25 Historical Places in the Philippines to Visit
Here is a list of some of the Philippines’ most significant historical landmarks if you are a history enthusiast seeking places to visit on your bucket list.
1. Intramuros, Manila
Intramuros was formerly an elegant walled city with a prime location along Manila Bay. It is now regarded as the historical center of Manila and the political, educational, and religious hub of the Spanish Empire in the Philippines. From the late 16th through the early 19th centuries, it served as the center of Spanish power. The walls, which at the time surrounded the entire city of Manila, were built between 1590 and 1872.
The Manila Cathedral, San Agustin Church, Casa Manila, Baluarte de San Diego, and Fort Santiago, where national hero Jose Rizal was imprisoned, are just a few of the notable buildings that it still holds today. San Agustin Church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
2. Rizal Park, Manila
Rizal Park, one of the biggest urban parks in Asia at 58 hectares, is located on the southern edge of Intramuros.
Its beginnings may trace back to 1820 when Bagumbayan’s previous site was transformed into Paseo de Luneta. The park witnessed multiple public executions during the Spanish colonial era, most notably those of Rizal and the GomBurZa (Gomez, Burgos, and Zamora) priests in the 19th century. In addition, the EDSA Revolution of 1986 and the proclamation of Philippine independence from the United States in 1946 both took place here.
The Rizal Monument is the park’s most notable landmark.
3. Binondo, Manila
Binondo is the first and oldest Chinatown in the world, founded in 1594. This is a worthwhile historical location just based on that. In the sixteenth century, the Chinese Catholic immigrants could still do business while being watched over by the Spanish authority thanks to the location just outside of Intramuros. The neighborhood is still a hive of trade and commerce, with most of the locals being Filipino-Chinese.
The vibrant and mouthwatering food scene of Binondo is one of its key attractions. This vast food hub is home to a plethora of culinary wonders, most of which can only be found in Binondo. Although certain well-known items have spread, local tourists continue to go to the location of their beloved Binondo grubs.
4. Rizal Shrine, Calamba, Laguna
This is a replica of the original two-story bahay na bato from the Spanish era. As Rizal’s birthplace, it contains exhibits and artifacts that are centered on his youth. The parents of Jose Rizal are also interred in the shrine. A library, a gallery, an audio-visual room, and a gift store are all located on the grounds. St. John the Baptist Parish Church and the City College of Calamba are two other locations close to the shrine.
5. Banaue Rice Terraces, Ifugao
The Banaue Rice Terraces, which were constructed by the Ifugao natives’ ancient forebears, were recognized as a National Cultural Treasure by the government in 1973.
The Ifugao people’s culture, which was heavily impacted by agriculture and rice farming, is embodied in these terraces. The numerous agricultural rituals associated with rice farming demonstrate the significance of these terraces. The Ifugao people’s great expertise in earthwork, masonry, irrigation, and maintaining the integrity of the rice terraces demonstrates by the traditional and indigenous techniques used to construct the terraces.
6. Tabon Cave Complex, Palawan
The cave complex situates on Lipuun Point in the town of Quezon on the southwest coast of Palawan Island. It remains part of the Lipuun Point Reservation, which safeguards and preserves the local cultural and historical relics.
The complex houses 215 caves, although only seven of them remain open to the public, including Tabon, Igang, and Liyang, among others. In 2011, the National Museum designated the complex as a National Cultural Treasure.
7. Mactan Shrine, Cebu
The Mactan Shrine is made up of two monuments: the Lapu-Lapu Shrine on one end and the Magellan Marker (also known as the Magellan Monument) on the other. It is situated along Punta Engao Road in the northern section of Mactan Island in Cebu.
The location overlooks Magellan Bay, which serves as a reminder of the Battle of Mactan, fought in April 1521 between Spanish forces under the command of Portuguese explorer Magellan and Mactan locals under the command of Lapu-Lapu. The Spaniards were defeated in the conflict, which forced them to flee.
8. Magellan’s Cross, Cebu City
One of Cebu’s most popular historical sites, the Magellan’s Cross situates next to Basilica Minore del Santo Nio in the city’s center.
According to legend, the site is the same spot where Portuguese explorer Magellan put a cross after reaching Cebu in March 1521. The original relic is housed inside the wooden Tindalo cross, as noted on the marker at the base of the cross. This significant event is shown in the painted ceiling.
