Fort Santiago – Manila

Fort Santiago Entrance
Fort Santiago Entrance

Fort Santiago was the defense fortress of Intramuros in the old walled part of Manila. Part of the fort served as a prison, and its most famous prisoner was Jose Rizal, who was a prominent Filipino figure who advocated reform while still a Spanish colony.

Rizal Shrine

Rizal was eventually executed within the walls of Fort Santiago. The Rizal shrine is located within a small park area of the Fort Santiago complex.

Fort Santiago began construction after coming under Spanish rule in 1571.

The Philippines remained under Spanish rule until 1762, when it came under British rule.

The Philippines then came under American rule in 1898.

Fort Santiago was captured by the Japanese during World War II, and served as a prison in which more than 600 people died. Prisoners were held in very close quarters. The dungeons are also located below sea level. When the Pasig River, which borders Fort Santiago, overflowed, prisoners would drown.

Part of Fort Santiago was under renovation during my visit. From the looks of it, a large part is under renovation.

Fort Santiago is one of the major sites in Manila, and definitely worth a visit.


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