Intramuros Manila, Before and Today

Intramuros before is considered as the capital of our country.

is the oldest district and historic core of Manila, Philippines. It is also called the Walled City, and at the time of the Spanish Colonial Period was synonymous to the city of Manila itself. It was the seat of government when the Philippines was a component realm of the Spanish Empire.

The 64-hectare stone citadel, founded by the Spanish in 1571, has withstood wars, natural disasters and successive waves of colonial invaders, and as such stands as a metaphor for Manila itself.

The City of Manila is based on a delta framed by the Pasig River, the main outlet of Laguna de Ba-e, a saline lake encompassed by the territories of Rizal (previously Morong) and Laguna. Since it is a delta, the fruitful land was depleted by various estuaries (esteros); many lamentably have been concealed, bringing about the regular immersion of the city amid the period of the habagat or southwest rainstorm. A road on the Pasig’s northern bank called Estero Cegado (became scarce estuary) helps us to remember these lost conduits. Be that as it may, a couple esteros still stay open. Some have beautiful names like Tripa de Gallina (chicken gut), which winds through the areas of Paco and Sta. Ana, the man-made Canal de la Reina in Binondo and Sunog Apog, which isolates Isla de Balut from whatever is left of Tondo.

Manila’s indigenous tenants were the Tagalog (Taga-ilog: stream individuals). They had been effectively exchanging with the Chinese much sooner than the Spaniards arrived. Proof of this is the quantity of tradeware found in Santa Ana, the site of the Tagalog settlement called Namayan and along the shores of the lake upstream. By the sixteenth century, be that as it may, Manila bragged of a global group united in terms of professional career: Chinese, Arabs, Borneans, Japanese, Indians.

In the sixteenth century, a flourishing group of Tagalogs lived around the palisaded living arrangement of its ruler, Rajah Sulayman. The palisade was based on the Pasig River’s southern bank, where the stream exhausts unto a shielded sound. A Muslim, Sulayman was identified with Rajah Matanda (the more established Rajah) and Rajah Lakandula, who managed over the northern bank, called Tondo. The Rajahs were thus identified with the eminence of Brunei, a focal point of Islam, which was not only a religion but rather a lifestyle that formed the advancement of political and social life.

Driven by appetite the Spanish settlement, initially settled in Cebu in 1565, pushed relentlessly north. By 1569, a settlement was built up in Pan-ay where news of a substantial straight and prospects of exchange and supplies up north achieved the pioneers. In 1570, Legazpi dispatched his nephew Juan de Salcedo and Martin de Goiti to reconoiter north. They achieved Mindoro where the tenants surrendered to Spanish weapons, then set out toward Batangas, and entered the Pansipit River the distance to Bonbon Lake (Taal). From that point they proceeded onward to Manila Bay and tied up at a snare formed sandbar called Kawit (Cavite). This was the arranging point for their assault on Sulayman’s stronghold. Albeit 1570 denoted the formal colonization of Manila, whatever remains of the pilgrims did not touch base until a year later in May. By then Sulayman’s palisade harmed by the earlier years siege was up once more. A fight resulted, Sulayman was compelled to give in and forsake his station. The next month on 24 June 1571, the Feast of birth of John the Baptist, Manila was constituted as a city of the Spanish domain.

The Tagalogs who had been constrained off their property settled either with their relatives in Tondo or in the end moved to a territory south of the Spanish edge, called Bagumbayan (new town). This is the site right away ocupied by Luneta stop circumscribing the region called Ermita.

In spite of the fact that Manila got its illustrious contract on 24 June 1571; given the honorific “ever steadfast and respectable City” in 1574 and much later granted an ensign (1595), comprising of a manor or at boss and a demi-lion and dolphin naiant at base, the city stayed for a considerable length of time without the divider nor the structures of mortar and adobe with which we relate Intramuros.

From 1571-74, the main protection of the city was a palisade, strengthened with earth around an indistinguishable site from Sulayman’s fortress. In any case, in September 1574, frightened by news on a looming assault by the Chinese Limahong, Legazpi’s successor as senator general, Guido de Lavezares, requested the working of alternative safeguards which comprised of “board, stakes and boxes and barrels loaded with sand.” Limahong nearly invade the city, while Martin de Goiti, who was incapacitated beause of fever, was executed amid the assault at his habitation in Bagumbayan. Just the auspicious return of Juan de Salcedo and his troops, who had been sent north to “placate” the tenants and scan for gold, spared the city. The day was the 30th of August, the Feast of the Apostle Andrew. Limahong was compelled to withdraw, and discovered his path north to Pangasinan where his troops were at last vanquished. The city chose to name St. Andrew supporter of the city in appreciation for what was accepted to be his glorious mediation.

Understanding the need to strengthen, Lavesares started encompassing the city with a palisade which was finished under the third senator general Francisco de Sande.

