In line with the “Intramuros Revival Project” initiated by the Department of Tourism (DOT) last year, Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo on Monday led the opening of the newly renovated Paseo Soledad and Plaza Moriones in Fort Santiago.
Plaza Moriones, the area leading to the iconic Fort Santiago, has been smoothed with flowering trees and a colourful fountain at the center.
While Paseo de Soledad, a portion of the linear park built along the banks of Pasig River is now accessible through the river gate called Postigo Nuestra Señora de Soledad.
According to Secretary Teo, the tourism department, through its attached agency, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), has allotted Php 230 million for the renovation of Fort Santiago, which is part of a larger plan to redevelop Intramuros.
“This is part of the continuing efforts to preserve and revive the glory days of Intramuros as the nation’s foremost bastion of culture, history and faith. Having been at the helm of one of the country’s destination management companies (DMC), I know very well the importance of having good attractions, facilities and services. Our Manila DMCs will always have Intramuros as the highlight of city tours and thus, welcome continued physical enhancement and more exciting ways to retell history. The rest is up to them to liven up the conversation,” she said.
Newly-appointed Intramuros Administration (IA) head Atty. Guiller Asido revealed that more areas such as Rajah Soliman Theatre, reception venues, and the dungeons will be opened to the public once the rehabilitation is completed by the end of the year.
“We are looking at the completion of the first phase of the Intramuros Museum and the Maestranza Chambers this year,” Asido said.
Data from IA revealed that around 500,000 tourists have visited Fort Santiago in 2016. Asido added that the DOT is aiming for a significant increase this year by extending the park’s operation hours until 9 pm with no hike in entrance fees, which will remain at Php 75 for adults and Php 50 for students.