Fort San Pedro

I remember, during my elementary school years, a popular field trip destination was Fort San Pedro, the oldest, smallest and one of the best preserved Spanish fortresses in the Philippines. Located in Plaza Independencia within Cebu City’s pier area, this triangular military outpost was originally built in 1565– the beginning of Spanish colonization in the archipelago–with logs and muddy earth to protect conquistador Miguel Lopez de Legazpi and his men from violent attacks by native Cebuanos and Muslim pirates. The fort was named after Legaspi’s flagship “San Pedro“. After years of construction and renovations, the present-day fort of stone and mortar was finally finished in 1738. 

Through the years, this fortification had diverse uses: an American barracks, a Japanese prison camp, a formal school, a government office and even a courtyard mini-zoo. Today, this military bastion houses a National Museum showcasing documents, paintings, sculptures, sword fragments, helmets, Chinese porcelain and other artifacts from 333 years of Spanish occupation in the Philippine islands. Its thick walls are loaded with heavy cannons and laced with flowering foliage. Its towers and dungeons surround a peaceful garden with old trees, fountains and trellised walkways, making this tourist spot a popular choice for plein air artists, preening young lovers and other romantics. 

Fort San Pedro (entrance: P21.00) is an hour’s drive from the Mactan International Airport, and very accessible by jeepney or taxi  from all points in the Metro. The fort sits beside Plaza Independencia (where a subway tunnel is currently being constructed) and is a walkable distance from other landmarks like the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño, Magellan’s Cross and Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. 

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