Fort Santiago: A Spanish Fortress within the Walled City

During the Spanish era, not only did the Spaniards create a walled city which is known as Intramuros, they also created a fortress that lies on the endmost portion of their walled city. This Fortress is where they hide there arsenals and where Spanish soldiers rest and guard the city throughout the day.

The entrance fee is P75.00 for adults while P50.00 for children and students (just present your i.d.).

The Fortress is strong enough to wade off invaders like Chinese pirates and some other nationalities who also thinks the same way as the Spaniards—that the newly centralized Philippines is such a great place! — a lot of reserves and spices.

The Fortress has also a moat to delay invaders and lots and lots of walls where canons are located…

the Moat in Fort Santiago
Canons found in Fort Santiago
Canons

Fort Santiago had became a part of our history, not only it was present during the Spanish colonization centuries ago, it was also present during the World War II, where the Japanese almost destroyed all of what is left to Intramuros.

The buildings in Fort Santiago was destroyed during the WWII but was restored by the Philippine government. But most of the ruins inside the area are the original ruins during the Spanish or American era. But the arch you see here is only a replica since the original arch was destroyed during the WWII.

Nowadays, Fort Santiago became a beautiful park where you can stroll amidst a beautiful landscape, you won’t even notice that thousands of death took place where you lay your feet into….

Fountain in Fort Santiago
Beautiful 🙂
The beautiful green landscape

Aside from being the base of Spanish military during their 333 years of colonization of the Philippines, Fort Santiago is well known for being the prison of the Philippine national hero Jose P. Rizal—a person who is really determined of fighting against the Spanish colonizers but not through strength of the body but through the strength of the mind.

Upon entering the Rizal Shrine, you will see Rizal and the guestbook 🙂
Look at the walls, it depicts the life of our national hero, Jose Rizal

In Baluarte de Santa Barbara, there is this place where antique furniture of the Rizal family was preserved and is open for viewing. But, there is an additional P10.00 entrance fee to gain entry.

Furniture of the Rizal Family
The clock of Jose Rizal's family... so antique.. so beautiful
Other furniture of the Rizal Family

A Simple Introduction for Jose Rizal–Philippines’ national hero

Jose Rizal is a medical doctor, ophthalmologist, lawyer, journalist, novelist, scholar, engineer, linguist and a lot more… His head is really tough! He is really a talented person with a lot of knowledge in different fields– He is simply a genius–But he is a genius not only in this fields but also in the field of love 🙂

He had several girlfriends with different nationalities, one of the most known is her Japanese Girlfriend Oseisan and her Irish decent but with American citizenship, Josephine Bracken–which he is rumored to be married to… Anyway, he had a lot of girls here and there using his great genius mind 🙂

Jose Rizal is indeed a great man, he wrote several seditious and insightful novels during his lifetime. Those novels depicts the life of the Filipinos during the Spanish period. It gives an overview on how bad the Spanish treats the Filipinos–The unending discrimination of race, the rape of women, the unrelenting killings of the innocent, the strict and corrupt system of the friars.

some part of his novels was written during his stay in Spain where he had no money to spare and the publication of such is only through solicitation and sponsorship of other people. His stay in Spain made his mind opened widely to the reality that Spain wasn’t that great, it also a trashy place with full of corruption and such, he realized that Philippines is better off without them…And to realize such aim, he made a lot of novels with words derogatory to the Spanish Colonial Government.

Because of what he wrote, he became a criminal. He knew that once he lay his feet in the Philippines, he will be severely punished; Unperturbed, he still went back and faced all the charges against him and continued writing novels even if he was exiled and later on imprisoned and executed.

Jose Rizal became a criminal to the eyes of the Spaniards but to the eyes of the Filipinos, he became the white and shining armor against all the bad things that the Spaniards had made to the Filipinos….he became the inspiration of other Filipinos who later on joined the rebellion. Andres Bonifacio is one of the people who lead the arms race and who admitted that he was inspired by the works of Jose Rizal that is why he lead this vicious rebellion against the Spaniards.

During Rizal’s exile, he was told by the armed rebels to come with them and be their head, that they will help him escape, however, Jose Rizal refused stating that the “pen is mightier than the sword” in which he implies that peaceful rebellion is better than the one that they were doing. He doesn’t want Bloodshed of innocent lives, he believes that its better if only his life will be taken, he is always ready to face his “punishment” wholeheartedly because of his love of his nation. —Though in a way he’s right, but there something in my heart that wishes that he had joined the rebellion 🙂

So after some time, he was brought to Fort Santiago, where he was imprisoned then later on brought to the present-day Luneta to be executed. While he was imprisoned in Fort Santiago, he wrote his Mi Ultimo Adios (My Last Farewell) where he put into a lamp and passed it to his sister.

