20 Must-Visit Historical Places in Philippines To Stroll Through History

historical places in philippines
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Being a melting pot of cultures and people, it’s no doubt that the historical places in Philippines captivate not just local travelers but also explorers across the world. 

From century old churches to bloody war zones, the historical sites in the Philippines never fail to amaze its visitors as they let us stroll through history.

20 Most Historical Sites in the Philippines

If you want to understand the country’s past beyond the history books, make sure to include these famous landmarks in the Philippines that will surely take you back in time.

  1. Aguinaldo Shrine – Located in Kawit, Cavite, this is where the first Philippine flag was waved for the first time. 
  2. Bagumbayan – The place where Dr. Jose Rizal was executed.
  3. Fort Santiago – This is where Dr. Jose Rizal was imprisoned before his execution. It’s also where some soldiers were held.
  4. Intramuros – The oldest and the historic core of Manila and built with defensive walls against foreign invasions, hence being called the Walled City.
  5. Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte – The place where Dr. Jose Rizal stayed for four years for his exile.
  6. EDSA Shrine – Where EDSA People Power Revolution took place to oust the then-dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
  7. Leyte Landing Memorial Park – The place where Gen. Douglas MacArthur landed and promised that he will help in freeing the Philippines.
  8. Biak na Bato – This is the place where Emilio Aguinaldo and other revolutionaries established the Biak-na-Bato Republic to be free from Spaniards.
  9. Barasoain Church – Three significant events in Philippine history occurred in the church.
  10. Mactan Shrine – This is the site of the Battle of Mactan.
  11. Corregidor Island – It was once the headquarters of allied Filipino and American forces who fought against the Japanese during World War II.
  12. Calle Crisologo – The famous cobblestone streets in the country and one of the world’s best-preserved Spanish colonial towns.
  13. Blood Compact Shrine – This Bohol tourist spot depicts the famed Sandugo moment. 
  14. Shrine of Valor – It is a memorial to all of the soldiers who died bravely in the battle against the Japanese forces and those who died during the Bataan Death March in World War II.
  15. Fort San Pedro – The oldest fort in the Philippines.
  16. Plaza Cuartel, Puerto Princesa – It served as a World War II garrison for Filipino and American soldiers
  17. Binondo, Manila – Home to the oldest Chinatown in the world.
  18. University of Santo Tomas – The oldest university in the Philippines.
  19. Limasawa, Southern Leyte – This is where the first documented Catholic mass in the Philippines was held.
  20. Tirad Pass, Ilocos Sur – It was the site of the 1899 Battle of Tirad Pass during the Philippine-American War. 

Read on to learn more about the Philippines’ history through these historical places.

1. Aguinaldo Shrine

aguinaldo shrine makasaysayang lugar sa pilipinas

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Located in Kawit, Cavite, the Aguinaldo Shrine was the home of the first and youngest president of the Republic of the Philippines, Emilio Aguinaldo. It’s a historical place in Philippines because it’s where the first Philippine flag was waved that symbolizes the country’s independence in 1898.

Now, it’s a famous tourist spot and houses some of Aguinaldo and his family’s memorabilia. What makes this place interesting is that you’ll realize how intelligent Aguinaldo was through the architecture of his house, revealing some secret hideouts and passages that were relevant during the time of war.

Highlights: 

  • It houses historic artifacts that are useful for research and educational purposes
  • The many secret passages and hiding places in the house

Entrance fee: Free, but donations are encouraged

2. Bagumbayan

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luneta park historical places in philippines

Also known as Luneta Park, Bagumbayan is one of the most historical attractions in the Philippines. This is because the Philippines’ National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal was executed here in 1896 after he fought for the country’s freedom from the Spaniards through his articles, essays, and novels.

Highlights:

  • The Rizal monument
  • A great place for strolls and picnic
  • A colorful dancing fountain

Entrance fee: Free

3. Fort Santiago

fort santiago intramuros

One of the most notable and important historical sites in the Philippines is Fort Santiago in Intramuros, Manila. It was the place where Dr. Jose Rizal was held in prison before his execution. Hundreds of lives were lost in this place during Spanish Colonial Period and World War II. Today, Fort Santiago is one of the major tourist spots for historical places in Manila and in the Philippines.

