This place was originally built by the Spaniards and Jose Rizal was held captive here. Nowadays, there is a romantic garden dining place where some of the gentlemen propose to their girlfriends and they get positive answers...most of the time. =)
I wanted to start with the Off the Beaten path tips, but I don't have pictures, so I'll start with these famous ones first...
The Manila Cathedral's real name is the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Manila Metropolitan Cathedral, but people are so used to calling her Manila Cathedral.
I love going to this place because I love going to old buildings (there are lots of old buildings in the Intramuros area).
Please check their official website for History and other stuff...
According to history books, San Agustin Church, the oldest stone church in Metro Manila and one of the four Philippine Baroque Churches inscribed in UNESCO’s World Heritage List. This church is very special to me because my mater and my dada got married here last September 4, 1966. =)
(by the way, that's one of their wedding photos...)
Still within the premises of the walled city is a golf course. This golf course was transformed from moats. You can even play golf at night because of the very good lighting they provide.
For more inquiries you can go to the Intramuros Visitors Center, Fort Santiago or at the 5th Floor Palacio del Gobernador, Intramuros Manila.
Intramuros literally means "within the walls", coined from 2 Spanish words "intra" and "muros". During the Spanish occupation of the Philippines, Intamuros became the political, religious, and military seat of the country. Churches, schools, and government offices were built including Palacio del Governador or equivalent to present day Malacanang Palace. At that time, only Spaniards and Mestizos (mixed Filipino and European) were allowed to reside within the walled city, although native Filipinos and Chinese were allowed to visit or enter Intramuros.
During the Philippine revolt against Spanish rule, many Filipino revolutionaries, foremost is the national hero Dr. Jose Rizal, were incarcerated in the several chambers of the fort. In fact, Dr. Rizal spent his last night in one of the cellars and began his walk to his death at Luneta from Intramuros.
The walled city was heavily bombarded during World War II, particularly towards the end of the war. Every structure within its walls lay in ruins except for San Agustin Church, considered the oldest surviving church in the Philippines.
In the '80s, former First Lady Imelda Marcos directed the rehabilitation of Intramuros as part of her "beautification" campaign. Old buildings were refurbished, plazas and gardens were resurrected, fine dining restaurants were established, and while new buildings were constructed, they were patterned after European architecture to retain the Spanish-era influences.
The old town was the centrepiece of spainish colonial period which left many catholic churches and buildings with spanish architectural style. But it is so strange that you could hardly see any tourists in this area. People always tells that travelling in Philippine is not safe, but I feel opposite here. For western travellers, there is obviously less interest to see the similiar culture. As an indepedent Chinese traveller, I truly enjoy this different and less-touristry atmosphere.
Manila Cathedral is the symbol of Catholicism in the Philippines as well as a manifestation of the strong devotion of the Filipinos to Mother Mary. Also known as the Minor Basilica of Immaculate Conception, the cathedral is likewise the seat of the Archdiocese of Manila.
The first church, built in 1571, was made of bamboo and nipa (cogon grass). Not surprisingly, due to the light materials used in the construction, the church was easily damaged by typhoon and was later razed by fire. The next church built was made of stone, but it was destroyed by an earthquake. Several re-construction of the church all went to nothing when they were toppled down by strong earthquakes. In 1945, the cathedral was shattered into ruins when Intramuros was heavily bombarded during the liberation of Manila.
In 1958, the present structure was consecrated on the eve of the feast of the Immaculate Conception. And in 1981, the cathedral was elevated into the rank of minor basilica. Underneath the cathedral's altar, very much similar to Vatican's St. Peter's Basilica, the crypts or tombs of past archbishops of Manila can be found.
Manila Cathedral is also a very popular choice for wedding ceremonies. It is said that at least, one year reservation is necessary to get a wedding slot. And a slot is equivalent to about 1.5 hours only, which for a traditional Filipino wedding, is considered "haphazard". Consequently, post-ceremony picture-taking is mostly done outside the church to give way to the next scheduled wedding.
