Strategically located on the banks of the Pasig River and on the northwest corner of Intramuros, Fort Santiago (Spanish, Fuerza de Santiago) overlooks Manila Bay and was built to protect the Spanish settlement from invaders arriving by sea.
Fort Santiago has a savage history. Over the centuries many Filipinos were imprisoned, tortured and left to drown in the Fort's notorious dungeons, which were beneath the high tide level.
The Philippines' national hero, José Rizal, was imprisoned here for almost two months before his execution in 1896. You can visit his cell (now the Rizal Museum). It was here that he composed his final poem, Mi Ultimo Adiós (My Final Farewell), which was smuggled out of his cell in the base of an oil lamp.
Fort Santiago (Part 1)
"When Governor Dasmariñas arrived in 1590 he brought instructions from the king of Spain to fortify the place so as to insure it against all attacks by land or sea and at once set about the work."
Fort Santiago (Part 2)
"Many strange things have happened under the shadow of the old fort, and there are old Spaniards living in Manila who shake their heads wisely and intimate that if they were to tell all they knew, it would be an astonishing story indeed."
Fort Santiago (Part 3)
"In the inner court General Merritt met with the Spanish governor-general on the memorable 13th of August and arranged the preliminary agreement for the surrender of the citadel of the Orient. There was but little sleep in Manila that night."
Author: David Paul Wagner
(David Paul Wagner on Google+)