Known as the “Walled City,” Intramuros is a place rich in history and culture. With its cobbled streets and preserved architecture dated hundreds of years ago, it will have you second-guessing whether you are still in the Philippines or not. That is why many foreigners and locals never miss an Intramuros tour when in the city. 

In between the walls of Intramuros is the mark that 300 years of Spanish rule have left in the form of grand churches and colonial houses. While you can just wander the streets on your own, the best way to get a deeper understanding of the country’s history is with a historic Intramuros walking tour

Top 10 Amazing Spots to Visit for Your Intramuros Tour

Intramuros is a beautiful place every traveler must visit. Here are some of the best Intramuros tourist spots to check out:

  1. Fort Santiago – The place in Intramuros where Dr. Jose Rizal was imprisoned before his execution
  2. Manila Cathedral – This Intramuros Manila tourist spot is the first cathedral in the Philippines
  3. San Agustin Church – The oldest church in the Philippines
  4. Casa Manila – An IG-worthy Intramuros Manila attraction
  5. Silahis Center – An Intramuros Manila attraction where Filipinos’ creativity is showcased
  6. Baluarte De San Diego – It used to be a drowning chamber during the Spanish era
  7. Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant – An Intramuros restaurant that serves authentic Filipino food
  8. Light and Sound Museum – Where you can learn music and Intramuros history
  9. Museo de Intramuros – The best place to discover the Intramuros history
  10. Bahay Tsinoy – Features life-sized dioramas of Chinese traders, goldsmiths, and more

What’s inside this blog?

In this Intramuros guide, we will tell you the top famous and offbeat spots that will definitely give you chills and make your heart skip a beat!

Intramuros Tourism Guidelines 2022 | COVID-19 Updates

As of July 2022, all tourists are welcome to visit Intramuros. However, only those who are vaccinated are allowed to enter indoor sites.

For more Intramuros Manila travel updates, visit Intramuros Administration’s Facebook Page


Places to visit in Intramuros

Given the many astounding places to visit in Intramuros, it could take us a day to list them down so we will just give you our top picks for an easy guide!

1. Fort Santiago

fort santiago

 

Fort Santiago Intramuros is the oldest Hispanic stone fortress in the Philippines, making it a notable Intramuros tourist spot. There are kalesa or carriages, old dungeons, an old theater, and gardens surrounding Fort Santiago Intramuros to keep your eyes and ears busy as you take in all the history. The good news here is, the government has opened its dungeons for the public so visitors can explore the dungeons that were used as storage vaults and powder magazines of the Baluarte de Santa Barbara, a stone structure constructed in 1592. During World War II, the dungeons were used by Japanese troops to imprison resistance fighters and political prisoners. Make sure to not miss this when you’re in Intramuros.

2. Manila Cathedral

 

The Manila Cathedral in Intramuros is the Premier Church of the Philippines as it was the first-ever cathedral in the country. This Intramuros tourist spot we see today is not the original structure. Actually, the cathedral has been through a lot but stands still. It has been a witness to a history that is worthy to tell to every generation— from ups and downs to wars and love stories. The Manila Cathedral is surely one of the best places to visit in Manila.

3. San Agustin Church

san agustin church manila

 

Another must-visit place in Intramuros is the San Agustin Church. It is the oldest stone church in the Philippines and the only church which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Manila. You’ll be amazed at the masterpiece painted on its ceilings. Built in 1595, San Agustin Manila, officially known as the Church of the Immaculate Conception of San Agustin, makes a great Intramuros tourist spot. It exhibits remarkable features such as retablos (altars) of high Baroque style and wall buttresses separating cripto collateral chapels. What makes it unique is its ceiling paintings in the tromp l’oeil style. It is also the only church that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Manila. And one amazing fact to know about San Agustin Church is that the Philippines’ first governor-general, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, is buried there. To know more about San Agustin Church’s history, read this blog

