Intramuros to open Fort Santiago, Baluarte de San Diego to visitors May 17

Photo of the Manila Cathedral courtesy of Intramuros Administration

The historic Walled City of Intramuros will open two of its most popular sites to visitors on Monday (May 17) following the easing of quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila and neighboring provinces.

Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said Fort Santiago and Baluarte de San Diego will be open to limited capacity and shortened operating hours under strict health and safety guidelines.

Puyat made the announcement today (May 16) following the decision of the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to place the National Capital Region (NCR) and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, collectively known as NCR Plus, under a General Community Quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions.

Based on the guidelines of the IATF, tourist attractions can now operate at 30 percent of the venue capacity, subject to strict compliance to health and safety protocols

“The re-opening of Fort Santiago and Baluarte San Diego will allow visitors to again experience the World’s Leading Tourist Attraction as recognized by the prestigious World Tourism Awards,” said Puyat.

The Intramuros Administration (IA), an attached agency of the DOT, manages the restoration and orderly development of the Walled City, which was visited by 3.3 million people in 2019.

This time, however, Fort Santiago will accommodate only 200 visitors while the Baluarte de San Diego will allow a maximum of 100 persons at a time, which are both below the 30 percent threshold but are deemed essential to ensure monitoring of proper protocols.

Fort Santiago will be open daily from 9:00 AM with last entry for visitors at 6:30 PM. The Baluarte de San Diego garden will be open to the general public from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Entrance fee, which may be paid in cash or via Beep card or PayMaya, is P75. Seniors, students and persons with disabilities may pay the discounted price of P50. It is limited to visitors aged 18 to 65 in compliance with the age restrictions set by the IATF.

Intramuros visitors must observe the minimum public health standards. There will be a mandatory screening of temperature and symptoms, and sanitizing practices. All guests must register their visit thru a QR code system for contact tracing prior to entry.

Fort Santiago is one of the country’s most visited tourist destinations. The historical park houses well-preserved legacies from the Spanish colonial period including memorabilia of José Rizal, its most famous prisoner, at the Rizal Shrine and a replica of his ancestral house in Laguna province.

Baluarte de San Diego also dates back to the end of the 16th century. The sturdy structure was constructed as part of the fortifications of the walled city and was primarily designed to repel invasions. It is also among the most visited sites in Intramuros.

Meanwhile, the dungeons, Museo ni Rizal, ASEAN Gardens, and other sites are still off-limits to visitors.

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