IN PHOTOS: The Spanish Manila

LeAnne Jazul

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Once the pride and glory of Manila, Intramuros has fallen prey to pollution, decay and a lack of discipline among some of its residents

IN THE FORTRESS. A peek from within Intramuros looks out onto an ever-changing landscape. All photos by Leanne Jazul

MANILA, Philippines – On June 24, 1571, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, the first Spanish governor-general of the Philippines, proclaimed Manila as the capital city of the country.

The Manila then was confined within the walls of Intramuros. It was only in 1901 when the Americans declared that Manila was not Intramuros alone but also the Extramuros or “outside the walls” – Tondo, Binondo, Sta. Cruz, Sampaloc, San Miguel, Pandacan, Santa Ana, Paco, Malate and Ermita.

The original Intramuros was a place of power and grandeur. The seat of the colonial government and a center for faith and education, home to the Insulares and rich Peninsulares. 

442 years later, the Indios can now trade, reside and celebrate inside the “Most Distinguished and Ever Loyal City.”

Intramuros is among the world’s top 12 heritage sites on the verge of collapse.

SUNNY DAY. Even a thousand-year-old fort can't keep the sun away from tourists' heads

AGED WALLS. Many walls in Intramuros are not well-maintained and are at the mercy of the elements

THE OLD GUARD. Guard uniforms are reminiscent of uniforms worn by Spanish period guardia civil

OLD AND NEW. Though a far cry for Intramuros' glory days, the Intramuros today is still the home of hope and idealism

CALLE REAL. Calle Real, a major street in Intramuros, is the setting of more domestic pursuits

DAYS GONE BY. Roadside vendors go through the streets of Intramuros, sadly polluted by garbage

STAINED WALLS. Vandalism is a problem in Intramuros

URBAN GRIME. What history lies beneath the vandalism, posted bills and garbage?

THE HOOD. The Intramuros today definitely doesn't lack attitude

REFRESHED. Intramuros residents escape the afternoon heat the old-fashioned way

IF THESE WALLS COULD TALK. Many residents are yet to observe discipline in garbage disposal


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LeAnne Jazul

LeAnne has had 25 years of experience in the media industry. He joined Rappler for the 2013 elections and has stayed on. He is currently Rappler's photo editor.