4. Casa Manila

casa manila

 

Ever wondered how the rich lived during the Spanish era in the Philippines? Go to Casa Manila and you’ll find out. The main attraction of this Intramuros tourist spot is a fully-furnished home-turned-museum that shows how Filipinos lived during the colonial era. While every corner is beautiful and Instagrammable, visitors are not allowed to take photos. When inside, walk only on the carpeted areas so that you do not damage the wooden floors. Of all the luxurious furniture in Casa Manila, the most notable are the toilets. Apparently, in the old days, toilets were built in twos or more to allow people to sit beside each other and chat while they did their business. Casa Manila also shows how beautiful Intramuros at night is. This spot is also one of the most romantic destinations in Intramuros.

5. Silahis Center

silahis center

 

Make sure to also include Silahis in your Intramuros tour! It is a place that emphasizes the Filipino’s creativity showcased through various products made from wood, shells, and other native materials that you can buy as souvenirs. There are also antiques, artifacts, and other Filipino artworks available in the store. So if you fancy antiques, drop by at this Intramuros tourist spot.

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6. Baluarte De San Diego

baluarte de san diego intramuros

 

Another attraction that shows the beautiful facade of the Intramuros Philippines is Baluarte de San Diego. This used to be a drowning chamber during the Spanish era. It was built and designed by the Jesuit priest Antonio Sedeno in the late 1580s. Its main feature is the circular dungeon called Fort Nuestra Señora de Guia. Today, Baluarte de San Diego is surrounded by beautiful gardens, adorned with lush plants, pathways, fountains, and an attractive pergola that will remind you of fantasy land. That is why it has become a popular place for weddings, family parties, and other special occasions.

7. Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant

barbaras restaurant manila

 

Intramuros Manila never disappoints our history and sightseeing cravings but other than these, it’s also a good place to find the top restaurants in Manila. One of these is Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant Intramuros. If you’re looking for authentic Filipino food to add to your historical day trip, Barbara’s is the perfect place to go to. Try all of the dishes from their grand buffet, while enjoying cultural dance performances. Plus, Barbara’s is a perfect place for a romantic date that will give you the best vibe of Intramuros at night.

8. Light and Sound Museum

light and sound museum intramuros

 

Unlike other museums in and out of Intramuros Manila that cater to hundreds of visitors at the same time, only groups of 10 people are allowed into the Bagumbayan Light and Sound Museum. For someone who loves history or just fancy adding knowledge, this Intramuros attraction is perfect. Its one-hour show about the story of Jose Rizal from his early life to his execution, which combines different visual effects, soundtracks, and other technologies is a perfect treat for you.

9. Museo de Intramuros

museo de intramuros

 

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

If you want to indulge in more history about Intramuros, make sure to visit Museo de Intramuros that was built to share more about the Walled City’s past. It houses about 500 religious artifacts found in old churches near and around the Walled City in the Philippines. It is located in two important reconstructions inside the walled city: the San Ignacio Church and Convent and the Mission House of the Society of Jesus. 

10. Bahay Tsinoy

 

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

It’s not just the Spanish that had great influences in the Philippines but also the Chinese have had a rich history. In Bahay Tsinoy located in the Walled City in the Philippines a.k.a. Intramuros, you can see the life-sized dioramas of Chinese traders, goldsmiths, and more. The most interesting masterpiece in the museum is a sari-sari store that played an important role in the lives of early Chinese settlers in the Philippines.

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Best Time to Visit

Dry Season | December to May
Like other destinations in the country, Intramuros is best visited during the dry season when it’s sunny. This is so you can explore the attractions and learn more about the Intramuros history without any distractions.

Holiday Season | September to December 
The holiday season in the Philippines is among the most fun in the world because as you know, the Philippines celebrate the longest Christmas in the world. To have an amazing experience, you wouldn’t regret visiting Intramuros during the holiday season where the roads at night are bright and lively carols and locals are everywhere.


