I spent most of my life in Metro Manila and quite honestly, there are some things and places here that I’ve only been discovering recently.

Last weekend, while watching The Amazing Race on TV, I saw that the latest leg was on the Philippines and the challenges were done in Manila. The usual city sights were there : the padyaks (bicyles with sidecar), the DIY basketball court on the middle of the street, and of course the iconic jeepneys.

But what was unfamiliar to me was the episode’s pit stop. The place was old and was somewhere inside the walls of Intramuros. It was somehow reminiscent of other historical landmarks in Manila like Fort Santiago.I thought I’ve been there before, I just didn’t know the name, but when I saw the center structure with concentric circular stone walls, I thought, No, never have. It was really unique. The name of the place is Baluarte de San Diego.

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Constructed in the late 16th century, Baluarte de San Diego is one of the oldest forts inside Intramuros. It was a circular fort at that time called Nuestra Señora de Guia (Our lady of Guidance). It was built  primarily to defend this area from invasion.

In 1593, it was renovated to join the walls of Intramuros.

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Baluarte de San Diego has undergone a number of repairs and restorations over the years. The baluarte was breached and fell from the British forces in 1762. It was restored after the occupation only to fall again in 1863 due to earthquake. Then in 1945, it was destroyed once more from the Battle of Manila. Latest restoration work of the fort was completed in 1992.

Today, the fort is transformed into a tourist spot in Manila.

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A beautiful garden was made around the fort, with shaded walkways, fountains, old cannons and artillery and display pieces from the previous century.

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Aside from plainly being an attraction for tourists, this Baluarte de San Diego is also a good venue for pre-nuptial photoshoots, weddings and other gatherings.

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In case you you’re planning an Intramuros tour, be sure to make a stop at Baluarte de San Diego and be amazed at its incredible architecture and the long rich history that surrounds it. Considering the age of this fort, and seeing it today after several centuries is an engineering marvel, defying the test of time.

  • Notes : Baluarte de San Diego is located on the Soutwest corner of Intramuros, right beside Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM).
  •  Notes : Baluarte de San Diego Rates – 1. ) Entrance Fee – PHP75 2.) Photoshoot – PHP 2,000 3.) Events – PHP 33,000 for six hours

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