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Baluarte de San Diego, Intramuros Manila

Gardens in the city are like oases in the desert – a place to relax and escape from the everyday stresses of urban life. Within the walled city of Intramuros in Manila, there is the Baluarte De San Diego Gardens. 

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Named after the 16th century Spanish fort it houses, the Gardens are tranquil and pretty – well worth the PHP75 ticket price. There was an avenue lined with shady trees, with bobbing disco-balls hanging from its branches. A dried-up stone fountain sat in the middle, covered in trellises and plants. Flanking the garden on both sides was a  covered walkway, which looked almost British colonial style to me.

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There were people getting ready for a photoshoot. A makeup artist was carefully applying shadow onto a nicely dressed lady’s eyes, while another fluffed up her hair with hairspray.

The Gardens are available for rent for private events and photoshoots. Heard that it’s a popular venue for weddings!

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They also had some rusty structures of machinery (?).. maybe to add to the whole vintage garden ‘feel’ of the place.

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Time to explore the Fort itself. The Baluerte de San Diego was built in 1591, and is the oldest rock structure within Intramuros. Its purpose was to ensure a clear view of the place and prepare against invaders. During that time, it had all the facilities: courtyard, water supply tank, lodging and workshops. The upper level is connected to the rest of the Intramuros’ outer wall, but its sectioned off since it’s private property that you have to pay for to go in.

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The circular-shaped fort has three circles, the first two of which are plastered in pink terra cotta and terra-cotta finish, with brick flooring. The outer circle has 11 chambers and was constructed with adobe walls, with a thickness of 3 metres (!)

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There was an open area above the fort, so we walked around. The grass is nicely kept, but again, a lack of garbage bins (why oh why Manila do you not have bins) meant that some visitors had thrown litter into the fireplace structures that lined the walls.

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“Yep, full of litter”

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I think these were mini hubs where the soldiers or whoever manned the forts could rest and warm their hands in the fireplace. Or maybe they were for cooking?

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There is a golf course nearby, so visitors are advised to dodge any flying golf balls.

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Apparently the golf course used to be where the moat surrounding Intramuros was.

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The rocky path is uneven, so the elderly and small children should take care when visiting.

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Very peaceful during our visit; not a soul around except for a dog (i don’t know how it got  up there) that stared at us rather creepily lol. Good thing it wasn’t too hot because there was no shade up there.

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Old Manila and New Manila.

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Another section which had loads of bonsai trees. We used the ramp there to go back to the lower level, where there was another garden area.

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Anyone know what these plants are? They look like cotton earbuds.

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The inner garden – you have to go further in as its hidden from the main entrance.There was a gazebo and large trees with overhanging tendrils, creating a curtain effect (hence the attempt at a hipster cover photo for Facebook lol).

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Well kept plants and bonsai trees. Imagine the effort to keep everything spick and span; I only saw two maintenance /gardening guys around though.

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The Baluerte de San Diego Gardens is a great place to visit and very worth the PHP75 price tag. We spent some time just chilling and admiring the flowers blooming amid century-old stone structures. Remember to visit when in Intramuros! 🙂

BALUERTE DE SAN DIEGO GARDENS 

Sta. Lucia St, Intramuros, Manila, Metro Manila, Philippines

Opening hours (daily): 8am – 5pm

Ticket: PHP75 (regular), PHP50 (students with valid ID)

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