San Agustin Church is one of the 4 baroque churches in the Philippines declared by UNESCO as a world heritage site. In fact, it is considered the oldest standing church in the Philippines which has survived several earthquakes.
The first church was built in 1571 made of bamboo and nipa. This was destroyed by fire and was subsequently replaced by another structure, this time made of wood. Unfortunately, this was also razed by fire. The third church was built using adobe stones. Although the construction took a long time to finish, it was worth the wait. San Agustin withstood several strong earthquakes that struck Manila as well as the heavy bombardment of the walled city during World War II. In fact, it is the only one among the 7 churches within Intramuros that survived the war minimally scathed; the rest laid in ruins.
Its unassuming facade may lack the grandeur and elegance of Manila Cathedral, yet San Agustin is probably next to the cathedral as a choice venue for weddings. Its adjacent museum and garden - Father Blanco's Garden - is also a favorite reception venue.
When you are in the vicinity if Intramuros, the best thing you can do with your family/friends are get your camera and take a walk, and see the old churches and old building which was built during spanish era.
This is the picture of "Manila Cathedral (Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception)" one of the oldest church here in Philippines. For me, this church looks like a castle :-)
Here is more information from : "Heritage Conservation Society" that I have gathered from internet that will helps to explain more about our very own Manila Cathedral:
"The Manila Cathedral (Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception) in Intramuros is currently the seat of the Archdiocese of Manila. It was the seat of the Archbishop of Manila during the Spanish Colonial Period in the Philippines, and still remains to be the ecclesiastical seat of the Archdiocese of Manila.
The cathedral was destroyed five times since its inception in 1581.The first cathedral, made of nipa and bamboos, was built in 1581. It was damaged by a typhoon in 1582 and razed by fire in 1583. It was rebuilt in 1592 but was destroyed by an earthquake in 1600. It was rebuilt for the third time, with three naves and seven chapels, in 1584 and blessed in 1614. It was toppled by another earthquake in 1645. Again, it was rebuilt but was severely damaged in 1863 by another strong earthquake. In 1880, another earthquake destroyed most of the cathedral including its huge bell tower. The fifth cathedral was constructed in 1870-1879. It was solemnly blessed in December of 1879 with the center cross of the dome being a reference point of astronomical longitudes of the archipelago. Alas, the magnificent cathedral was once again destroyed during World War II.
The present cathedral was constructed in 1954 to 1958 under Archbishop Rufino Santos of Manila and under the supervision of National Artist for Architecture, Fernando Ocampo. It was elevated into the rank of Basilica Minore in 1981 by Pope John Paul II.
Incidentally, the cathedral is also the resting place for Jaime Cardinal Sin, considered to be one of the leaders of the Edsa Revolution. "
A historical landmark . This is where Jose Rizal was detained before he was shot at Bagumbayan (Luneta).
One building showcases items, memorabilia and garments of Dr. Jose Rizal. One of the room will show a statue of Jose Rizal posed as writing his famous poem "Mi Ultimo Adios".
Intramuros is where the remains of former Spanish fortifications and the old town are located.
In English "inside the walls", Intramuros still holds a Spanish atmosphere that invades you as you walk around the old buildings and churches.
Definitely worth a visit.
This piccies are the different views of "San Agustin Church" which is also located inside the Intramuros. This is one of the well known old church in the country.
Here is another information that I have gotten from internet (please see below the link of the website). But if you don't have much time, I have copy and paste some information that will give you a full details about our historical San Agustin Church.
The first church of nipa and bamboo in 1571 was officially known as the Church and Convent of Saint Paul. This was destroyed during the Limahong invasion in 1574. Rebuilt a year later, it became the venue of the First Diocesan Synod in 1581. Destroyed by another fire in 1586, the next church was built in stone. This was designed by Juan Macias and was built from from 1587 to 1604. The sructure was so stable that the periodic earthquakes wrought minimal damage. One of the San Agustin's bell towers, however, collapsed in the 1863 earthquake.