Highlights: 

  • View of scenic ruins caused by World War II
  • The dungeon of Fort Santiago

Entrance fee: P75 for adults; P50 for students, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities.

4. Intramuros

intramuros makasaysayang lugar sa pilipinas

A walk in and around Intramuros is like a stroll through history that’s why when talking about the top 10 historical places in the Philippines and historical places in Manila, Intramuros never misses the list. 

It’s the oldest and the historic core of Manila and built with defensive walls against foreign invasions, hence being called the Walled City. Here you can see the preserved Spanish colonial structures from government offices to residential areas and souvenir shops. 

Suggested article: A Guide to Intramuros Tour: 10 Places That Will Let You Travel Back in Time

Highlights: 

  • Lots of preserved Spanish colonial structures
  • Surrounded by other historic places like Fort Santiago
  • Can tour via bamboo bicycle, kales (horse carriage), or by foot.

Entrance fee: Free. But note that some tourist attractions in the area have entrance fees.

5. Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte

rizal shrine dapitan zamboanga

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

The Rizal Shrine in Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte is one of the most historical places in Mindanao. This is where Dr. Jose Rizal spent four years of exile when he was accused of planning the revolution against Spanish rule. 

Highlights: 

  • The Mi Retiro Rock where Rizal watched sunsets and where he wrote one of his most beautiful poems Mi Retiro.
  • Also perfect for nature-lovers

Entrance fee: Free

6. EDSA Shrine

edsa shrine manila

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Located at the crossroads of EDSA Avenue and Ortigas Avenue in Quezon City, EDSA Shrine, formally known as the Shrine of Mary, Queen of Peace (Our Lady of EDSA), is no doubt one of the most historical places in Luzon. 

This is where the historic and world-renowned People Power Revolution took place in 1896 to oust the then dictator Ferdinand Marcos and stop the Martial Law. The People Power Revolution is one of the world’s most historic events because the uprising was peaceful, bloodless, and successful.

Highlights: 

  • The 35 ft. tall image of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • Near shopping malls

Entrance fee: Free

7. Leyte Landing Memorial Park

macarthur Leyte Landing Memorial Park

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

The Leyte Landing Memorial Park, also known as the MacArthur Leyte Landing Memorial National Park is a protected area of the Philippines that commemorates the historic arrival of General Douglas MacArthur in Leyte Gulf to free the Philippines from Japanese occupation on October 20, 1944.

He also became famous for his lines “I shall return” and later on fulfilled his promise to the Philippines.

Highlight: 

  • The statues of Gen. Douglas MacArthur and his troops in the exact location where they landed

Entrance fee: Free

8. Biak na Bato

biak na bato

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Another historical place in Philippines is the Biak na Bato in San Miguel, Bulacan. This is the place where Emilio Aguinaldo and other revolutionaries established the Biak-na-Bato Republic to be free from Spaniards. 

Highlights: 

  • A hanging bridge
  • A clear river
  • Several caves including the exact place where the revolutionaries secretly established a republic

Entrance fee: P20

9. Barasoain Church

Barasoain Church makasaysayang lugar sa pilipinas

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Barasoain Church is not just an ordinary place for worship but also one of the most historical attractions in the Philippines because three significant events in Philippine history occurred in the church: the convening of the First Philippine Congress on September 15, 1898; the ratification of the Malolos Constitution on January 21, 1899; and the inauguration of the First Philippine Republic on January 23, 1899.

Highlight: 

  • The Museo ng Republika ng 1899 where you can enjoy several galleries that feature the historic events in town and the country.

Entrance fee: Free

10. Mactan Shrine

Mactan Shrine cebu

Photo credits to Gary Todd via Flickr

Mactan Shrine in Cebu has played a huge role in Philippine history. This is the site of the Battle of Mactan where Datu Lapu-Lapu defeated the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1521. The Mactan Shrine was built in honor of Lapu-Lapu.

Highlight: 

  • The 65 ft. bronze monument of Datu Lapu-Lapu

Entrance fee: Free

11. Corregidor Island

Corregidor Island makasaysayang lugar sa pilipinas

Photo credits to cisc1970 via Flickr

Corregidor is a small rocky island located at the entrance of Manila Bay. It was once the headquarters of allied Filipino and American forces who fought against the Japanese during World War II, and a witness to the braveries of these soldiers. While Japanese had occupied lots of places in the Philippines, they avoided Corregidor because of the fear for the huge canyons surrounding the place. 

