Saturday, March 4, 2017

Fort San Pedro of Cebu

Fort San Pedro, a fusion of legendary museum and historical tourist park, still in the queen city of the south - Cebu city, Cebu Philippines.

Fort San Pedro or Fuerza de San Pedro (in Spanish) is a military defense structure built by the Spanish under the decree of Miguel lopez de Legazpi. Miguel lopez de Legazpi also known as "El Adelantado" and El Viejo (the elder), is one of the Spanish explorers who invaded the Philippines. Miguel lopez de Legazpi led the legazpi expedition which is the fiftieth expedition empowered by the government of Spain. Fort San Pedro is the smallest and oldest fort in the Philippines. This historical tourist park is one of the best place to learn about the history of the Philippines in which there were a lot of expeditions which somehow formed and introduced the geographical highlights including its socioeconomic significance of the Philippines to the world.

After the fort was built last 1565, there were a lot of uses of the historical park. It was used as a prison for local rebels during the Philippine revolution and as an American warwick barracks during American regime in year 1896 to 1898. During those years, the fort was turned over to cebuanos by Commodore George Dewey. This historical park was also used as classrooms where Cebuanos generally accepted their first formal education. During the World War II, year 1941 to 1945, the fort served as a prison bivouac or camp & bulwark for Japanese soldiers. It was also used as a Hospital during battle for liberation. Presently, it is a museum park full of historical documents, artifacts (Balsa, pots, cones), sculptures, paintings, 14 old cannons and the whole history of Fort San Pedro. 

This historical park was built May 8, 1565, eleven days after the arrival of the Legazpi expedition in Cebu. Originally, the fort was constructed out of wood and in the early 17th century, a stone fort was built to fend off Muslim raiders. The fort is a triangular shaped structure, one side fronting the land and two sides facing the sea. The sides facing the sea were built up with ordinance or artilleries while the frontal side was a strong palisade made out of wood. In each corner of the fort are three towers which served as a fortress. These three strong fortress are called La Concepcion in the Southwest part, Ignacio de Loyola in the Southeast part and San Miguel in the Northern part of the fort. These three fortress also served as viewing decks for the militarist back then. 

The total land area of the fort is 2,025 square meters, 20 feet high and 8 feet thick for the walls and the towers are 30 feet high from the ground with 1248 feet circumference. There are a lot of historical and significant things or buildings inside the fort like Cuerpo de Guardia which is one of the largest and necessary building where a personnel that manned the fort lived. The second important one is Viviende del Teniente which is the living quarter of the lieutenant of the fort. In between of these two important buildings is a well. There is a building attached to the San Miguel tower which is "Almazanes del Polvora" or the power magazine where the supply of amos and gun power from Manila were stored. 

Located near Plaza Independencia in the harbor or port area of Cebu city and is a walking distance from Pier 1 Sea Port. Fort San Pedro is five to ten minutes away from the oldest street in the Philippines, Colon street. Robinson's Galleria is the nearest shopping mall of this historical park. The Cebu City government is responsible in taking care of this historical museum park. Some years ago, the artifacts and their significant things in this historical park was transferred to Museo Sugbo or the Cebu provincial museum. Because of this transfer, inside the museum park, there were souvenir shops selling T-shirt, bracelets and other hand-crafted items. The Cebu city government took over their responsibility last February 1, 2008 where they prioritized heritage conversations and the preservation of bio diversities.

There are stories from random tourists about their experience in this famous historical museum park. There are rumors of paranormal activities inside the fort most especially near the wishing well. Even with this creepy rumors, there are still a lot of locals or foreigners visiting the fort. Having a tour in this famous yet historical park, you can personally discover its history by reading some written information scattered around inside the fort. But, you can also enjoy guided tours on offer from the front desk that can give precise background information. The tourist guide is perky and very knowledgeable so there is no way that you won't enjoy the tour.

Getting there is very easy, you can get there by either a private car, public transportation (taxi), public utility jeepney (PUJ) and van rentals. For taxi cabs, you can tell the driver that Fort San Pedro is near Pier 1. Flag down rate starts at Php 40 and Php 3.50 for every succeeding 500 meters or waiting time per 90 seconds. For van rentals, JLC Trading van rentals is highly recommended. Not only that the drivers are knowledgeable about the tourist spots location, the drivers are very friendly and cool. JLC Trading van rentals offer cheap rates for tour packages. For PUJ's , one can take a ride with a signage that says Pier 1 and tell the driver to drop you off to the nearest jeepney stop in Fort San Pedro. The regular jeepney fare is Php 7. One public transportation that passes by Fort San Pedro is the My Bus. My Bus is public transit of SM malls which travels from Talisay City, Cebu to SM City Cebu. There is a My Bus drop off entering the South Road Properties (SRP) which is a walking distance to Fort San Pedro. To be able to ride the My Bus transit, buy a My Bus card available at SM malls in Cebu City. 

To ascertain the rich history of the Philippines, one can enjoy it at Fort San Pedro. The entrance fee is very cheap - Php 30 for adults (local or foreigner), Php 25 for senior citizens provided with ID for locals and Php 20 for students or children. There is also a parking fee of Php 15 for motorcycles and cars. Php 30 for coasters and buses. The fort is open from 7am - 7pm and everybody is welcome. This is a perfect and the best place to unwind yourself from the very busy city as well as learn the history of the Philippines. 

To have an unforgettable experience during the tour, well, always bring a camera with you. Smartphones are the best because you can instantly share it on social media. Liquors, beverages, firearms or any bladed weapon is not allowed inside the Fort. There are some cases that the Fort is used as a wedding reception and tourists are free to witness traditional Filipino program at a wedding reception


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