San Diego de Alcala Fortress - Quezon

Located in Gumaca in the province of Quezon, San Diego de Alcala Fortress is a historical Spanish structure that is recognized as a National Treasure by the National Historical Institute (NHI) since 1981.

Kastilyo ng Gumaca / Kutang San Diego
San Diego de Alcala Fortress

San Diego de Alcala Fortress History

Also known to locals as Kastilyo or Kutang San Diego, the fortress was constructed sometime in the 1680s or 1690s. It was due to the suggestion and leadership of a Franciscan priest named Fray Francisco Coste that the fortress was constructed in the town. Its main purpose was to guard the town from marauding pirates attacking towns in Lamon Bay. Aside from that, it also served as the primary defense of the town against the invading Dutch in the 1700s. 

San Diego de Alcala Fortress - Gumaca, Quezon Province

San Diego de Alcala Fortress as seen from the bridge going in the town

Kastilyo ng Gumaca
Close up of San Diego de Alcala Fortress

As a defensive structure, the fortress still has some of its cannons intact. Aside from that, it was said that there used to be an existing tunnel between the fortress and the San Diego de Alcala Church (Cathedral). However, its entrance, the well located in the fort's platform, is now covered (for safety purposes). Historically, there were four fortresses built in the different towns in the bay area of the province, however, due to the acts of God and the destructiveness of man, only the Kutang San Diego and Iskong Bantay in Atimonan remained to this day. 

The facade of Kutang San Diego looks like a shouting man

The Spanish seal

Kastilyo ng Gumaca
San Diego de Alcala Fortress NHI Marker

My sister checking out if there are pirates nearby

Inside the fort

Cannons ready for battle

Kuta San Diego as seen from the bay area

Another view of the fortification

The stairs going up the structure

Today, the San Diego de Alcala Fortress stands as a silent reminder of Spain's former dominion of the town. Some of its cannons are still pointed out to the bay waiting for an attack that would probably never come. Although maintained, the fortress has evident signs of restorations and "upgrades". The most evident of which is the metal gate that blocks anyone from easily getting in and out of the fortress. 

My cousin shot me and I shot her. Hahaha!

Lucky for us, the caretaker of the fortress was in the area during our visit. He told me that the gates are required to protect the National Treasure from people who might vandalize it. That reminds me of the crazy people who used the historical Iskong Bantay in Atimonan, Quezon as their toilet. Despite these additions, Kutang San Diego is still a must-see and visit place in Gumaca.

Kastilyo ng Gumaca
Ready... aim...

Update: I got the chance to revisit San Diego de Alcala Fortress in mid-May 2016 as part of the Experience Quezon 2016 Media Tour. I was lucky enough to see it amidst the ongoing festival of the town. I'm happy to say that the fortress underwent a restorative paint job which makes it look better than the first time I saw it.

Update: The National Museum of the Philippines declared the San Diego de Alcala Fortress (Kutang San Diego) a National Cultural Treasure under the Museum Declaration No. 54-2020. 

San Diego de Alcala Fortress Admission Fee:

The local government of Gumaca does not charge an admission fee to visit San Diego de Alcala Fortress / the Kastilyo ng Gumaca. In short, it's FREE to visit. 

San Diego de Alcala Fortress Opening Hours:

Visitors can enter it anytime before, however, due to irresponsible people, it's now mostly closed. If you want to enter it, you have to coordinate with the local barangay.

Why visit San Diego de Alcala Fortress?

San Diego de Alcala Fortress is one of the historical places that you can visit for free in Gumaca. You can go in it to get a nicer view of Lamon Bay

Getting to San Diego de Alcala Fortress:

From Manila, Cubao, or Alabang ride a bus heading to Naga City or Legaspi City. Tell the conductor to drop you off at Gumaca poblacion. San Diego de Alcala Fortress is just a few blocks away from the town hall and the church you won't miss it.

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