Highlights: 

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  • The beautiful and historic ruins like Middleside Barracks and Batter Way
  • You can also see here Corregidor’s Longest Gun, Battery Hearn

Entrance fee: P200

horse carriage at calle crisologo in vigan

The list of famous historical landmarks in the Philippines isn’t complete without Vigan in it. And among the things that Vigan is well-known for is the Calle Crisologo where you can see cobblestone streets, intricate architecture, and horse carriages commonly known as kalesa. It’s one of the few Hispanic towns surviving in the Philippines and one of the best-preserved Spanish colonial towns in the world.

Must-read: Vigan City Guide: Traveling to The World’s Best-Preserved Spanish Colonial Town

Highlights: 

  • Cobblestone streets
  • Preserved Spanish colonial town
  • Many antique shops
  • Great food spots

Entrance fee: Free

13. Blood Compact Shrine

blood compact shrine bohol

The Sandugo or Blood Compact Shrine monument in Tagbilaran is a landmark at the site of the first international treaty of friendship between Spaniards and Filipinos. This Bohol tourist spot depicts Sikatuna and Legazpi at the famed Sandugo moment. 

Highlight: 

  • The iconic statue of men performing the traditional sandugo with an ocean view

Entrance fee: Free

14. Shrine of Valor

shrine of valor bataan

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Also known as the Mount Samat National Shrine, the Shrine of Valor in Bataan is a memorial to all of the soldiers who died bravely in battle against the Japanese forces and those who died during the Bataan Death March in World War II. Don’t miss this place as it’s one of the most beautiful Bataan historical places.

Highlights: 

  • The shrine consists of a large memorial cross and a colonnade
  • Accessible to and from the popular Las casas Filipinas de Acuzar

Entrance fee: P20

15. Fort San Pedro

fort san pedro cebu

Fort San Pedro is the oldest fort in the country and one of the most visited Cebu City tourist spots. Similar to Manila’s Fort Santiago, Fort San Pedro served as a military defense structure during the 17th century. Spanish conqueror Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, who founded the earliest settlement in Cebu, had the initiative to put up this. At Fort San Pedro, you’ll discover the history of Cebu, the Spanish government, and well-preserved Spanish artifacts. About 14 cannons can still be found in what has become a leisure park today. 

Must-read: Cebu Itinerary Guide: Best Places to Go & Must-Try Activities

Highlights: 

  • There’s a museum inside
  • Near other famous Cebu tourist spots

Entrance fee: P30

16. Plaza Cuartel, Puerto Princesa

Plaza Cuartel Puerto Princesa historical places in philippines

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Aside from being one of the world’s best islands, Palawan is also home to some famous landmarks in the Philippines like the Plaza Cuartel in Puerto Princesa. 

Then, it served as a World War II garrison for Filipino and American soldiers and now, the landmark serves as a memorial for prisoners of war who were burned alive in an underground tunnel. 

Highlights: 

  • Spots where soldiers were suffered and killed
  • A huge park perfect for a good walk

Entrance fee: Free

17. Binondo, Manila

binondo manila historical places in philippines

If you want to go on a food trip while seeing historical places in Manila, go to Binondo. Not only Binondo offers a great food adventure but it is also home to the oldest Chinatown in the world. From fried siopao, dim sum and roast duck to adventurous eats like frog legs, Binondo has just about everything your tummy could ever crave. 

It’s a popular tourist spot because of the amazing food spots in the area and affordable shopping places. 

Aside from the Chinatown, Binondo is also home to the historic Binondo Church built in the late 1600s. It was destroyed during World War II, in which only the facade, including the belfry and the Ongpin Street side, remained standing, and was reconstructed after the war.

