Fort San Pedro

Fort San Pedro is among the more recognizable historical landmarks in Cebu City, Philippines. It is located adjacent to Plaza Independencia, Aduana, and Pier 1. The street address is Antonio Pigafetta Street, Cebu City, Philippines. It was also referred to as the Cotta.

Fort San Pedro in Cebu City, Philippines
Fort San Pedro in Cebu City, Philippines



Quick Facts:

  • Smallest and oldest triangular bastion fort in the Philippines
  • Built in 1738 to repel Muslim raiders
  • Served as the nucleus of the first Spanish settlement in the country
  • It's three bastions were named La Concepcion, Ignacio de Loyola and San Miguel
  • Total inside area is 21,800 square feet or 2,025 square meters
  • Walls are 20 feet high (6.1 meters) and and 8 feet thick(2.4 meters)
  • Towers are 30 feet high (9.1 meters)
  • Fourteen cannons were installed
  • The Cuerpo de Guardia is the largest building
  • The living quarters of the lieutenant of the fort was called Vivendi del Teniente
  • Attached to the walls of the bastion San Miguel was the Alamazoros del Rivera or powder magazine

Sign outside Fort San Pedro in Cebu City, Philippines
Sign outside Fort San Pedro in Cebu City, Philippines

Timeline:

May 8, 1565 ---- Work on the construction of the fort was started.

1738 ------------ Fort was built as indicated at it's gate.

1898 ------------ The Spanish surrendered the fort to Cebuano revolutionaries

1937-1941 ------ Utilized by the University of the Philippines

1942-1945 ------ Japanese residents used the fort as refuge

1946-1950 ------ Fort used as an Army camp

1950 ------------ Turned over to the Cebu Garden Club

1957 ------------ Mayor Sergio Osmena Sr. announced plans to demolish the fort. He later gave up the plan amidst strong public opposition.

1957 ------------ The Lamplighter, a religious sect was commissioned to manage a zoo within the fort's courtyard.

1968 ------------ Zoo was relocated. Plans to restore fort started.

Interesting Artifacts and Areas Inside Fort San Pedro in Cebu City, Philippines

Inside Fort San Pedro are galleries of historical artifacts and art pieces. Some areas are also of particular tourist interest. I shall also discuss popular events and things to do inside Fort San Pedro.

Cuerpo del Guardia 

The Cuerpo del Guardia is the largest building inside Fort San Pedro. It houses practically every office or room inside the fort.

The Cuerpo del Guardia at Fort San Pedro in Cebu City, Philippines
The Cuerpo del Guardia at Fort San Pedro in Cebu City, Philippines

Museum Gallery

A room at the ground floor of the Cuerpo del Guardia is dedicated as a museum gallery with displays depicting the heroism of Datu Lapu-lapu and excerpts from Ferdinand Magellan's rediscovery of the Philippines.

Old Spanish Flag 

Inside the museum gallery is an old and tattered Spanish flag encased in glass. 

Spanish flag at the Fort San Pedro in Cebu City, Philippines
Spanish flag at the Fort San Pedro in Cebu City, Philippines

Original Spanish Sword 

Also encased in glass at the museum gallery is an original 18th century Spanish sword.

Original 18th century Spanish sword at the Fort San Pedro in Cebu City, Philippines
Original 18th century Spanish sword at the Fort San Pedro in Cebu City, Philippines

Art Gallery 

An art gallery with displays of paintings by local artists is located on the second floor of the Cuerpo del Guardia. More displays are also found at the Vivendi del Teniente, also on the second floor of the Cuerpo del Guardia.

Bastions 

Fort San Pedro is a tri-bastion fort, meaning it has three bastions: La Concepcion, San Ignacio de Loyola, and San Miguel. The powder magazine (Almacenes de Polvora) was attached to the Bastion San Miguel. A 2013 earthquake ruined some of the areas in Fort San Pedro and the bastions suffered major damages but has since been reconstructed.

One of the bastions of Fort San Pedro in Cebu City, Philippines
One of the bastions of Fort San Pedro in Cebu City, Philippines

Cannons 

There were fourteen (14) cannons originally mounted at the Fort San Pedro. Some of these cannons are still on display at the fort.

1 of the 14 cannons of Fort San Pedro in Cebu City, Philippines
1 of the 14 cannons of Fort San Pedro in Cebu City, Philippines

The Well 

According to an account by one Reverend Lorenzo Perez O.M. as published on a book published in 1975 (Madonnas in the Philippines by Lutgardo Aviado), the second oldest image of the Virgin Mary was found inside a well at Fort San Pedro between 1570 to 1575 thus earning it the name Nuestra SeƱora de la Cotta. Officially, it is referred to as the Virgin or Remedies. This image was transferred to a dedicated altar at the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral in the 19th century. Unfortunately, this European sculpture was lost in the chaos of World War II. The well where it was found is now a wishing well inside the fort and has been reinforced with concrete.

Wishing well inside Fort San Pedro in Cebu City, Philippines
Wishing well inside Fort San Pedro in Cebu City, Philippines

The Courtyard 

The courtyard of Fort San Pedro is where wedding receptions and other activities are held. The gardens around it are also very well-maintained.

The courtyard at Fort San Pedro in Cebu City, Philippines
The courtyard at Fort San Pedro in Cebu City, Philippines

Weddings 

The Fort San Pedro is a popular place to hold garden weddings and wedding receptions. Barely a month goes by where there is no wedding-related event scheduled at the courtyard of the Fort San Pedro.

Blind Musicians

A regular attraction at the Fort San Pedro is the smooth singing voice of a blind musician that plays his accompanying guitar beside the fort's canteen. This blind musician makes his living off tips from generous tourists.

Blind musicians at the Fort San Pedro in Cebu City, Philippines
Blind musicians at the Fort San Pedro in Cebu City, Philippines

1 comments:

xylem said...

Great! What an interesting post indeed. =)