Photos by Raquel P. Gomez

Almost a year after its closure because of the pandemic, Intramuros has opened its gates to the public, but on a limited capacity. 

The reopening of the historic walled city inside Manila was announced on Wednesday by Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.

Tourists entering the walled city are strictly advised to follow the health and safety protocols against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) consistent with Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging and Infectious Diseases (IATF) guidelines.

When entering tourism sites inside Intramuros—gated and non-gated sites, tourists are required to register or use contact tracing application to pursuant to the IATF requirements. 

“Intramuros is ready and prepared for its reopening following the easing of quarantine restrictions and the minimum health and safety standards set for parks, plazas, open spaces, heritage sites and museums,” said Puyat, who is also the Intramuros Administration (IA) Board of Administrators Chairperson. 

To remind people of the health and safety protocols, signage and informational materials are installed strategically at high traffic areas like Palacio del Gobernador, Fort Santiago, Museo de Intramuros, Plaza San Luis, Casa Manila, Baluarte de San Diego, Puerto Real Gardens, Presidents’ Gallery, Plaza Roma, and Plazuela de Sta. Isabel. 

Circulation plans for all gated sites and museums including Fort Santiago, Puerta Real Gardens, ASEAN Gardens, Parian Gate, Plaza San Luiz Complex, and Baluarte De San Diego are plotted and will be strictly enforced to ensure the smooth flow of traffic and avoid congestion. 

“COVID-19 drastically changed people’s relation with streets, public spaces, and public facilities. The pandemic illustrates the value for accessible open spaces abundant in Intramuros that allow movement within dense urban areas,” Puyat stressed. 

The IA also plans for its gated open air managed sites such as the historical and cultural attractions, heritage and religious museums to be opened to tourists and the general public. 

Intramuros also looks forward to host essential activities and events including work meetings, workshops, trainings, seminars, congresses, conferences, conventions, board meetings, colloquia, conclaves, symposia, and consumer trade shows or product launches with strict abeyance with the minimum public health requirements, and in compliance with health and safety protocols. 

The IA migrated its contact tracing application to pursuant to the IATF Resolution No. 50. All gated and non-gated sites and destinations will mandatorily enforce usage with the No Registration, No Entry rule. 

Private establishments within Intramuros are also required to utilize the app. 

The appropriate health and safety guidelines applicable are strictly enforced within the walls of Intramuros. To mitigate infection, the IA also procured all necessary equipment and supplies. Hands-free thermometers with automatic alcohol dispensers are stationed in strategic locations for public use. Fog atomization machines and disinfectant sprayers for all vehicles, commonly held surfaces, and used provision items are also in place.