Highlights: 

  • Lots of great food spots
  • Authentic Filipino and Chinese food
  • Instagrammable spots
  • Binondo Church
  • Chinatown 

Entrance fee: Free

18. University of Santo Tomas

University of Santo Tomas historical places in philippines

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

The list of old historical buildings in the Philippines is never complete without the University of Santo Tomas in Manila. Founded on April 28, 1611, the University of Santo Tomas is one of the oldest existing universities and holds the oldest extant university charter in the Philippines and in Asia. UST has produced four Presidents of the Philippines, namely Manuel L. Quezon, Sergio Osmeña, Jose P. Laurel, and Diosdado Macapagal; produced three Philippine Vice Presidents and six Chief Justices of the Philippine Supreme Court; and of course, the Philippine National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal where he studied medicine.

Highlights: 

  • The Arch of the Centuries
  • The UST Church

Entrance fee: Free

19. Tirad Pass, Ilocos Sur

Tirad Pass is not just a great spot for adventure-seekers but it’s also one of the most  historical places in Philippines as it was the site of the 1899 Battle of Tirad Pass during the Philippine-American War. 

Highlights: 

  • Amazing mountain views
  • Lush hills 

Entrance fee: Free

20. Limasawa, Southern Leyte

The town of Limasawa in Southern Leyte is one of the historical sites in the Philippines you shouldn’t miss. The first documented Catholic mass in the Philippines was held here on March 31, 1521 officiated by Father Pedro de Valderrama.

Highlights: 

  • Magellan’s Cross
  • Dakdak Beach
  • Limasawa Island Lagoon

Entrance fee: Free

They say past is past but we can’t and shouldn’t forget the past that shaped our present. The historical places in the Philippines show us how life is then and teach us how to shape the future through the learnings they have left.

If you want to have a staycation near these historical sites in the Philippines, make sure to book budget hotels at www.zenrooms.com to enjoy quality accommodation at an affordable price.

Frequently Asked Questions About Historical Places in Philippines

Q: What are the most historical places in Philippines?

A: If you want to understand the country’s past beyond the history books, make sure to include these historical buildings in the Philippines that will take you back in time.

  • Aguinaldo Shrine
  • Bagumbayan
  • Fort Santiago
  • Intramuros
  • Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte
  • EDSA Shrine
  • Leyte Landing Memorial Park
  • Biak na Bato
  • Barasoain Church
  • Mactan Shrine
  • Corregidor Island
  • Calle Crisologo
  • Limasawa, Southern Leyte
  • Blood Compact Shrine
  • Shrine of Valor
  • Fort San Pedro
  • Tirad Pass, Ilocos Sur
  • Plaza Cuartel, Puerto Princesa
  • Binondo, Manila
  • University of Santo Tomas

Q: What are the historical events in the Philippines?

A: Here are some of the most important historical events in the Philippines:

  1. 1542 – Spanish expedition claims the islands and names them the Philippines after the heir to the Spanish throne.
  2. 1872 – Execution of GomBurZa (Gomez, Burgos, Zamora-the three martyrs)
  3. 1889 – Founding of La Solidaridad
  4. 1896 – Dr. Jose Rizal was executed
  5. 1897 – Pact of Biak-na-Bato
  6. 1898 – Proclamation of Philippine Independence
  7. 1902 – Philippine-American War formally ends as US civil government replaces military rule
  8. 1941 – Japan seizes the Philippines
  9. 1942 – Fall of Bataan
  10. 1944 – US forces retake islands
  11. 1946 – Islands granted full independence and renamed Republic of the Philippines
  12. 1972 – Marcos declares martial law. 
  13. 1977 – Opposition leader Benigno Aquino sentenced to death, but Marcos delays execution
  14. 1983 – Aquino returns to the Philippines, but is shot dead as he leaves the plane amid suspicions of official military involvement
  15. 1986 – People Power Revolution to oust Marcos and stop the martial law

Q: What is famous in the Philippines?

A: Philippines is famous for its pristine beaches that led them to being named among the world’s best islands. The country is also known for the historic places, wonders of nature, and man-made creations.

Q: What is the oldest place in the Philippines?

A: Cebu is said to be the country’s oldest city. It was the first Spanish settlement and the first capital of the Philippines and the city is considered the birthplace of Christianity in the Far East.

Q: Who really discovered the Philippines?

A: Portugese explorer Ferdinand Magellan discovered the Philippines in 1521 and colonized by Spain from 1565 to 1898.

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