October 20, 2017, 7:54 am
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DOT redevelops the Walled City

THE Department of Tourism (DOT) has opened the Paseo Soledad and Plaza Moriones in Fort Santiago, Intramuros on Tuesday which form part of the first phase of the Walled City’s redevelopment. 

“Shortly after I joined the DOT last year, I decided to make Intramuros a priority. I realized the significance of the Walled City early on and embarked on the Intramuros Revival Project,” said Wanda Teo, DOT secretary.

Guiller Asido, Intramuros administrator, said the project has two phases and costs about P230 million, to be funded by its attached agency, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority.

Asido said the redevelopment of the grounds aims to highlight the walls of Fort Santiago. 

He added phase 2 of Intramuros’ redevelopment will start this year and will include construction of visitors’ centers and restrooms, among others.

Upon completion, the expectation is that 70 percent of Intramuros will be green, he noted.

Apart from the rehabilitation, Asido said there will be roving museum exhibits starting in June and a French concert in the summer.

“What we are waiting and preparing for is the opening of the first-ever Intramuros Museum in its San Ignacio ruins by this year. All of Intramuros’ collections would be transferred there,” he said.

“In the next few months, we will be opening new areas in Fort Santiago all for the reason that we would like to make sure that everyone would appreciate not just the history of Fort Santiago but as well as its beauty,” he added.

Following this redevelopment, Asido said he will establish a mechanism for consultation for programs that will be implemented moving forward.

Fort Santiago’s operating hour have been extended from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. but has kept the entrance fees at P50 for children and students, and P75 for adults.

Fort Santiago noted an increase in the number of tourists, particularly the cruisers, as it is offered as one of the shore excursions.

Last year, more than 500,000 foreign and local tourists visited Intramuros. 

With the opening of the renovated sites, Asido expects the number of visitors to increase by 30 to 40 percent this year.

Meanwhile, the DOT and its attached agencies are expected to move back to Intramuros, with a proposal to build a Philippine Travel Center estimated to cost P1.7 billion.

 “We submitted the report to the (DOT) secretary already recommending the timeline which we will begin. The agreement was made during the last administration… We are just confirming it with the new administration,” Asido said.
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