The lamp where the mi ultimo adios was hidden by Jose Rizal

This is the Mi Ultimo Adios in Original version and in English. Copy is from wikipedia.

“Mi Último Adiós”Adios, Patria adorada, region del sol querida,
Perla del Mar de Oriente, nuestro perdido eden,
A darte voy alegre, la triste, mustia vida;
Ya fuera mas brillante, mas fresca mas florida,
También por ti la diera, la diera por tu bien.En campos de batalla, luchando, con delirio,
Otros te dan sus vidas, sin dudas, sin pesar.
El sitio nada importa: ciprés, laurel o lirio,
Cadalso o campo abierto combate o cruel martirio,
Lo mismo es si lo piden la Patria y el hogar.Yo muero, cuando veo que el cielo se colora
Y al fin anuncia el día, tras lóbrego capuz;
Si grana necesitas, para teñir tu aurora,
Vierte la sangre mia, derramala en buen hora,
Y dorela un reflejo de su naciente luz!Mis sueños, cuando apenas muchacho adolescente,
Mis sueños cuando joven, ya lleno de vigor,
Fueron el verte un dia, joya del mar de Oriente,
Secos los negros ojos, alta la tersa frente,
Sin ceño, sin arrugas, sin manchas de rubor.Ensueño de mi vida, mi ardiente vivo anhelo,
¡Salud! te grita el alma, que pronto va a partir;
¡Salud! ah, que es hermoso caer por darte vuelo,
Morir por darte vida, morir bajo tu cielo,
Y en tu encantada tierra la eternidad dormir!Si sobre mi sepulcro vieres brotar, un dia,
Entre la espesa yerba sencilla humilde flor,
Acercala a tus labios y besa al alma mia,
Y sienta yo en mi frente, bajo la tumba fria,
De tu ternura el soplo, de tu hálito el calor.Deja a la luna verme, con luz tranquila y suave,
Deja que el elba envie su resplandor fugas;
Deja gemir al viento, con su murmullo grave;
Y si desciende y posa sobre mi cruz un ave,
Deja que el ave entone su cántico de paz.Deja que el sol, ardiendo, las lluvias evapore,
Y al cielo tornen puras, con mi clamor en pos;
Deja que un ser amigo mi fin temprano llore;
Y en las serenas tardes, cuando por mi alguien ore,
Ora también, ¡oh Patria!, por mi descanso a Dios.

Ora por todos cuantos murieron sin ventura;
Por cuantos padecieron tormentos sin igual;
Por nuestras pobres madres, que gimen su amargura;
Por huerfanos y viudas, por presos entortura;
Y ora por ti, que veas tu redención final.

Y cuando, en noche oscura, se envuela el cementerio,
Y solos solo muertos queden velando alli,
No turbes su reposo, no turbes el misterio;
Tal ves acordes oigas de citara o salterio;
Soy yo, querida Patria, yo que te canto a ti.

Y cuando ya mi tumba, de todas olvidada,
No tenga cruz ni piedra que marquen su lugar,
Deja que la are el hombre, la esparza con la azada,
Y mis cenizas, antes que vuelvan a la nada,
El polvo de tu alfombra que vayan a formar.

Entonces nada importa me pongas en olvido,
Tu atmósfera, tu espacio, tus valles cruzaré;
Vibrante y limpia nota sere para tu oido;
Aroma, luz, colores, rumor, canto, gemido,
Constante repitiendo la esencia de mi fe.

Mi Patria idolatrada, dolor de mis dolores,
Querida Filipinas, oye el postrer adois.
Ahi, te dejo todo: mis padres, mis amores.
Voy donde no hay esclavos, verdugos ni opresores;
Donde la fe no mata, donde el que reina es Dios.

Adios, padres y hermanos, trozos del alma mia,
Amigos de la infrancia, en el perdido hogar;
Dal gracias, que descanso del fatigoso dia;
Adios, dulce extranjera, mi amiga, mi alegria;
Adios, queridos seres. Morir es descansar.

