Fodor's Expert Review Fort Santiago
Construction of this stone defensive fortress beside the Pasig River was begun in 1590 by conquistadors on the site of a palace once used by the last pre-Hispanic king. Over the centuries it has fallen into disrepair and ruin, and besides the impressively restored entrance gate on the south side, it mainly functions now as a museum and peaceful public park on the edge of the Intramuros district. Toward the end of colonial rule, the country's foremost national hero, Dr. José P. Rizal, was imprisoned here and then executed by firing squad in 1896. His former cell has been transformed into the Rizal Shrine and contains memorabilia about his life and work. The fort is also home to the Intramuros Visitors Center, which can advise about other attractions in the walled city.