Jose Rizal and Intramuros

I love going to Intramuros. And I never tire imagining what it was like in Jose Rizal's time. It's one of Philippines' historic sites that I keep returning to. It reminds me, in a certain way, of Iloilo, my hometown.

Fort Santiago brick 

Crumbling brick walls of some buildings inside Fort Santiago, Intramuros have become definiteve symbols of style of Filipino architecture from eras gone by.


The Walled City, which it really is, was the seat of Spanish colonial rule in the East for almost four hundred years. It was the center of commerce, education, government and religion. After World War II, however, Intramuros lost its old grandeur and glory. I am quite relieved that the resolve to preserve it and revive its illustrious past are stronger than ever. I am just glad that Filipinos stand ready at all times to save it because its historical value is priceless. It's a treasure to behold which every Filipinos is proud to share with the world. Then again, it is part of what and who we are and we ought to save it at all costs.

Intramuros's history is rich and colorful. I used to jog the stretch of Roxas Boulevard with friends on weekends. Soon after, we'd proceed to Intramuros. We'd enter by Father Burgos Avenue from Rizal Park to find our way in. The massive stone walls which were used to fortify the inhabitants against attacks, Fort Santiago, the San Agustin Church, and whatever is left of the gates, palaces, monasteries, convents, courtyards, all make this colonial fortress deserving of our respect.

Rizal studied in Ateneo de Manila, then Ateneo Municipal, which was located in Intramuros. His novels Noli Mi Tangere and El Filibusterismo made many references to his life both in the school and in the Walled City. Through the characters in both novels, we are able to get a glimpse of everyday living there.

Today, Intramuros stands as a monument to the resiliency of our forefathers and of the Filipino character. It is a must-visit historic site for visitors to the Philippines. I note that returning overseas Filipinos abroad make it a point to visit and revisit. It's quite uplifting seeing them with families in tow.

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