Fort Santiago

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Fort Santiago


A defense citadel built for Spanish conquistador, Miguel López de Legazpi, Fort Santiago is part of the structures of the walled city of Intramuros, in Manila.

The site of Fort Santiago was also formerly the site of the fortress and empire of Rajah Suliman, chieftain of Manila of the pre-Spanish era. The fort was ruined by the conquistadors in 1570, during numerous blood-spattering battles with the Muslims and native Tagalogs. The Spaniards finally damaged the local settlements and raised Fuerza de Santiago in 1571.[para0 The first fort was constructed with log structures and soil. The majority of it was damaged in the Spanish-Chinese War of 1574-1575, by intruders of ethnic Chinese pirates who beleaguered the area. The Spaniards fought a gory battle and finally drove the pirates out. In 1589 the fort was constructed with hard rock and completed in 1592. It became the chief citadel for activities and spice business to the Americas and Europe for a period of 333 years.

The fort has 22 feet elevated walls, with a width of 8 feet and a doorway measuring 40 feet tall. It is situated at the entrance of the Pasig Rivera and it was once the leader defense fortress of the Spanish Government in the Philippines. During World War II it was taken over by the Japanese, and continued grave harm from American & Filipino bombs was done to it during the Battle of Manila in February 1945. It was later renovated by the Intramuros Administration during the 1980s and thus today the castle serves as a museum housing well-preserved legacies of the Spanish government like Jose Rizal (which is called the Plaza de Armas), the jail dungeons for criminals used by the Spanish officials and Rizal Shrine.

Best time to visit

One can plan a visit to Manila anytime as the temperature is tropical and good; however, January to May are the best months to visit the place.


Guarding the fundamental entry to the Pasig River, Fort Santiago was formerly the seat of Spanish armed power. Chosen as a Shrine of Freedom in 1950, today it is a commemorative place dedicated to Dr José Rizal, who was locked up here in his final days prior to his execution in 1896 for provocative rebellion against the Spanish colonials. It is also a cenotaph to all Filipinos who fought or died in the struggle for freedom.


The fort is open daily, from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.

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