In 1581, a Jesuit named Antonio Sedeño landed in Manila. He had some information of engineering and was in charge of modifying the episcopal castle in stone after a fire in 1583 wrecked the city. Gov. Gen. Santiago de Vera requested that the Jesuit plan a stronghold for Manila’s southern and most helpless flank. Sedeño outlined a round roofed stronghold in the style of medieval towers. The tower was devoted to the Nuestra Señora de Guia, whose picture was kept in a withdrawal simply outside the city dividers.

Development of a stone divider was started vigorously between 1591-94, under Gov. Gen. Gomez Perez Dasmariñas. He had the NS de Guia tower overhauled and coordinated into a more present day divider framework. Obviously, Sedeño’s roundabout tower was all the while remaining in the mid seventeenth century. The oidor Antonio de Morga (Sucesos 1609) portrays the de Guia as roomy with spots for troopers quarters; in any case, later in a similar book he repudiates himself by saying that Dasmariñas had the de Guia leveled. The fortresses of Intramuros were as a rule continually repaired and enhanced under various governors general from Dasmariñas’ chance until 1872 when the keep going recorded work on the strongholds was finished.

From 1618-24, due to the danger postured by the Dutch, Gov. Gen. Alfonso Fajardo de Tenza had a canal burrowed on along the city’s eastern flank. In 1603 and from 1629-30 the Chinese living close Manila ascended in rebellion. The 1630 revolt spread to other neighboring regions. As a result of this uprising, the Chinese were driven out of the city and compelled to live in a ghetto, known as Parian, one arquebus shot far off from the dividers. An open space was worked between the city and the Chinese ghetto. In any case, the occupants of Manila required the products and ventures of the Chinese, so they were permitted to convey their merchandise to an entryway, which confronted the Parian.

Under Gov. Gen Hurtado de Corcuera (1635-44) the canal was extended and secured walkways built. We have a thought of the city’s channel since they are delineated in a 1671 guide outlined by Ignacio Muñoz, O.P. The channel circles the eastern and southern flank of the fortification. A contra foso (external canal) shows up in this guide, isolated from the important canal by an island framed between the two. The channels are connected at the Baluarte de San Nicolás by a thin trench. A scaffold over the inward canal joins Puerta del Parian with the island, where a little external stronghold and drapery divider (a tenaile) was worked to ensure the door. Puerta Real which right now toward the end of Calle Real del Palacio was additionally ensured by an external stronghold, a demi-lune.

War, fire, seismic tremor and other characteristic and human-made calamities were critical in the formation of engineering best adjusted to the Philippines. There were various solid seismic tremors in the 1600s, actually, the century started with one. Another significant quake struck in 1645, harming both the dividers and numerous living arrangements and structures, which at this point were implicit stone and mortar. This occasion denoted the start of arquitectura mestiza, European building conventions slamming into neighborhood customs and the exigencies of living in the Ring of Fire. Records demonstrate that by 1630, Manila was loaded with habitations designed after Spanish-Mexican models. These comprised of two story stone and mortar structures many vaulted in stone. A couple went considerably higher. These structures were hazardous when the earth shook. After 1645, a blended style showed up comprising of a lower story of mortar and stone, and an upper story of wood. Stone vaults were kept away from, rather tile rooftops laying on heavy timbers, and upheld by lintel and post development were favored. Indeed, even open structures like chapels adjusted this technique. Of the vaulted structures in Manila just the San Agustin church remains. This was finished in 1604 much sooner than the constructional change.

Like the structures inside the dividers, the fortress itself experienced adjustment and repair. Gov. Sabiniano Manrique de Lara (1653-63) had the dividers repaired and enhanced as an outcome of the harms fashioned by the 1645 quake.

The eighteenth century saw dynastic change in Spain, the Hapsburg finished their control and the Bourbons succeeded. Rulers of the Englightenment, the Bourbons tried to streamline government and modernize it. Among the rulers ” concerns was the fortress of the Philippines, in view of its vital area in the western Pacific. In 1705, the crown sent Juan Ramirez de Ciscara, a military designer to keep an eye on the strongholds in the Philippines and to arrange improvments in view of cutting edge ideas. He chipped away at the resistances of Manila, Cavite, and Zamboanga which he modified in 1719, after it had been annihilated in 1663. In 1734, under Gov. Gen Fernando Valdez Tamon (1729-39) Manila’s fortress was enhanced further. Reacting to the mandate of the lord to supply data as a fire had harmed the Royal chronicles, Tamon sent a give an account of the status of frontier fortresses in the Philippines in 1738. Not content with what he considered as a rushed report, the next year he sent a more full and more entire rendition. This report, carefully exhibited in attractive calligraphy


Sta. Lucia gate in 1873. Photo from wikipedia.

Moat surrounding Intramuros in the Spanish era. Photo from


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