How to go to Intramuros

bambike intramuros

 

If you’re asking how to go to Intramuros, we got you covered! Intramuros location is very easy to access given the many transportation options available. To get to Intramuros, you can either take the LRT-1 (light-rail transit) or the jeepney going in.

When choosing the LRT-1, alight at the Central Terminal Station, then walk five minutes to Manila City Hall. From there, walk to the pedestrian underpass that takes you across Padre de Burgos Street. Immediately upon exiting the underpass, you’ll see Victoria Street, which curves right through the Intramuros walls.

The easiest way on how to go to Intramuros is by taxi or Grab; however, it’s pricier than commuting.

When inside Intramuros, it will be easy to explore it as most of the sights are within a 10- to 15-minute walk away. You can do an Intramuros tour by riding a horse carriage, pedicab, walking, or bamboo bike Intramuros

Intramuros is truly a one-of-a-kind place that every traveler must visit in the Philippines. Not only it boasts stunning attractions that are definitely captivating but it also bridges as to the past that allows us to discover what it’s like to live in the Philippines hundreds of years ago.


Where to stay in Manila

  1. ZEN Rooms V Plaza Manila – Starts at P760/night
  2. Aloha Hotel – Starts at P3000/night
  3. Meaco Royal Hotel Tayuman – P1353/night

Sample Itinerary: Intramuros Manila Trip

08:00 am – Fort Santiago
08:30 am – Baluarte De San Diego
09:00 am – Manila Cathedral
09:30 am – San Agustin Church
10:00 am – Casa Manila
11:00 am – Silahis Center
12:00 pm – Lunch at Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant
01:00 pm – Light and Sound Museum
02:00 pm – Museo de Intramuros
03:00 pm Bahay Tsinoy


Travel Tips for those Visiting Intramuros

  1. Don’t wear too many flashy things that attract the eyes or snatchers such as expensive jewelry.
  2. Always mind your belongings especially when you’re taking photos of the attractions.
  3. Check for weather updates before exploring the Intramuros location.
  4. Always allot time allowance for every destination you’re visiting.
  5. Wear sunscreen!
  6. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Some roads in Intramuros are cobblestone so it might be challenging to walk on high heels.
  7. Bond with the locals. They are kind!
  8. Have fun!

Make sure to book hotels near Intramuros at www.zenrooms.com to enjoy high-quality accommodation at a very affordable price! You’ll definitely have a comfortable and hassle-free stay after your Intramuros tour when you choose ZEN Rooms! 🙂


Frequently Asked Questions About Intramuros Tour

Q: Is there an entrance fee in Intramuros?
A: There is no admission fee to enter the Intramuros district, but note that some attractions, such as Fort Santiago and San Agustin, charge a small entrance fee.

Q: Is Intramuros open today?
A: Yes Intramuros is open today. The gates open 24 hours but only authorized persons outside their residence (APOR) and workers will be allowed to access Intramuros during curfew hours (8pm-5am).

Q: Is Intramuros open at night?
A: Intramuros is open at night and in fact, offers a romantic vibe. But note that some attractions are closed from 6pm onwards. Intramuros at night is a sight not to miss!

Q: What are the best places to visit in Intramuros?
A: Intramuros is a beautiful place every traveler must visit. Here are some of the best Intramuros tourist spots to check out: 

  1. Fort Santiago
  2. Manila Cathedral
  3. San Agustin Church
  4. Casa Manila
  5. Silahis Center
  6. Baluarte De San Diego
  7. Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant
  8. Light and Sound Museum
  9. Museo de Intramuros
  10. Bahay Tsinoy

Q: Why should we visit Intramuros?
A: Many travelers never miss Intramuros when in Manila because of its rich history and the amazing preserved areas that were affected by World war II. 

