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Spanish Colonial Fortifications In The Philippines


Fort San Pedro, Cebu


  • From the construction of the first fort  in Cebu ( Fort Pedro ) until the end of the Spanish Regime in the Philippines, the Spanish fortifications were active in protecting the Regime from pirates, Dutch and British invaders, Chinese pirates and numerous Muslim Slaver attacks. They have Spanish names. The word ''fuerte'' or ''fuerza'' refers to a large bastion fortified complex and the numerous watchtowers are referred to as '' baluarte'', '' tanawan'' or ''bantayan''. Visitors to Manila, Cebu, Zamboanga City, etc will discover these as part of the local agenda for tourism. The purpose of this Site to to explain the common features which may not be apparent to local guides or guide books.
  • The importance of Spanish Colonial fortifications in The Philippines is acknowledged world wide and in May 2006 UNESCO added five fortifications in the Philippines to its list of Tentative Listings. These five included Dauis Watchtower and Punta Cruz Fort both in Bohol to the east of Cebu, Fuerza de Capul in Northern Samur, Fuerza de San Andres in Romblon and Fuerza de Santa Isabela in Palawan. Other major Fortifications are Corregidor ( near Manila ) and San Sebastion adjacent to Intramuros also in Manila.
  • The other relevant fortifications are Cuyo Fort in Cuyo Island, Palawan, Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City, Fort Del Pilar in Baguio, Fort Drum at El Fraile Island, Fort Magasaysay, Fort Malate, Fort Pilar, Fort San Pedro in Cebu City, Cebu Island, Fort Sto Domingo Santa Rosa Laguna.
  • Visitors to Manila and Cebu City have ready access to the fortifications there. Many have small museums, military hardware and artifacts of the period on display. The Intramuros complex of fortified city, military fort, museums and Catholicism monuments is the most important tourist destination in the Philippines.



Fort San Pedro, Cebu


Fort San Pedro Cebu City
  • Fort San Pedro is located in the area now called Plaza Indepedencia, in the Pier Area of Cebu City. The Fort is named after Legazpi's flagship in the 1565 expedition the Cebu from Mexico. Construction of the Fort started in May 1565 under Legazpi's supervision.
  • San Pedro Fort is triangular in shape, with two sides facing the sea and the third side fronting the land. The two sides facing the sea were defended with artillery and the front with a strong palisade made of wood. The three bastions were named La Concepción (Southwest side); Ignacio de Loyola (Southeast side), and San Miguel ( ortheast side). The total inside area is 2,025 square meters. The walls are 20 feet ( 6.1 meters) high, 8 feet (2.4 meters) thick and the towers are 30 feet (9.1 meters) high from the ground level. The circumference is 1,248 feet (380 meters). The sides are of unequal lengths and the one fronting the city is where one may find entry into the Fort.
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Fort Intramuros, Manila


Fort Santiago Intramuros Manila
  • Fort Santiago is a Spanish fortress located near the mouth of the Pasig River in the old town of Manila. Construction was commenced in June 1571. The location was originally the place of a wooden structure ( ‘’palisaded fort’’ ) constructed by Muslim locals ruled by Rajah Sulaiman the local chieftain in pre-Hispanic Manila. Sulaiman was the 16th Sultan and one of three in the region which is now Manila. In modern history the Basque Spanish conquistador, Marin de Goiti, is credited with founding the City of Intramuros and Fort Santiago in June 1570. In reality the Spaniards declared war on the local communities, destroyed them and occupied the village lands and burned their settlements.
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Fort Intramuros, Manila