The Philippines contains a rich history. With different colonizers, it can be seen how the nation was built through time carrying their influences. Spaniards, settling the longest in the country, contributed the most to our nation’s history. They built many institutions around the country during their settlement as part of their plan to instill their culture in the country. After more than a decade of independence, some of these institutions still stand today as a witness to the country’s notable moments in history.
Spanish Institutions as Witnesses of Philippine History
Intramuros became a place for people to see Philippine history in a glimpse. Take a walk around Intramuros and see different institutions that became significant for the nation’s building.
Here are some of the institutions you’ll see in Intramuros that stood tall even after a century of independence from the Spaniards:
Colegio de San Juan de Letran
If you pass by Muralla street in Intramuros, you’ll probably get to see their building there.
Colegio de San Juan de Letran came after the merging of two similar institutions – a hermitage home-turned-orphanage Colegio de Niños Huerfanos de San Juan de Letran, and Colegio de Huerfanos de San Pedro y San Pablo. Both of these institutions were located in Intramuros and made around the same time in 1620. The merging of the two happened in 1630 through their strong bonds of friendship and a common concern for the children of Intramuros.
Until now, Letran stood tall more than three centuries after its establishment. It molded some of the nation’s most notable people, such as Manuel Quezon, Emilio Aguinaldo, and Apolinario Mabini.
Manila Cathedral became one of the most chosen places to hold wedding ceremonies. With its rich Spanish vibe, many tourists want to visit it while roaming around Manila.
It started its construction around the 1500s. Due to different occurrences that happened through time, the church reconstructed numerous times. The church’s significance never faded as some of the most important religious happenings occurred in the historical church. This would include the mass held by Pope Paul VI and Pope Jon Paul II’s visit for San Lorenzo Ruiz’s beatification.
San Agustin Church
Built between 1587 and 1606, San Agustin Church is considered the oldest church in the Philippines. As the most longstanding church, it witnessed different events that happened in history. Just as the other structures in Intramuros, it underwent numerous reconstructions until it appeared what it is now.
It also made a significant contribution to World War II. The Japanese forces transformed the church into a concentration camp for prisoners and held priests and residents hostage. With this, an air raid happened to bomb Intramuros leading to the destruction of most structures in the area. The church remained standing, nevertheless.
The huge and long wall around Intramuros also contains stories, not just for vintage aesthetic purposes.
Spaniards chose Intramuros as the city to establish different institutions that would instill in the people their culture. In order to protect the people from foreign invaders, they made thick walls around the city containing moats and cannons. It withstood many disasters and has now become one of the tourist attractions in the city.
124 Years After The Nation’s Freedom
Every year, the country continues to commemorate independence day as we celebrate the nation’s freedom from the Spanish colonizers. These institutions have seen how the Filipinos fought for the freedom that they deserve.
Our history is built together with these institutions. Forgetting it as it is would also be forgetting our history altogether.
Mae has always been into writing. She likes to write poems whenever she is inspired to do so. Or, she would just write her thoughts freely in her journal. Other than that, she spends her time listening to random music, watching movies, and just browsing on Twitter. It may sound like she's an introvert but she's really talkative when you meet her. You'd even wish the gods to let her stop talking and breathe.