Manila, Manila… I Keep Coming Back to Manila

Manila PhilippinesThe pearl of the East, that’s how Philippines is described for its bountiful resources, scenic mountains not to mention fabulous beaches. Most tourists would be attracted to these scenic locations but few really do appreciate the amazing culture and story imprinted on the walls of structures dating back from its colonization under the Spaniard.

Brief history

Set at the middle of the its capital is Intramuros; cobblestone streets, magnificent churches such as the San Agustin , relics of the fort, and the walls that became the fortress of the Spaniards to protect the colonizers from the incursion of invaders.

In 1521, the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan first set his foot on the island, however he was killed during an encounter with the natives who were led by Lapu-lapu. Years after, Miguel Lopez de Legaspi came and settled on the island together with Spanish friars.

Philippines was named after the name of Spain’s King Philip. By the time the second batch of visitors arrived on the island, the natives were converted to Roman Catholicism as well as coerced to move away from their current barangays to a town devised by the Spaniards to remain in control.

For 333 years, the country was under the Spanish colony. Within this period, the Spanish military kept on fighting upsurge from the local inhabitants of the island as well as from external intrusion.

Intramuros, meaning walled fortress or "within the wall" became the seat of the Spanish colony. During the Spanish colonization, Intramuros was considered as Manila itself surrounded by thick, high wall and moats.

Prior to their colonization, Intramuros was a sizable Malayan Muslim settlement. Manila or "Maynilad" as how it was used to be called was lead by Rajah Soliman, a native Muslim King during the 16th century. In 1570, the Spaniards were able to win victory and control of the Maynilad after fighting the native warriors who were defenseless of the Spaniard’s more superior weapons.

The strategic location of Maynilad attracted the Spaniards, being it was located along Pasig River and the Manila Bay. The place was perfect for trade and a capital since it was then the seat of all native chiefs, the center of power.

Upon the royal ordinance of King Philip, the construction of churches and roads were set forth on Maynilad. The design of the churches and establishments were from a medieval structure, completing the infrastructure of the walled city by 1606. Indios, which the Spaniards called the natives, labored in the establishments of these landmarks.

The famous walled city became the center of political, military and religious power of the conquistadors. Remains from the Spanish period reflect on relics of San Agustin Church, Manila Cathedral, Governor’s Palace, and Fort Santiago. Inside Intramuros, one will also find baluartes which means bastion notable are Baluarte de San Diego, Baluarte de San Gabriel , Baluarte de Sta. Barbara and Baluarte de San Andres.

At present, Intramuros still embodies Manila that was past but sure enough to have influenced Filipino culture. Vehicles, instead of kalesas (carriages) now invade the streets inside and outside of the walled city. Nonetheless, it holds itself still carrying the memories of the bygone Spanish era in the Philippines– a truly remarkable sight to see.

 
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