24 April 2007

Fort Santiago

Fort Santiago is a defense settlement established during the Spanish era. There were also dungeons here, where infidels and rebels were kept and tortured. This place is more popularly known as the place where the national hero Dr. Jose Rizal spent his final moments before facing the firing squad on December 29, 1896.

I found myself in Manila one weekend for work reasons. It's a half-day affair on saturdays, and soon I found myself staring at the office ceiling. Trek buddy Ruben invited me for an afternoon of cultural enlightenment and photography session at Fort Santiago. I have never been to the place. Intramuros, sure, but never Fort Santiago. So we were off to the Fort!

A ticket costs 40 pesos for adults.

Shops line up the entrance, selling paintings and souvenir items.

This "tunnel" leads to the chapel below.

In the heat of the afternoon sun, the chapel was surprisingly cool, with air passageways at the sides of the chapel.

You can just imagine what an imposing fortress this was! It still is. Notice the "line" at the middle of the entrance? This is a set of footsteps preserved in metal. This commemmorates the final steps of Dr. Jose Rizal to meet his fate.

This was also a very cool place. We were quite afraid to go into this cellar / dungeon, our imagination getting the best of us. We tiptoed downstairs. It was completely dark. And cool too. At the bottom of the stairs, we let our cameras flash to light up whatever lay ahead then dashed upstairs. Our cameras revealed a very spacious room. We wondered if this was a windowless dungeon.

Cannons were scattered about the fort. This was indeed food for thought for me, especially after reading Phil's blog on his take about the Spanish occupation of the Philippines. We have such a rich history and culture from the Spanish occupation (how many of us proudly say that we have Spanish blood?), and yet not many people do realize that it wasn't exactly 300 years of love, peace and harmony. This fort, an impressive symbol of Spanish domination at that time, imprisoned Filipino Nationalists, among them one of the greatest Filipinos ever. A thing of beauty with a violent past.

Yet, you realize that it is indeed important to look back and remember your past, for it will forever be part of your present and future.

When you drop by Manila, visiting Fort Santiago should be part of your itinerary. Check out Hotel reservations in Manila for convenient booking.


Saw this in Alternati's blog:

One Day Blog Silence

On April 30, let us all pause in silence for the victims at Virginia Tech, and for the others who fell victim to similar circumstances.
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