9. Sandugo Shrine, Bohol
A blood contract was made in March 1565 between Bohol chieftain Sikatuna and Spanish adventurer Miguel Lopez de Legazpi as a sign of brotherhood between the Spaniards and the Filipinos. This was known as the “sandugo,” a tribal custom that served to confirm tribal unity and solidify allegiances. After cutting off their arms and pouring their blood into each representative’s cup, they divided the contents equally and drank from each cup until it was empty.
The Sandugo Shrine (Blood Compact Shrine) in Tagbilaran City serves as a living memorial to the occasion. In actuality, however, this monument does not designate the precise location of the historic treaty signing. The exact location is along Tagbilaran East Road/Bohol Circumferential Road and is currently known as Blood Compact Marker.
10. Barasoain Church, Malolos, Bulacan
The rebellious’ prison. The Barasoain Church in the 19th century was the scene of numerous significant occasions in Philippine history. The Malolos Congress, also known as the First Philippine Congress, was held there and is regarded as one of the most important moments in Philippine democracy. It served as the headquarters of the illustrados, who were opposed to Spanish rule.
In opposition to the Spanish government, Emilio Aguinaldo established the Malolos Congress in June 1898. Even though it was brief, this demonstrated the Filipinos’ fervor for democracy. Malolos’s main square houses this Baroque church constructed from concrete and adobe materials.
11. Aguinaldo Shrine, Kawit, Cavite
The whole ancestral home and grounds of Emilio Aguinaldo, as well as the park across from the main house, are included in the Aguinaldo Shrine, which was designated a National Shrine in June 1964.
On June 12, 1898, the Philippine flag was raised here as part of the declaration of the country’s independence from Spain. The instrumental rendition of the Philippine national anthem was also first heard on this occasion. A flag-raising ceremony is held each year as part of the holiday commemorating Independence Day.
12. Leyte Landing Memorial Park
The MacArthur Leyte Landing Memorial National Park, popularly known as MacArthur Park, was established as a national park in July 1977. In 1994, the National Historical Commission formally classified it as a national historic landmark.
In honor of the A-Day Landing in October 1944, where Douglas MacArthur and his entourage finally carried out their commitment to return and aid the Philippines in regaining their independence from the Japanese, this park was created.
13. Dambana ng Kagitingan, Bataan
The Mount Samat National Shrine, also known as the Dambana ng Kagitingan or Shrine of Valor, remains a memorial complex built in 1970 in remembrance of the fallen American and Filipino soldiers who fought against the Japanese in the Battle of Bataan in 1942.
Many people died while battling for independence against the Imperial Japanese Army on Mount Samat, which served as the last stronghold of freedom. In April 1966, turned out as a National Shrine.
14. Bataan Death March Markers
About 75,000 Filipino and American prisoners of war moved from Bataan to Camp O’Donnel (now Capas National Shrine) at Capas, Tarlac, by the Japanese army three months after the Battle of Bataan. The “Bataan Death March” because thousands of Filipino soldiers, and hundreds of American soldiers perished during this arduous march.
A little white obelisk stand with an illustrated placard and plaques commemorating the Death March marks each kilometer. A total of 138 Death March Markers scatter along the roadways between Bataan and Tarlac, with the one in Mariveles designated Kilometer 0. of them remain 97 in Bataan, 33 in Pampanga, and 8 in Tarlac.
15. Corregidor Island
Corregidor Island, strategically located at the entry point of Manila Bay and facing the West Philippine Sea, was a crucial military outpost during World War II. “The Rock” as affectionately known, remained a fortified island that served as part of the harbor’s defenses to keep Manila Bay safe from invading forces. After the battle, the island underwent extensive destruction. Only a third of a mile separates us from the Mile Long Barracks. However, because it has three levels, it essentially covers a mile. Almost.
Today, the entire island and its ruins serve as war memorials and serve to remind visitors of the past.
16. Rizal Park and Shrine Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte
One of Jose Rizal’s most exciting times in life was his four-year exile in Dapitan. The Spanish authorities considered Rizal’s writings and activities to be subversive, leading them to exile the Laguna native to Mindanao.
The José Rizal Memorial Protected Landscape, popularly known as Rizal Park and Shrine, includes the locations where he lived and worked. The Liwasan ng Dapitan, Punto del Desembarco de Rizal, Casa Real, Cotta de Dapitan, and St. James the Greater Church – a few of the historic sites found in Dapitan. In the Philippines, Dapitan refers to as the Shrine City.
