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Rediscovering Intramuros: The Old Manila in the New Era

It’s 2018 and Intramuros remains relevant to audiences, from locals who live in Manila to tourists curious to find out about Philippine history.

 

 

Just recently, international music acts like The Moffatts visited the historical site, posing in front of the entrance of Fort Santiago. Brooklyn Beckham also rode a bamboo bike over the cobblestone streets of Intramuros during his promo tour for a clothing brand.

What is it about Intramuros that continues to draw visitors? The reasons are many, but one that stands definitively is the fact that it has effectively married modernity and tradition.

 

 

One example is The Book Stop Project. Found in front of the famous Manila Cathedral, the Book Stop Project is a booth filled to the brim with books, encouraging visitors to open a page and allow themselves to explore worlds beyond words.

 

 

Another way that history and modernity mix in Intramuros is through the Governor’s Palace, which is presently the office of the Commission on Elections. It stands adjacent to the park in front of the Manila Cathedral, an architectural marvel characterized by its red, concrete bricks, and row of Philippine flags.

 

 

Historical structures have also been well-preserved, with famous sites like Fort Santiago and the Manila Cathedral retaining their glory. The former defense fortress built by a Spanish conquistador was the barracks for Spanish artillery during their regime in the Philippines.

 

Nestled inside Fort Santiago is the Rizal Shrine, which has been around for several decades. This shrine, which remembers Jose Rizal during the last moments of life, draws hundreds and thousands of visitors annually. This is where our national hero spent his last hours and where he stored his legendary poem, “Mi Ultimo Adios” (“My Last Farewell”), in an oil lamp given to his sister, Trinidad, after his death.

The possessions of Rizal are displayed for history enthusiasts, including his books, manuscripts, artwork, and even shells he collected in Dapitan.