Visiting Baluarte de San Diego in Intramuros for the First Time | Manila


After a visit to the National Museum of Natural History failed to materialize because our online reservation was bumped a couple of hours into late afternoon, my friend Louisa and I decided to just explore Intramuros. This was more than a year into the pandemic and certain restrictions are still in place when visiting establishments such as museums.

Celine Arenillo

Other museums in the area such as Museo Intramuros and Destileria Limtuaco Museum have yet to re-open therefore leaving us with the only option of just roaming the open spaces of Intramuros. Following an interesting image we saw on the satellite rendition of Google Map, we stumbled upon an interesting part of the walled city called the Baluarte de San Diego.

Marky Ramone Go

Counting the number of times, I’ve been to Intramuros before, I told Louisa “I haven’t seen this spot before despite being here more than a dozen of times”, as I look around with fascination.


“Really?”, she asked me with astonishment. “Glad, we ended  up here then” she added. After entering San Diego garden, we climbed a short spiral stair leading to a 16th century bastion constructed by the Spanish as part of its fortification of the then walled city of Manila.

Alyanna Bromeo

Originally constructed between 1591-1594 to serve as a projection platform for artillery defense against invaders coming from Manila Bay, the mediaeval structure is highlighted by its thick three-tier circular walls made of large blocks of stones and a cortina (curtain walls). The San Diego complex, which actually houses another structure: the now ruins of Torre de Nuestra Señora de Guia (Our Lady of Guidance), was designed by Antonio Sedeño, a Jesuit priest and architect. 

Marky Ramone Go

After a large part of the bastion was excavated from 1979 to 1982, a circular outer structure revealed its whole form. Today, the bastion is surrounded by manicured lawns leading to San Diego garden and dotted with gazebos and pergolas. The guard told us that sometimes, a wedding reception is even held there.

Koryn Iledan

Taking refuge from the mid-morning sun, Louisa and I sat behind a wall to savor the cool wind and to get to know each other more. We started having a conversation digging our career history, our travel destination bucket list and basically, anything under the hot sun that day. Without us realizing it, an hour passed by like a breeze. “This is a nice place to hangout”, I told Louisa. “Yes, I love the view and the fresh air here”, she tells me.

Sophie Gianan

Usually, when I find myself around Intramuros, I would normally hang out in a café but after finding and learning the history of Baluarte de San Diego, I now had a new favorite place to hang out in Intramuros. Maybe, I'll bring a book next time.