Just a short walk from the imposing Manila Cathedral of Intramuros is a black, wrought iron gate leading to a beautiful plaza with tall trees, well-kept shrubs, blooming flowers, ornamental fountains, and a tranquil moat. A few steps further, you'll see a massive, grey stone wall, one that shows signs of age yet still forbidding. At its center is a towering arch with some of its once ornate elements in ruins. It is the entrance to a place that was feared by the locals for hundreds of years. It is the Real Fuerza de Santiago.
|Old images of the Real Fuerza de Santiago|
|The main entrance of Fort Santiago today.|
Fort Santiago was once infamous for its underground dungeons, where conditions were so inhumane that almost no one wanted to speak of it. It is believed that many prisoners, after they were tortured by the Spanish military, were placed in the underground cells and left there to die. There were also rumors that some prisoners were intentionally drowned by allowing the water from the Pasig River to fill the dungeons.
One of the Fuerza's underground dungeons.
|The Rizal Shrine (L) and a monument of Jose Rizal |
at the far end of Plaza de Armas.
|This cross marks the mass grave of civilians|
and soldiers who died at Fort Santiago
during World War II.
|Fort Santiago's entrance and moat|
Fort Santiago is within walking distance of Manila Cathedral and Palacio del Gobernador in Intramuros. One can also take a calesa (horse-drawn carriage) ride from Intramuros to Fort Santiago. To see more photos of Fort Santiago and find out things you can do there, just click on this link.
Have you visited Fort Santiago? What do you think of this place?