It was in the vestry of the church that the Spaniards and Americans discussed the terms of surrender of the city in 1898. During the last days of the Battle of Manila in 1945, hundreds of Intramuros residents were gathered and held hostage in the church by Japanese soldiers. The priests were locked up in the monastery. Some of them were later killed in the air raid shelter massacre at the Palacio del Gobernador.
Although the convent was burned during the shelling of the city, the church survived. Repaired after the war, the church became the site of the first Philippine Plenary Council in 1953. It has remained a symbol of the glorious past in the old city of Intramuros.
An intricately carved door opens the church. Of great interest are the baroque pulpit, molave choir stalls and an 18th century pipe organ. Also found here is the tomb of Manila's founder and first governor-general Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, as well as the remains of other Spanish conquistadors. The monastery, on the other hand, houses an impressive collection of paintings, statues and church objects dating back to the Spanish period.
If you're a foreigner visiting Manila, this is the place to visit, specially if you are staying in nearby Ermita or Malate.
It is the main historical landmark of Manila, but when I was younger, it was the place to walk with the girlfriends, hehehe...very nice gardens and truly romantic. Reminds you of the time of the Spaniards and you can almost hear the Spanish guards "guardia civils" at night if you have an active imagination like me. But of course, I would advise walking in this area during the day, especially if you are foreign-looking.
This is the old-walled city which has a massive Southwest corner bastion called the baluarte de San Diego, built on the site of the first Spanish fortress. In the southeast is the Baluarte de San Andres.
The northern end had Fort Santiago which lies beside the pasig River. I did a lot of excursions here as a young student and so you might see some schoolkids walking around. There is a memorial to the national hero, Jose Rizal who grewu up in my Grandma's hometown of Calamba (some relatives say we are related to Rizal himself!).
Then at the very center, the awesome Manila Cathedral, rebuilt in 1958 but the original one that was here was built in 1581. In the south on general Luna Street, you mgiht see a wedding happening at the San Agustin Church (1571) - very beautiful both outside and inside and so you have to reserve more than a year before if you want to get married here! The Spaniard Legaspi, the "founder" of Manila is buried in this awesome church which has a small museum open Tues-Sun 0900-1200 and 1300-1700.
Also see the Plaza Luis which is a complex of 9 buildings which represent different architectural styles in Manila and casa manila which is a 19th century rich-man's house.
This is the photo of "Palacio del Gobernador" from the named itself, you will noticed that we were really influenced by the Spanish. Palacio del Gobernador is located beside the Manila Cathedral.
Sorry again for another cut & paste. I just can't help it. The below information is from "wordpress.com". This will give you more full insight about this old building.
Residence and office of the governor general. Although the site for the governor’s palace facing the Plaza Mayor had been determined early on, no structure was built on it until the late 17th century. In the beginning, the governor’s residence was apparently built nearer Fort Santiago, facing Plaza Militar.
The palace was rebuilt at its present site by Gov. Gen. Fausto Cruzat y Góngora (1690-1701) following an atrial plan, divided by a wing that bisected the open atrium. The southern half housed the governor’s residence on the superior floor and the Secretaría de Gobierno on the lower floor, while the northern half housed the Real Audiencia or Supreme Court. The Audiencia occupied the northern wing until it acquired a building of its own in 1788.
In 1850, Gov. Gen. Narciso Claveria gave the palace a new façade in the Neoclassical idiom. The earthquake of 1863 damaged the palace. Plans to restore it were abandoned when another earthquake in 1880 struck Manila. By then the governor had transferred residence to Malacañang in the San Miguel district, upstream of the Pasig.
The building was in ruins until its remaining walls were integrated into 14-story building, called Palacio del Gobernador. The structure houses government offices and the Intramuros Administration.
Right in the heart of Manila is found the "Walled City" - Intramuros. Constructed in 1571, during the period of Spain's colonization of the Philippines, it comprised of European buildings and churches that have been replicated in different parts of the archipelago. Although the Pacific War of the 1940s took its tool on Intramuros, it had been one of the world's best preserved medieval cities. The site is a timeless journey through forts and dungeons, old churches, colonial houses, and horse-drawn carriages.