Arts and Culture

Free guided tours to Fort Santiago on Araw ng Maynila

Kathleen A. Llemit - Philstar.com
Free guided tours to Fort Santiago on Araw ng Maynila
This undated photo shows a view of Fort Santiago in Intramuros, Manila.
Department of Tourism / released

MANILA, Philippines — Fort Santiago is one of the Philippines' National Cultural Treasures, a citadel built during the Spanish period, and for history enthusiasts, they will have the chance to tour it on June 24, Araw ng Maynila, for free. 

Inside the Walled City of Manila, or known as Intramuros, Fort Santiago is among the most recognizable features with its stone fort, built in place of the log palisades first built under Rajah Soliman, standing magnificent even from afar. 

Built as a defensive fortress in 1571 by the Spaniards, Fort Santiago houses several significant features that are important events and reminders in the Philippines' history. 

Its strategic location in the heart of Manila and near the stretch of the Pasig River and Manila Bay made it the ideal headquarters not just for the Spanish conquistadors, but also for the succeeding foreign conquerors, the Americans, the British and the Japanese. 

The fort was also used as a holding cell for prisoners of war. National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal was detained in its walls before his execution in Bagumbayan (Luneta) on Dec. 30, 1896. The fort houses the Museo ni Rizal. 

Apart from Rizal, the Wall of Martyrs is also found in the fort. It honors the Filipinos who were imprisoned and tortured during World War II. 

There are more relevant and interesting features of Fort Santiago, and those who would love to know more can see the fort and hear its story for free. 

The Intramuros Administration announced the free guided tours on its Facebook page. The tours will be led by Department of Tourism-accredited guides on Monday, June 24. The morning session is from 8 to 11 a.m., while the afternoon session will be from 12 to 3 p.m. 

For those who are interested to avail of the free tour, they can help Intramuros win as Asia's Leading Tourist Attraction for 2024 at the World Travel Awards 2024. They can vote for Intramuros, get a screenshot of their vote and show it to the tour guide's booth near the fort's entrance. 

Intramuros is up against other popular historic destinations in Asia. These include Angkor Wat (Cambodia), Taj Mahal (India), Borobudur (Indonesia), Tokyo Imperial Palace (Japan) and Victoria Peak (Hong Kong). 

The World Travel Awards (WTA) will hold its Grand Finals on November 24 in Madeira. 

WTA was established in 1993 as an body that recognizes excellence in various fields in the tourism industry. 

RELATED: Intramuros Tourist Center to open on June 12

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