“My Last Farewell”Farewell, my adored Land, region of the sun caressed,
Pearl of the Orient Sea, our Eden lost,
With gladness I give you my Life, sad and repressed;
And were it more brilliant, more fresh and at its best,
I would still give it to you for your welfare at most.On the fields of battle, in the fury of fight,
Others give you their lives without pain or hesitancy,
The place does not matter: cypress laurel, lily white,
Scaffold, open field, conflict or martyrdom’s site,
It is the same if asked by home and Country.I die as I see tints on the sky b’gin to show
And at last announce the day, after a gloomy night;
If you need a hue to dye your matutinal glow,
Pour my blood and at the right moment spread it so,
And gild it with a reflection of your nascent light!My dreams, when scarcely a lad adolescent,
My dreams when already a youth, full of vigor to attain,
Were to see you, gem of the sea of the Orient,
Your dark eyes dry, smooth brow held to a high plane
Without frown, without wrinkles and of shame without stain.My life’s fancy, my ardent, passionate desire,
Hail! Cries out the soul to you, that will soon part from thee;
Hail! How sweet ’tis to fall that fullness you may acquire;
To die to give you life, ‘neath your skies to expire,
And in your mystic land to sleep through eternity !If over my tomb some day, you would see blow,
A simple humble flow’r amidst thick grasses,
Bring it up to your lips and kiss my soul so,
And under the cold tomb, I may feel on my brow,
Warmth of your breath, a whiff of your tenderness.Let the moon with soft, gentle light me descry,
Let the dawn send forth its fleeting, brilliant light,
In murmurs grave allow the wind to sigh,
And should a bird descend on my cross and alight,
Let the bird intone a song of peace o’er my site.Let the burning sun the raindrops vaporize
And with my clamor behind return pure to the sky;
Let a friend shed tears over my early demise;
And on quiet afternoons when one prays for me on high,
Pray too, oh, my Motherland, that in God may rest I.

Pray thee for all the hapless who have died,
For all those who unequalled torments have undergone;
For our poor mothers who in bitterness have cried;
For orphans, widows and captives to tortures were shied,
And pray too that you may see you own redemption.

And when the dark night wraps the cemet’ry
And only the dead to vigil there are left alone,
Don’t disturb their repose, don’t disturb the mystery:
If you hear the sounds of cithern or psaltery,
It is I, dear Country, who, a song t’you intone.

And when my grave by all is no more remembered,
With neither cross nor stone to mark its place,
Let it be plowed by man, with spade let it be scattered
And my ashes ere to nothingness are restored,
Let them turn to dust to cover your earthly space.

Then it doesn’t matter that you should forget me:
Your atmosphere, your skies, your vales I’ll sweep;
Vibrant and clear note to your ears I shall be:
Aroma, light, hues, murmur, song, moanings deep,
Constantly repeating the essence of the faith I keep.

My idolized Country, for whom I most gravely pine,
Dear Philippines, to my last goodbye, oh, harken
There I leave all: my parents, loves of mine,
I’ll go where there are no slaves, tyrants or hangmen
Where faith does not kill and where God alone does reign.

Farewell, parents, brothers, beloved by me,
Friends of my childhood, in the home distressed;
Give thanks that now I rest from the wearisome day;
Farewell, sweet stranger, my friend, who brightened my way;
Farewell, to all I love. To die is to rest.

He wrote this during the eve of his execution. And after that, he was escorted out of his cell and was sent to the present day Luneta where he was executed by firing squad. 😦

Jose Rizal's prison cell in Fort Santiago....
The last footsteps of Jose Rizal towards the place where he will be executed
The place where Jose Rizal went out to face his untimely death
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9 thoughts on “Fort Santiago: A Spanish Fortress within the Walled City”

    1. yeah, I had lots of fun. I just had my final exams last week, and for the last four days I was in Puerto Princesa, Palawan (where the underground river, part of the new 7 wonders of nature) is located. it was fun! I will post all about my travel soon. How about you? did you enjoy your vacation, especially your trip to Seoul?

      1. Sound you had a great time there. I will search about this new wonder. From now on, you will be free 🙂 . Yeah, I had a great time in Seoul, but I prefer Busan. I also want to post my trip, too, but recently, I just feel lazy (haha…). Wait to see your trip!

      2. I’ve never been to Busan, i hope I can go there also! 🙂 I will also wait for your posts regarding your trip, I’m excited to see the places you’ve been especially in Busan–can’t wait :). I’ve not been able to post anything the past few weeks since I was really busy because of school. But now, I’ll be able too 🙂 2 days after I will be going to Boracay, Philippines and I will also post about it after my trip 🙂

      3. Ho, you will go to Boracay….wow, I’m envious of you. I hope I can go there someday. Waiting to see your trip photos and stories. 😮

      4. yeah, I will 🙂 It will also be my first time 🙂 I’m quite excited too… I also envy you because you’ve been to Busan and Tokyo! 🙂 Don’t worry you can come to boracay, especially now, there’s a lot of flights and promo fares going to Boracay.

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