Manila Adventure: Intramuros

Our adventure today takes us to one of Manila's historical districts where one can see remnants of the Spanish colonial era Philippines. Join me as we go around Intramuros to check out what it has to offer.

Intramuros History

The name Intramuros came from the Latin prefix intra meaning inside and the Spanish word muros with means walls. Hence its other name Walled City. It is found at the mouth of the Pasig River and has very strategic importance for trade and defense. The land where Intramuros is now was once part of the tribal kingdom ruled by rajahs (native chieftains). 

Intramuros - The Walled City

It was sometime in 1570 when Spanish conquistadors arrived in what is now Manila after hearing that the area is rich in resources. Having superior weaponry and military tactics, the Spaniards then defeated and drove the natives out of their land. The leader of the Spaniards, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, then declared the area as the capital of the Spanish colony on June 24, 1571. A wall was built sometime in 1574 after the Chinese pirates led by Limahong attacked and destroyed the Spanish colony. The wall was upgraded in 1590 and constructions and fortifications were continually added until 1872. 

Throughout history, Intramuros was used as a headquarters by the invading countries. The British used it in 1762,  The Americans in 1901, and the Japanese in 1945. It has seen also witnessed a lot of destruction brought by man and by Mother Nature. 

Welcome to Intramuros

In 1951, Intramuros was declared as a historical monument with Republic Act 597. In 1979, the Intramuros Administration which currently maintains and manages Intramuros was created by virtue of Presidential Decree 1616. Today, Intramuros is probably the best, if not the nearest, place to visit if one wants to see how things were during the Spanish colonial period.

Places to See in Intramuros:

Fort Santiago

Memorial Cross Fort Santiago

Museo ni Rizal

Baluarte de San Diego

Former location of the Recoletos Church

Silahis Art and Artifacts Center

San Agustin Church

San Agustin Museum

Casa Manila

Palacio del Gobernador

Manila Cathedral

Former site of the Colegio de Santa Potenciana

Plaza de Roma

Plazuela de Sta Isabel - Memorare Manila 1945

King Philip of Spain Statue

Aduana ruins

Galleon Trade Commemorative Marker at Plaza Mexico

Manila - Acapulco Commemorative Marker at Plaza Mexico

Queen Isabel II near the Puerta de Isabel entrance

Starbucks Intramuros

Baluarte de San Andres

Other Places to Visit:

  • Bahay Tsinoy
  • Plaza de Armas
  • San Ignacio Church
  • Mananzan Handicrafts
  • Bagumbayan Lights and Sounds Museum
  • National Commission for Culture and the Arts Gallery
  • Fr. George J. Willman, SJ Museum
  1. Visiting late at night or going to dark alleyways. (Be very vigilant)
  2. Overspending by listing down your expenses.
  3. Accidents by observing traffic and establishment rules.

1 Day Walking Tour Itinerary:

Just a heads up, this itinerary does not include travel time from your place to Intramuros.

8AM - Arrival in Intramuros

8:30AM  until 10:30 AM - tour of Fort Santiago and Rizal Museum

10:40AM - 11AM - short visit/ shopping at Mananzan Handicrafts

11AM - 12NN - lunch at any nearby fast food or restaurants

12NN - 1PM - tour Manila Cathedral with a quick viewing of the facades of Palacio del Gobernador and Bureau of Treasury buildings.

1PM - 1:30PM - quick visits to Casa Manila and Memorare Manila 1945 at Plazuela de Sta. Isabel

1:30PM -  2:30PM - tour Bahay Tsinoy 

2:30PM - 2:50PM - walk towards San Agustin Church

2:50PM - 4:30PM - tour San Agustin Church and museum

4:30PM - 4:50PM - walk towards Baluarte de San Diego

4:50PM - 5:30PM - tour Baluarte de San Diego

5:40PM - head home

Intramuros Rates:

The rates do not include the transportation rates from your house to Intramuros and back

Fort Santiago entrance fee - P100 pax
Bahay Tsinoy entrance fee - P100 adults/pax ; P60 children/pax
San Agustin Museum entrance fee - P100 adults/pax; P80 senior citizen/pax; P40 children/pax
Baluarte de San Diego entrance fee - P75 pax
Food -P200 pax*

Total: P575 pax

*Maybe smaller or bigger depending on the food budget

Getting to Intramuros:

Once in Manila, ride a jeepney going to the city hall. Once there, Intramuros is just a 10 -15 minutes walk away.


Overall ratings


  1. Ah Intramuros! It is the most beautiful spot in Manila in my opinion and it will always be my favorite, I went to Lyceum of the Philippines so I know the ins and outs of Intramuros. I still remember walking over its cobble-stoned pathways, eating in nearby carinderias, buying food from side walk vendors, and of course, etc. I used to frequent the Starbucks there with my classmates and we also used to visit Fort Santiago and the churches whenever time permitted. Also, Intramuros is one of the best spots for photography. I wanna go back there soon to do a ghost walk.

    1. I just hope that the new infrastructures built here will have the same Spanish colonial era design to maintain the ambiance of the place. I hope that a tram would also be installed here and jeepneys and cars be prohibited. That would surely make this place a must visit in the Philippines.

  2. Nice recap of Intramuros' rich history. The Spanish influence and legacy are very much evident in the different structures still in existent. I knew of only 2 or 3 attractions in Intramuros and I'm surprised to learn of so many interesting sights. Need to explore more of Intramuros if ever I have the chance.

    1. Hello Ash. That's true. There are plenty more that I haven't visited yet. I also wish to explore Intramuros again soon.

  3. This made me remember my last trip in Manila last year. I really wanted to see Intramuros and experience walking over its cobble-stoned pathways while knowing the rich history of the place. I find this place very interesting and I guess, every Filipino should have traipsed their feet here. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

    1. Hi Laiariel. I agree. This place should be a required place to visit for every Filipino.

  4. Amazing, this place looks like an architectural beauty that must be visited for sure. I have all plans to travel to Manila and I will keep your post handy to plan day itinerary. I loved the Church and Baluarte de San Diego

    1. Hi Aditi. Please do visit Intramuros before going to the beach if you're in the Philippines. It is something that you should do. =)


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