Fortress by the River: Fort Santiago of Manila

Fort Santiago Gate

After lunch, we head back to Intramuros and went to our ultimate destination: Fort Santiago. Why ultimate? Because it is where Jose Rizal was incarcerated for the last days of his life. Before he was shot in Luneta (err…Bagumbayan), he was imprisoned here by the Spanish authorities due to accusations of instigating mass revolts that are erupting all over Luzon and some parts of the country.

What is it about Fort Santiago? Except that it is popular as a fieldtrip destination of kids and tourists, it is one focal point of authority during the Spanish colonial era…a manifestation of foreign grip in the Philippines.  It is located at the northernmost part of the walled city, like a sentinel guarding the mouth of Pasig River and the walled city itself. Its location is as strategic as it is important to the Spanish crown colony, as most of the military power emanates from this fuerza real. Continue reading Fortress by the River: Fort Santiago of Manila

The Plaza Salcedo Complex of Vigan: The Cathedral, the Capitolio Provincial, the City Hall and the Arzobispado

Plaza Salcedo & Vigan Cathedral, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur

Plaza Salcedo & Vigan Cathedral, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur

The plaza or town square has been the core of every Spanish colonial settlement in the Philippines. The plaza can be a venue of anything, from carnivals, fairs to public execution. Surrounding it are mostly important edifices of local authority. The heritage city of Vigan, the capital of Ilocos Sur, has one of the finest classical examples of the plaza complex…a heritage of urban planning in the Philippines. Continue reading The Plaza Salcedo Complex of Vigan: The Cathedral, the Capitolio Provincial, the City Hall and the Arzobispado

Morong Church: The Baroque Wonder of Rizal Province

Iglesia de San Geronimo de Morong

Iglesia de San Geronimo de Morong

After that arduous ascend to the hidden Angono Petroglyphs up in the highlands of Binangonan, we drove down passing by Binangonan and Cardona towns. Next stop: Morong.

All of a sudden, from the dense towns of western Rizal province facing Metro Manila. After crossing the hills that divide Binangonan and Cardona, suddenly everything turned rustic and the old  Tagalog beauty unfolds its green and yellow shade that blankets the hills and rice fields.

Rice fields abound while Laguna de Bai sits beyond the shores. The skyline of Morong fast approaches and the striking belfry of the church is a great scene.

Now, what seems to be interesting in this town? Except for its famed balaw-balaw side dish which I am about to explore sometime soon, the architectural marvel of Morong Church or Iglesia de San Geronimo. Continue reading Morong Church: The Baroque Wonder of Rizal Province

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