Q: What is the Walled City in the Philippines?
A: Intramuros. The Intramuros Manila description is “The Walled City”

Q: What is the LRT station near Intramuros?
A: The LRT station near Intramuros is Central Terminal Station. From there, it’s just a five-minute walk to the walled city Philippines. Start discovering the best Intramuros tourist spot.

Q: What does Intramuros mean?
A: Intramuros Manila history dates back hundreds of years ago but for starters, you just have to know the Intramuros meaning which is “within walls” that’s why it’s called the Walled City.

Q: How much is the Kalesa ride in Intramuros?
A: A Kalesa ride in Intramuros costs around PHP 350 to PHP 500 for 30 minutes. The trip will take you to a number of historical landmarks in the former seat of government of colonial Philippines, including Baluarte de San Diego, Plaza Mexico, and Puerto Real. A walking tour is also a great way to see what Intramuros is offering you.

Disclaimer: ZEN Rooms claims no credit for images featured on our blog site unless otherwise noted. All visual content is copyrighted to its respectful owners. We try to link back to original sources whenever possible. If you own the rights to any of the images, and do not wish them to appear on ZEN Rooms, please contact us and they will be promptly removed. We believe in providing proper attribution to the original author, artist or photographer.

Fort Santiago, as many already know, is a popular tourist attraction in the Philippines. But what it is now—a beautiful and remarkable tourist spot—owes it to the horrifying stories that took place centuries ago. And these stories are not like any other as these will definitely give you goosebumps. Hint: it’s like you’re starring in a horror or thriller film.

About Fort Santiago

fort santiago manila

Fort Santiago was a fortress built in the late 1500s by the Spanish government during the colonization of Manila, as part of Intramuros. It served as a storage for ammunition, and converted into a prison cell for activists and the political resistance. One of the most famous names imprisoned here was Philippines’ National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal before his public execution. Fort Santiago Intramuros was also used during the World War II for formidable purposes—the Japanese kept soldiers and political prisoners in the dungeons to torture and execute.

That’s why this place remains one of the most notable and important historical sites in the Philippines.

What’s inside this blog?

If you’re someone who enjoys thrilling adventures, this Fort Santiago information will definitely interest you so read on.

Fort Santiago History

fort santiago dungeons

Photo credits to Intramuros Administration

Fort Santiago Intramuros was constructed to serve as one of the Spaniards’ main defense lines. 

The old Fort Santiago was made of logs and earth, and was destroyed in 1574 after the Chinese pirate Lin Feng (Limahong) launched an almost successful siege of Manila. The Spanish army repelled the attack, but realized it was too damp so they rebuilt it in stone. The present Fort Santigao pictures you see was built in 1593 and was already constructed using volcanic tuff (adobe). 

Then, the Spaniards converted it into a prison cell for the resistance fighters and political prisoners. Among the most notable prisoners in Fort Santiago was Jose Rizal. He was imprisoned before his execution on December 30, 1896.

The cells could hold about a hundred people at most, but after World War II, almost 600 decomposing bodies were found piled on top of each other inside Fort Santiago.

Fort Santiago Intramuros has been a National Shrine and National Monument since 1951, and a National Cultural Treasure since 2014.

Fort Santiago Dungeon

fort santiago dungeons

Photo credits to Intramuros Administration

In January 2020, the government opened the Fort Santiago Dungeon to the public for a complete experience. By touring the dungeon, visitors will see the actual places of where the significant and horrifying events happened. 

At the baluarte, you will notice a marble cross that serves as a marker for the mass grave where the 600 people were buried. For you to enter the dungeon, you will have to squat since the entrance is small.

The dungeon is open from 2pm to 10pm daily.

Fort Santiago Location

Fort Santiago is located in Intramuros, Manila. You can easily access it by foot, bicycle, and kalesa. Here is a Fort Santiago map to guide you.

How to Get There

Fort Santiago Intramuros is very easy to access given the many transportation options available. To get there, you can either take the LRT-1 (light-rail transit) or the jeepney going in.

