‘New’ Fort Santiago unveiled
In line with the “Intramuros Revival Project” initiated by the Department of Tourism last year, Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo on Monday led the opening of the newly renovated Paseo Soledad and Plaza Moriones in Fort Santiago.
Plaza Moriones, the area leading to the iconic Fort Santiago, has been smoothed out with flowering trees and a colorful fountain at the center.
Paseo de Soledad, a portion of the linear park built along the banks of Pasig River, is now accessible through the river gate called Postigo Nuestra Señora de Soledad.
According to Teo, the Tourism department, through the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, has allotted P230 million for the renovation of Fort Santiago, which is part of a larger plan to redevelop Intramuros.
“This is part of the continuing efforts to preserve and revive the glory days of Intramuros as the nation’s foremost bastion of culture, history and faith,” Teo said.
“Having been at the helm of one of the country’s destination management companies [or DMCs], I know very well the importance of having good attractions, facilities and services. Our Manila DMCs will always have Intramuros as the highlight of their city tours and thus, welcome continued physical enhancement and more exciting ways to retell history. The rest is up to them to liven up the conversation.”
Lawyer Guiller Asido, the newly appointed Intramuros Administration head, revealed that more areas such as Rajah Soliman Theatre, reception venues for visitors, and the dungeons will be opened to the public once the rehabilitation is completed by the end of the year.
“We are looking at the completion of the first phase of the Intramuros Museum and the Maestranza Chambers this year,” Asido said.
Data from Intramuros Administration revealed that around 500,000 tourists visited Fort Santiago in 2016.
Asido added the DoT is aiming for a significant increase in arrivals this year by extending the park’s operating hours until 9 p.m. with no raise in entrance fees, which will remain at P75 for adults and P50 for students.