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At the tip of the delta near the entrance of the Pasig River stands Fort Santiago. It is named in honor of Spanish patron saint James, Slayer of Moors (Santiago Matamoros), whose wooden relief decorates the main gate to the fort. Fort Santiago served as the military headquarters of the Spanish, British, American and Japanese regimes. During World War II, it was a dreaded place where hundreds of men and women were jailed, tortured and executed by the Japanese military police; the Kempeitai. It was destroyed by American forces during the 1945 Battle of Manila, and was restored as a public park after the Congress of the Philippines declared it a “Shrine of Freedom” in 1950. Upon entering the fort, one will see the walls of the Almacenes Reales or Royal Warehouses, where the Spaniards stored the goods brought in by the galleons. Across Plaza Moriones, a public promenade until it was fenced off by the Spanish military in 1864 is the Intramuros Visitors Center. The IVC is housed at the chambers of the Baluartillo de San Francisco Javier, which kept military supplies when it was built in 1663. The Reducto de San Francisco Javier was added in 1773. Next to the picnic area and refreshment kiosk is the archeological excavation of Artilleria de Maestranza, a foundry which cast cannons and ammunition during the Spanish period. In front of the main gate of Fort Santiago is the Moat, the first line of defense surrounding the fortified city with water. Baluartes de San Francisco and San Miguel guarded the fort from the river and the bay respectively. The Plaza Armas was the fort’s main square, which was probably the site of the Tagalog settlement of Maynilad, the palisaded kingdom of Rajah Sulayman.To the right is the Dulaang Rajah Sulayman, an adobe barracks building now used as a theater. At the left side of the building is the chapel-cell where Philippine National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal spent his last day on earth. The brass shoeprints trace the path of Rizal when he walked to...
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