It was my last day in the Philippines and my agenda was visiting Intramuros, the oldest district in town. To reach the place, actually we could take Jeepney. But again, I took a taxi, since I was on the mood of getting lost (after last night taxi driver dropped me somewhere in Malate because I forgot to bring my hostel address and for one hour I walked around, could not find the hostel).
The taxi driver stopped in front of San Augustin church, a Roman Catholic church. At that time, the church is under reconstruction and visitors were not allowed to get inside the building. This church is built in Spanish colonial period and named a National Historical Landmark by the Philippine government in 1976 (Wikipedia). I took some pictures of this World Heritage site, along with the view around the building for a while before moving to another spot.
San Agustin church
Fountain in front of the church
As the oldest district, Intramuros is colored by Spanish colonial architecture buildings. The name Intramuros derives from latin language which means “within the city”. In 16th century, Spanish government walled the shores along Manila bay and Pasig river in order to protect from foreign attacks, and Fort Santiago became its guarding area.
Guided by the map on LP, I walked along the street to find out some tourism site listed.
Pasig River view
Next is Fort Santiago, where we can trace the history of Jose Rizal. Before getting back to Manila, I knew this name from the major street in Puerto Princessa, Rizal street. Also in Manila, I can find the street name. I sorted of wondering at the begining, who Rizal is. When I got to Fort Santiago, this question was answered.
Jose Protacio Rizal Mercado y Alonso Realonda or Jose Rizal is one of the Philippines national hero. He was tried before a court-martial for rebellion, sedition and conspiracy and was sentenced to death after forming such civic movements called La Liga Filipina in 1892. This movements advocated moderate social reforms through legal means which was disbanded by Spanish government (Wikipedia).
Arriving at Fort Santiago entrance, I bought one ticket and got inside, where a path away shaded by creeping roots and foliage on its rooftop can be found. Before entering the fort, we are presented by a beautiful, greeny and well arranged garden in front of some old building. Not only fountain, but here we could also see some monk bronze statues inside the garden. If we are tired, they also provide bench in every side.
Rizal’s foot print when being brought to the execution
Inside Fort Santiago, here lies Rizal shrine, a house where Jose Rizal spent his last days before being executed. At the house, we can find his works, including his famous last poem, Mi Ultimo Adios (My Last Farewell) which is not only translated in some languages on the wall, but also written on the floor of a room.
Rizal’s statue and the shrine
Some works written on the wooden wall
If you can notice, there is Rizal mannequin inside the room
Mi Ultimo Adios on the floor
After touring around the fort, I went out and headed to Rizal Park, where the execution took place.Not really far to walk on foot to go to the park, and it even directed me to Malate as well. Along the street, especially in the golf park I passed, I can see also some wall stood still. The heat that day really burned my skin, although the pedestrian street were shaded by trees.
At the Rizal Park, I first visited the open air auditorium, the place where Jose Rizal were executed. Stood here, the diorama of Rizal’s martyrdom. Dozen of soldier statues pointed their gun at Rizal, which shows how the execution happened. Besides, there is also some bronze statues which show Rizal life time.
I then took a few minute rest at the park while enjoying the scenery after getting out of the auditorium. So many tourists walked here and there, both local and foreigner. Here, it’s not only the statues that becomes the sightseeing attraction, the green garden also gives a relaxing sensation. Across the street, we can also visit the Kilometer Zero monument, where Manila is officially measured by distance.
Corazon Aquino statue
Well, old city tour became my last itinerary before leaving the country. That’s it for the entire Philippines trip this year. I really happy to have the additional immigration stamp on my passport while experiencing each unforgettable moment. Thanks to all the people I met during the vacation. Looking forward to having another opportunity to meet up.