When choosing the LRT-1, alight at the Central Terminal Station, then walk five minutes to Manila City Hall. From there, walk to the pedestrian underpass that takes you across Padre de Burgos Street. Immediately upon exiting the underpass, you’ll see Victoria Street, which curves right through the Intramuros walls.

The easiest way on how to go to Intramuros is by taxi or Grab; however, it’s pricier than commuting.

When inside Intramuros, it will be easy to explore it as most of the sights are within a 10- to 15-minute walk away. You can do an Intramuros tour by riding a horse carriage, pedicab, walking, or bamboo bike Intramuros.

Rates and Other Information in Visiting

Fort Santiago entrance fee: PHP 75 for adults; PHP 50 for students, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities.

Fort Santiago operation hours: 8am to 6pm daily; Fort Santiago Dungeons (2pm to 10pm)

Tourist Spots Near Fort Santiago

If you’re done exploring inside Fort Santiago, here are some tourist attractions in Intramuros that you can also visit after your trip to Fort Santiago.

Manila Cathedral

manila cathedral for fort santiago blog

The Manila Cathedral is the Premier Church of the Philippines as it was the first-ever cathedral in the country. The cathedral we see today is not the original structure. Actually, the cathedral has been through a lot but stands still. It has been a witness to a history that is worthy to tell to every generation— from ups and downs to wars and love stories. 

San Agustin Church

san agustin church manila

Another must-visit in Intramuros is the San Agustin Church. It is the oldest church in the Philippines and the only church which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Manila. Built in 1595, San Agustin Manila, officially known as Church of the Immaculate Conception of San Agustin, is the oldest church in the Philippines. It exhibits remarkable features such as retablos (altars) of high Baroque style and wall buttresses separating cripto collateral chapels. What makes it unique is its ceiling paintings in the tromp l’oeil style. It is also the only church that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Manila. You should also know that the Philippines’ first governor-general, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, is buried there. To know more about San Agustin Church’s history, read this blog

Casa Manila

casa manila intramuros

Ever wondered how the rich lived during the Spanish era in the Philippines? Go to Casa Manila and you’ll find out. Its main attraction is a fully-furnished home-turned-museum that shows how Filipinos lived during the colonial era. The place is beautiful however, visitors are not allowed to take photos. When inside, walk only on the carpeted areas so that you do not damage the wooden floors. Of all the luxurious furniture in Casa Manila, the most notable are the toilets. Apparently, in the old days, toilets were built in twos or more to allow people to sit beside each other and chat while they did their business.

Baluarte De San Diego

intramuros makasaysayang lugar sa pilipinas

Baluarte de San Diego used to be a drowning chamber during the Spanish era. It was built and designed by the Jesuit priest Antonio Sedeno in the late 1580s. Its main feature is the circular dungeon called Fort Nuestra Señora de Guia. Today, Baluarte de San Diego is surrounded by beautiful gardens, adorned with lush plants, pathways, fountains, and an attractive pergola that will remind you of fantasy land. That is why it has become a popular place for weddings, family parties, and other special occasions. It’s just walking distance from the location of Fort Santiago Rizal.

Where to stay

In case you’re planning a quick getaway just around Manila, here are the places you can book for safe staycations in Manila

1. ZEN Rooms V Plaza Manila

v plaza manila

Go for a safe hotel staycation in Manila without worrying about your wellbeing, and of course, your budget. ZEN Rooms V Plaza Manila is a perfect place for those looking for a cheap staycation in Manila.

