It is best to visit a place when it’s down. What better time to support businesses and the people it employs during a time of need. So I guess it is apt time to write about the typical tourist destinations of Manila.
I hadn’t been to Fort Santiago since I was a kid. I just remember it was big, hot, and had old presidential cars on display. That’s it. Recently, I had some friends come over to the Philippines, and so I thought why not show them Intramuros, or at least the fort part.
Fort Santiago was built on the same site of the original city of Maynila (named after a plant that grew there) which was populated by Taga-ilogs (from the river). It’s historical significance in our national history is that our most famous hero, Jose Rizal, was imprisoned there before he was executed in nearby Luneta park. In here you will find his prison cell, final footsteps, and other things related to Rizal.
One thing you should know about our founding fathers is that we had three of them. Rizal, was the peacemaker, he wrote his books, Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, not to secede from Spain, but just to ask for reform. Andres Bonifacio, who the Fort in Taguig is named after, started the milaristic Katipuan, which aimed for secession, but wasn’t successful until it was joined by another member, Emilio Aguinaldo, who was more adept at military tactics. It is an unfortunate foonote in our history that Aguinaldo had Bonifacio executed in their competition for the leadership of the Katipunan and the presidency of the Philippines. Aguinaldo declared our independence day on June 12, 1898, in nearby Kawit, Cavite, but the Americans didn’t actually let us free until July 4, 1946.
Anyway, back to the Fort. It costs 75 pesos to get in, and like I said earlier, you will see replicas of the books Rizal wrote, his sculptures, personal belongings, etc. You will also see the last poem he wrote, that he was able to smuggle out to his mother in a little oil lamp.
All of this information may be moot, if you aren’t a nationalist or much less even if you’re not a Filipino, but in the end, I guess it would just be nice to know if you are just visiting our country.