Fort Santiago, other Intramuros spots ‘open house’ on Sept. 23-24

MANILA — Certain areas in Intramuros such as Fort Santiago, Baluarte de San Diego, and Casa Manila will offer free visitor admission this weekend (September 23 and 24) in celebration of World Tourism Day.

“We will be opening up Intramuros for the public this weekend. On September 23 and 24, the areas that usually have paid admission — Fort Santiago, Baluarte de San Diego, and Casa Manila — will all be open to the public for free,” Intramuros Administrator, lawyer Guiller Asido said in a press conference at the DOT office, Makati City.

Asido said that entrance fees usually cost around PHP75.

“This is part of our efforts to revitalize the heritage district based on the instructions of the Secretary (Wanda Teo),” he added.

Aside from opening up these areas this weekend, Asido said there will also be several exhibits, art fairs in the whole area of Intramuros.

“The whole of Intramuros will be declared as an open house,” Asido said.

He said that this open house event will be repeated next month — October 14 and 15 — as part of the agency’s effort to revive Intramuros’ regional showcases or fairs.

“This will not be your traditional showcase of events and activities. We wanted to highlight the journey of the Filipinos to history, culture and the arts,” Asido said.

“We will be highlighting a specific region or province and they will tell the story of the province from the pre-Spanish period up to the modern times,” he added.

During a Senate hearing on the DOT’s proposed 2018 budget on Monday, Senator Richard Gordon, a former DOT Secretary, urged the agency to boost promotion efforts on Philippine historical tourism.

“History is part and parcel of tourism,” Gordon stressed.

Meanwhile, Asido said that visitors can expect to be served by DOT-accredited pedicab drivers. The agency recently completed skills training for around 50 pedicab drivers in efforts to build a more competitive tourism workforce.

Aside from accreditation, the Intramuros Administrator also plans to regulate the pedicab fees which are currently priced at PHP200 to PHP300 per hour.