Explore Manila’s majestic Intramuros Walled City via night tour

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Instramuros Walled City
Intramuros visitors can now enjoy the experience of Fort Santiago dungeons at night until 10pm. Photo from Intramuros Administration.

The famous Walled City of Intramuros in Manila is a popular tourist destination— in fact, 2.12 million tourists flocked there in the first semester of 2019 alone.

In late 2019 towards 2020, the Intramuros Administration (IA) revealed new renovations in the iconic national landmark that saw a flurry of increased nightly activities at the former Spanish colonial fortress – that, thankfully for those afraid of ghostly wartime stories, are of the human kind.

The buzz about the new experience of Intramuros by Night prompted Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat to take a night tour with IA chief Guiller Asido.

“The Walled City shines brighter than ever with new lights, more sights, and wide open spaces. Come see Intramuros, Manila at night for a whole new experience!” posted DOT Secretary Puyat on her Facebook on January 23, 2020.

Intramuros has undergone various renovations and rebuildings from its Spanish conception in 1521, and has withstood various wars, occupations, and natural disasters. Intramuros Administration Head Guiller Asido says that after four years of renovations, both foundational and aesthetical, visitors can see the Walled City in a new light— literally.

Among the said renovations, they had begun lighting up walkways and trees in order to open up the district until late in the night, unlike in the past where they closed the area by late afternoon. Asido says, “Lighting these areas up has given them a new life. The lights [help] dispel the gloom.”

Dispelling the gloom in this area heavy with history is a boon to visitors, both foreign and local. With the reinforcement of foundations, previously closed areas have now been opened, some of which the Intramuros Administration predicts would be popular tourist spots.

One such example would be Fort Santiago’s dungeons. Once security is installed, daring visitors can venture through the cells that once held hundreds of prisoners and captives. Another location of interest could be an old escape route called the Postigo de la Nuestra Señora de Soledad, which overlooks Pasig River.

To further make the area welcoming, they had converted an open plaza from a parking area into a wide, verdant garden, as well as addressed infrastructure problems in areas like the walls and the sewage system. These improvements have proven a boon to those who want to go on historical sightseeing or adventure, or even just a casual hangout. Services like Intramuros After Dark are advertising walking tours at night around Intramuros, whose atmosphere becomes cool at night.

Intramuros offers the Philippine Presidents’ Gallery walkway lit up at night. Photo from Intramuros Administration Facebook

Popular reel and real life celebrity couple Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo posted about their walks around the illuminated city in social media, showcasing casual views into life in history.

In Intramuros, there are many attractions founded on historical heritage, be it hotels or museums. Bahay Tsinoy, for example, houses Philippine-Chinese influence and culture; and tourists can spot historical houses like the “bahay na bato” within the city’s walls.

SEND CHEERS in the comments below to visitors and managers of the Intramuros for opening up the historical landmark for nightly tours!

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Io Carpiso
Io is a high school student and amateur writer who tends to look at the future idealistically despite others' warnings. A book enthusiast, she wants to make her words substantial in this world and to lift up others with her work.