Anyone going to Manila in Philippines will first make it a point to visit the old walled city of Intramuros.This is the heart of Spanish settlers and their families in Philippines.It has withstood many wars ,natural calamities and successful invasions.This walled city suffered great during the world war II.It is on the banks of Pasig River which is being used a main waterways for transportation to the numerous islands in Philippines..
First we went to see the Fort Santiago by walk after paying an entrance fee .We could see old vintage type beautiful Horse carts waiting to take tourists to go around the fort.Children preferred to take the ride in these beautiful horse drawn carriages.This fort was one of the oldest fortifications in Manila built by Spanish in 1571 on the site of native settlement Raja Soliaman .First fort was made of logs and earth.It was destroyed in the Limahong attack in 1574.
Then a stone fort was built between 1589 and 1592 and was damaged in earthquake in 1645.It was then repaired and strengthened between 1658 and 1663.Became the head quarters of British occupation army from 1762 to 1764. It was repaired and renovated in 1768.Then became former headquarters of the Philippine division of U.S Army.
Occupied by the Japanese military in 1942 when hundreds of civilians,Guerrillas were captured .imprisoned, tortured and executed.The Fort was destroyed in the Battle of Manila in 1945.It was declared as a shrine of freedom in 1950.In history served as a fortress against Chinese pirates.
In the battle of Manila Americans successfully destroyed the fortress.Manila government took many initiatives to rebuilt the fortress and make it as a prime Tourist attraction
.We were able to see a big tanker carrying LPG moving across and one can get a good view of the old city with its tall buildings from this point.This water way is being used to its full capacity with its cargo boats moving in and out to cater to the remote Islands in Philippines.
When we went to Manila cathedral it was closed for renovation.This place was the seat of Spanish archbishop of Manila who controlled the entire Philippines Islands.This present structure was completed in 1958 and is the sixth one to occupy in this site.The cathedral is a resting place of former archbishops of Manila.
Next we went to see the UNESCO World Heritage Site of San Augustin Church which was built on the model of churches built by augustinians of Mexico.They used the local Philippines materials and accordingly went for a simple facade.It has a beautifully intricately carved wooden doors at its entrance which is time tested.Inside the church the work of Italian decorative artisans bring the barren plster into life with its intricate details.The religious motiffs create a three dimensional effect on the ceiling.
Next on our walking Tour in the afternoon heat was Puertra De Santa Lucia(walls of Intramuros) which forms one of the several gates passing through the Intramuros walls.Built in 1603 it leads directly to a promenade through a cobblestone bridge.
One can have a close look on thick stone walls and moats that surround the Intramuros walls.In older times Intramuros was Manila where except Spaniards,their servants and half spanish filipinos could enter.It was fortified territory for any one to dare.All other people lived outside Manila.
The Fort was supported by canons which one can see eve now to protect the inmates from Chinese pirates attacks or by the peasants against Spanish rule.At places where the fort has give way one can see the girth and how strongly it has been built.There are places where the bombs have fallen but still the fort was intact.How about you testing the walls for its strength now ?