Intramuros – The Walled City of Manila

Nestled within the modern city of Manila is “Intramuros” (within the walls) which was the original city of Manila.  Wikipedia has an excellent historical background of this amazing historical center. Built by the Spanish, the defensive walls started construction in late 1600’s to protect against foreign invasions.   During World War II it was the command center for Japanese forces after the invasion of the Philippines.  Most of Intramuros was destroyed in World War II during the Liberation by Allied (American) forces.  After 1950, much of Intramuros was restored or rebuilt, but the vestiges and scars of ware still remain.

The main gate to Fort Santiago (click photo for a larger image

Fountain Gardens near the entry to Fort Santiago.
Ruins, previously used as prisons or holding cells.
A depiction of  Jose Rizal, Filipino statesman, hero and martyr.
Th night before his execution by the Spanish.

Per Wikipedia: “José Protasio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda (June 19, 1861 – December 30, 1896) was a Filipino nationalist, novelist, poet, ophthalmologist, journalist, and revolutionary. He is widely considered one of the greatest heroes of the Philippines.[6] He was the author of Noli Me Tángere,[7] El Filibusterismo,[8] and a number of poems and essays. He was executed on December 30, 1896, by a squad of Filipino soldiers of the Spanish Army.[9][10] While executed as a revolutionary, he actually opposed any form of armed resistance and instead sought change through negotiation and diplomacy. His execution however triggered widespread armed revolution against the Spanish Occupation.

One of the many various types of Kalista or carts used to provide tours of intramuros to visitors.   Self-guided tours, pedicabs and other independent tour providers are also available.
Metropolitanong Katedral Basílika ng Maynilà commonly referred to simply as the Manila Cathedral, center of the Catholic Church in the Philippines is located within Intramuros.
Interior of the Manila Cathedral.
The Church of Saint Augustine.   The third of three churches built on this location, construction on this church began in 1586 but wasn’t completed until 1607.   It is the only structure that remained mostly undamaged during the battles of WWII and the liberation of the Philippines.  Note though the ‘left tower” as viewed in this image is missing.  It was damaged by earthquake in 1880 and then removed rather then replaced.  During WWII and the Japanese occupation it was used as a “concentration camp” by the Japanese.
Main Entry of the Church of St Augustine.
The interior of the Saint Augustine church from just outside the entry way.  The church is in active use at all times and many Filipinos come to pray on a regular basis.   Cameras and “tourists” are not allowed inside.  However there is an excellent museum next door in what was once a monastery and convent.
Entry into one of the many beautiful gardens.
One of many courtyard gardens
One of the Spanish “Cobblestone” streets in Intramuros.
The remains of part of General McArthur’s Headquarters in Intramuros.
The final holding cell for Jose Rizal in Fort Santiago prior to his execution. The copper footprints show the path Jose Rizal walked out of Fort towards Bagumbayan Field.

From Death of Jose Rizal
“At 8:00 PM of the December 29, Jose Rizal had his last supper and informed Captain Dominguez that he had forgiven his enemies including the military judges that condemned him to die. Rizal heard mass at 3:00 in the morning of December 30, 1896, had confession before taking the Holy Communion. He took his last breakfast at 5:30 AM of December 30, 1896 and even had the time to write two letters one for his family while the other letter was for his brother Paciano. This was also the time when his wife, Josephine Bracken and his sister Josefa arrived and bade farewell to Rizal.

Rizal who was dressed in a black suit was a few meters behind his advance guards while moving to his slaughter place and was accompanied by Lt. Luis Taviel de Andrade, two Jesuit priests and more soldiers behind him. The atmosphere was just like any execution by musketry by which the sound of the drums occupied the air. Rizal looked at the sky while walking and mentioned how beautiful that day was.

Rizal was told to stand on a grassy lawn between two lam posts in the Bagumbayan field, looking towards the Manila Bay. He requested the firing squad commander to shoot him facing the firing squad but was ordered to turn his back against the squad of Filipino soldiers of the Spanish army. A backup force of regular Spanish Army troops were on standby to shoot the Filipino executioners should they fail to obey the orders of the commander.

Jose Rizal’s death was carried out when the command “Fuego” was heard and Rizal made an effort to face the firing squad but his bullet riddled body turned to the right and his face directed to the morning sun. Rizal exactly died at 7:03 AM and his last words before he died were those said by Jesus Christ: “consummatum est” which means it is finished.”

Fountain gardens outside of entrance to Fort Santiago.
A memorial to the more then 100,000 Filipinos who died either at the hands of the Japanese or as a result of US military fire, during the liberation of Manila.
Stone fountain in an Intramuros garden.
Old Spanish Canon
Wall of Canons along one wall.
My pedicab driver, Fernando, who drove me around Intramuros part of the time.  He has been a pedicab driver for 5 years, since his first year in high School.  Fernando and his family were born and grew up within the walls of Intramuros.  His dream is to go to school to learn electronics so he can get a job to make enough money to go to pilot’s school  He wants to become a commercial aircraft pilot and travel the world.

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