17. Limasawa Island, Southern Leyte
The island remains notable historically since Father Pedro de Valderrama celebrated the first mass ever celebrated in the Philippines there in March 1521.
The municipality of Limasawa, which locates off the coast of Southern Leyte, was once governed by the municipality of Padre Burgos until 1978. In 1989, a plebiscite resulted in Limasawa, which comprises six barangays on the island, becoming a distinct town.
18. University of Santo Tomas, Manila
The University of Santo Tomas, once known as Colegio de Nuestra Seora del Santisimo Rosario, established in April 1611 by Miguel de Benavides, the third archbishop of Manila, dates back to the early 17th century. Colegio de Santo Tomas became the new name, and in November 1645 it received university status.
The university endured for more than four centuries and regards as the oldest in Asia and the Philippines. Before moving to its current position, it was first situated inside Intramuros, Manila’s walled city during the Spanish colonial era.
19. Cagsawa Ruins, Albay
The Franciscan missionaries built the Cagsawa Church in the final decades of the 16th century. The first building upon its destruction in the seventeenth century, underwent reconstruction. However, the church also broke down along with the majority of the town in the early 19th century by the eruption of the Mayon Volcano.
It is one of Albay’s most popular tourist destinations. Additionally, there are numerous gift shops and booths nearby due to the attraction’s popularity.
20. Calle Crisologo, Vigan, Ilocos Sur
Calle Crisologo – a well-preserved street from the Spanish era surrounded by bahay na bato, or heritage homes, and named for the well-known Ilocano politician and author Mena Crisologo. In the pre-colonial and Spanish-colonial Philippines, the cobblestone street connecting Plaza Burgos to Rivero Street served as North Luzon’s commercial and trading hub, and the majority of its inhabitants were prosperous Filipino-Chinese tradesmen and merchants.
21. Baguio City
In the Cordillera Mountains’ highlands sits the densely populated City of Pines. Its altitude makes it shiver, which draws visitors from different areas of the country. But Baguio is more than just a well-liked vacation spot. It has a lengthy history. Because of the Igorot’s effective defensive tactics, the region was never completely under Spanish authority during the period of Spanish colonization.
22. Sultan Kudarat Monument, Sultan Kudarat
Sultan Kudarat, also known as Muhammad Dipatuan Kudarat regards as the greatest sultan to govern Mindanao. He was a renowned warrior who showed no fear when the Spanish conquistadors tried to take over his native homeland. He resolutely stood his ground against the Spanish invaders and fiercely defended the Islamic faith.
23. Malacañan Palace, Manila
The President of the Philippines has an official residence and office at Malacaan Palace. From the Spanish Governors-General through the Presidents of the Republic of the Philippines, it has served a variety of political figures.
The extensive palace complex includes various office buildings, villas, parks, and gardens as a consequence of numerous expansions and repairs. The majority of them adhere to the bahay na bato and neoclassical architectural styles. The New Executive Building, Mabini Hall, Bonifacio Hall, and Kalayaan Hall (Old Executive Building), which contains the Presidential Museum and Library and the Former Presidential Museum, are the most notable structures in Malacaan.
24. Biak na Bato, Bulacan
Emilio Aguinaldo’s revolutionary movement, which took place in November 1897, successfully formed the Republic of Biak na Bato. This action, albeit fleeting, gave other revolutionary leaders in other sections of Luzon cause for optimism.
The revolutionary government first organized there by Aguinaldo and his allies in May 1897, months before formally declared, and now remains protected by the Biak na Bato National Park. Over 2,000 hectares of lush woodland and a rugged gorge make up the national park.
25. Cinco de Noviembre Memorial, Negros Occidental
The largest political bluff by the Negrense people also referred to as the Negros Revolution, stunned the Spanish invaders and led to the foundation of the Negros Republic on November 5, 1898.
A memorial site featuring a copy of the drugstore building that served as a hideout and the location where the Negrense revolutionaries planned the revolution against the Spaniards created to honor this significant event. It also includes a genuine cannon from the Spanish era.
The other ancestral homes in Silay City, as well as Balay Negrense, are nearby. The province has a unique non-working holiday on November 5 (Negros Day) signed into law in 1989.
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