry Fee : Adults - PHP 65, Kids - PHP 50

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Fort Santiago, Manila Overview

Situated within the walled city of Intramuros in Metro Manila, Philippines, Fort Santiago is a magnificent citadel constructed on the banks of the River Pasig just off Manila Bay. Originally built by Spanish navigator and governor Miguel López de Legazpi as a defense fortress, the complex has now transformed into one of the most popular tourist attractions of the city boasting of well manicured gardens, lily ponds, glittering fountains, sturdy plazas and the like.

The highlight of Fort Santiago is the Rizal Shrine Museum which houses memorabilia and relics Jose Rizal - the Filipino nationalist and freedom fighter. The historical site is a popular picnic spot and is also used for scenic walks. Aside from that, the impressive Italian - Spanish style architecture attracts not just history buffs but also regular tourists.

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Highlights at Fort Santiago

  1. Plaza Moriones

    Plaza Moriones is the large square park that is also the area where  you can find the tickets to Fort Santiago. Earlier it was a public square before it was fenced off and developed into a plaza in 1854 following an earthquake. It also houses a statuary of historical figures, Filipino monks and soldiers.
  2. Gate of Fort Santiago

    There is a moat from Plaza Moriones to the Fort Santiago where you will come across the magnificent gate. The beautiful gate is ornately carved and bears the seal of Spain. There is also a relief sculpture of Saint James aka Santiago Matamoros- the patron saint of Spain.
  3. Plaza de Armas

    Plaza de Armas is the central plaza in the complex which is surrounded by the ruins of barracks and storehouses from the ancient times. Originally it was the nerve centre of the Spanish military but now it has been converted into a plaza that has been dedicated to the Filipino hero- Jose Rizal. There is also a magnificent statue of the same person installed in the heart of the plaza. Most structures are mostly in ruins, however, the main one is the Rizal Shrine i.e. a museum that chronicles the life and times of Jose Rizal.
  4. Rizal Shrine

    Jose Rizal was held captive at the Plaza de Armas and here he was sentenced to death for conspiring against the Spanish. From here he was marched to the Rizal Park where he was executed. The spot has been marked by a series of bronze footprints of the aforementioned hero that have been embedded here. The place of the origin of the footprints have been transformed into the Rizal Shrine. A series of rooms in the shrine is a reminder of the life and times of Jose Rizal. The repository contains a whole lot of memorabilia from his early life to his martyrdom.
  5. Bateria de Santa Barbara

    Bateria de Santa Barbara is situated at the extreme northwest part of the complex and overlooks the River Pasig. The Falsabraga de Media Naranja is a semicircular promenade that extends into the water and is a favourite spot of the tourists. In the ancient days, the bastion was used as a dungeon where Jose Rizal was captured. Aside from him, several other soldiers were also captured and tortured here by the hands of the Japanese during Philippine colonisation by Japan.

History of Fort Santiago

Fort Santiago was built in the late 1500s by the Spanish colonizers as defense base for their army. Later, the fort became infamous as the Filipino national hero, nationalist and freedom fighter was captured here and was sentenced to death before being executed at the Rizal Park. Not just this, the Japanese also captivated hundreds of soldiers in the dungeons, tortured them and massacred them during their short occupation of Manila in 1940s. Some time later, the fort was again captured by the Americans and it was almost completely destroyed during World War II. 

After the war, Fort Santiago remained neglected and unattended that became a reason of its further dilapidation. However, sometime during 1953, the Filipino government started the restoration of the fort under National Parks Development Committee and ever since it has regained its state and stature. And it has become one of the most popular tourist spots in the city.

How to Reach

Situated on the Santa Clara Street along the River Pasig in Metro Manila, Fort Santiago can be reached easily through public transport. Although the most convenient way to reach the fort is through one of the tours, however, you can take the LRT Central Station. From here, it is just a short walk to the fort. Or reach Carriedo Station and take a jeepney bound for Mabini and get off at the gate of the Fort itself.

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