There is an entrace fee of 21 pesos. Well worth it, I think. The place is well-maintained (too maintained, if you ask me). They've developed the interiors into some sort of a park. Good thing the structures are still there. One old-looking building has been turned into a museum. Pity it was closed when we visited.
I discovered later that the fort was built by the orders of Miguel López de Legazpi himself. It's that old. The adelantado wanted a military fortification there in order to protect the then emerging Spanish settlement from raids and assaults. By the late 1800's, the historical site served as a stronghold for Filipino revolutionaries.
Again, walking into the fort, you wouldn't really see this "history." Mainly because the park/garden dominates the interiors. That isn't the case, though, when you climb up the fort's battlements. There are many staircases leading up to the walls, one even wheelchair-friendly. So do go up.
There you'll find stone walkways (again, very well-maintained), out-of-service cannons and some sort of a steel artillery storage bunker. Also, there is a concrete staircase leading to the rooftop deck of the front walls. An area higher than the battlements. From there, you'll have a view of a terracotta rooftop and, of course, the streets and buildings right outside the fort.
Before leaving, make sure you drop by the souvenir shops beside the entrance/exit gates. Aside from the keychains, necklaces and bracelets (which you can get personalized with your names, by the way), you might find there a blind man singing together with a young girl gifted with an amazing voice. They were singing some old songs. Some in Tagalog even. So listen and spare some change.
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