Address: 3003 Juan Luna St., Gagalangin, Tondo, Manila

Tourist spots near the hotel: Chinatown, Divisoria, 168 Shopping Mall, Intramuros, Escolta, Quiapo Church

Ideal for: Backpackers, Traders, Young Professionals, Business, Leisure

Amenities: 24h Security, Parking, Baggage Storage, Shared Lounge / TV Area, Designated Smoking Area, Concierge, Air Conditioning, Hot Shower, Free WiFi, Flat Screen TV, Private Bathroom, Cable TV Channel, Window in the Room, Study Desk, Bath Gel/Soap, Shampoo, Bidet

Price from PHP 800/night

Check-in note: No age restriction

Book now

2. Slouch Hat Inn Manila

Slouch Hat Inn Manila

Now this one’s really perfect if you’re coming straight from Rizal Park tagalog. This hotel features a hotel bar and restaurant, rooms with complete amenities, and more. The location of the hotel is along the main street of the city, a few minutes away from historical places in the country, like Intramuros.

Address: 1112-1116 M.H. Del Pilar St., Ermita, Manila

Tourist spots near the hotel: Manila Baywalk, Manuel Roxas Monument, Museo Marino, Intramuros, Rizal Park description

Amenities: 24h Front Desk, 24h Room Service, Hotel Restaurant, Hotel Bar, Designated Smoking Area, Baggage Storage, Air Conditioning, Hot Shower, Free WiFi, Flat Screen TV, Cable TV Channel, Fridge, In-Room Safe

Price from PHP 930/night

Book now

3. Baymont Suites & Residences

Baymont Suites & Residences

If you want to experience the best staycation in Manila, consider booking a stay at Baymont Suites & Residences. What makes it better than other hotel staycation Manila is that it’s just near the airport and many tourist attractions!

Address: 3992 Airport Road cor. Mactan St. Baclaran, Parañaque City

Tourist spots near the hotel: Baclaran Church, Manila Baywalk, SM Mall of Asia, Ayala Malls Manila Bay, Manila Ocean Park, Ninoy Aquino International Airport

Amenities: 24h Room Service, Airport Shuttle (Extra Cost), Ironing Facilities, Baggage Storage, 24h Security, SPA (Massage), No Parking, Air Conditioning, Hot Shower, Free WiFi, Non Smoking Room, Flat Screen TV, Private Bathroom, Cable TV Channel, Window in The Room, Bottled Water, Coffee & Tea, Kettle

Price from PHP 2,100/night

Check-in note: Valid ID and fill out health declaration form upon check-in

Book now

Frequently Asked Questions About Fort Santiago

Q: Is there an entrance fee in Intramuros?

A: There is no admission fee to enter the Intramuros district, but note that some attractions such as Fort Santiago charge a small entrance fee.

Q: What can you see in Fort Santiago?

A: You can admire Fort Santiago tagalog both from the inside and out. You can see a re-creation of Jose Rizal’s cell, the courtroom where his trial was held, and the actual dungeons where some horrifying events happened.

Q: Why is Fort Santiago important?

A: The history of Fort Santiago plays an important role as this was the site of some of the Philippines’ most historic events like Rizal’s imprisonment and the colonizers’ torture to Filipinos and Americans.

Q: What did Rizal do in Fort Santiago?

A: Rizal was imprisoned in Fort Santiago before his execution on December 30, 2896. 

Q: What are the best places to visit in Intramuros?

A: Intramuros is a beautiful place every traveler must visit. Here are some of the best Intramuros tourist spots to check out: 

  1. Fort Santiago tagalog
  2. Manila Cathedral
  3. San Agustin Church
  4. Casa Manila
  5. Silahis Center
  6. Baluarte De San Diego
  7. Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant
  8. Light and Sound Museum
  9. Museo de Intramuros
  10. Bahay Tsinoy

Must-read: A Guide to Intramuros Tour: 10 Places That Will Let You Travel Back in Time

Disclaimer: ZEN Rooms claims no credit for images featured on our blog site unless otherwise noted. All visual content is copyrighted to its respectful owners. We try to link back to original sources whenever possible. If you own the rights to any of the images, and do not wish them to appear on ZEN Rooms, please contact us and they will be promptly removed. We believe in providing proper attribution to the original author, artist or photographer.