Fort San Pedro: Walking in the Footsteps of Spanish Navigator Explorer Miguel Legazpi
Fort San Pedro Cebu City, Philippines 2020
Fort San Pedro or in Spanish, Fuerza de San Pedro offers you 455 year of history to explore as it’s the oldest triangular shaped fort in the Philippines.
If you are stationed in the Philippines or will be visiting the Philippines in the future, then a trip to old historic Fort San Pedro in Cebu City, Philippines is in order. Fort San Pedro is a 455-year old small stone triangle shaped Spanish fort built by the Spanish explorer, navigator and first governor of the East Indies (lands south of the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia) Miguel López de Legazpi. Fort San Pedro was built in 1565 to defend against pirates in the area and then later it used to defend against Muslim raiders. The fort is hidden in plain sight in the old section of the beautiful city of Cebu in the Philippines. If you are not looking for it, you could just walk right past it and never know it.
Fort San Pedro was originally built of logs and mud when it was first constructed, but in the1600’s, stone was used to replace old the wooden fort to what you see today. Construction of the Spanish fort started on the 8th of May 1565, 11 days after the arrival of Miguel López de Legazpi in Cebu following in the steps of Ferdinand Magellan from 1521 and was namedafter the ship that Legazpi used on his trip across the Pacific Ocean from the Viceroyalty of New Spain (modern-day Mexico). Legazpi would later become the first governor of the East Indies which primarily consisted of todays Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Indonesian and Philippine Archipelagos (island chains).
Fort San Pedro as you see it today is a museum, but the fort had been continually in use until it was converted into a school, an emergency hospital and then into museum. The fort was used by the Spanish, the Americans, the Japanese and the Filipino revolutionaries and the Filipino military over its 455 years. It provided for defense for of the island from Filipino natives and pirates for the Spanish, defense against Muslim raiders and housing defense works for American, Japanese and Filipino solders.
Inside the entrance that leads to the in courtyard there you will see the history of the fort in photos, drawings and portraits, such as portraits of Legazpi, Ferdinand Magellan, Filipino King Lapulapu who fought Magellan on the nearby island of Matan where Magellan was killed in 1521 in a short battle with King Lapulapu men and other portraits depicting some of the history of the fort and Cebu as well as portrait of Magellan planting the very first Christian cross in the Philippines in 1521 where he converted over 2000 Filipino natives to Christianity. Inside the fort you will find the ramparts, the Bastion watch towers, a wishing well, a small cantina and other historical displays of the museum.
Fort San Pedro is just a few short blocks away from the sport where 500-years ago, in March of 1521 Spanish and Portuguese explorers planted the very first Christian cross in the Philippines under the directives of the great explorer Ferdinand Magellan and just near to the Santo Nino Basilica complex across from Cebu City Hall just off Magallanes Street.
Cebu is rich in historic value and offers visitors many attractions where you can walk the beaches where the Allies invaded the city to drive out the Japanese in WWII. You can also visit the Plaza Independencia and the Filipino-Japanese Memorial and many other historic sites. Cebu is not just all about history as Cebu has much more to offer. There are the beautiful white sand beaches, day fishing trips (both fresh and saltwater fishing), water parks for the kids and shopping at the many area malls in Cebu for the whole family. If you are a foodie, then there are many great places to dine in the city restaurants and bars and as always in Asia, there is the street foods that are very tasty and everywhere you go in the city. There are even casinos in Cebu that are open 24/7 for the gambler inside you as well. You can find great accommodations from the high-end hotels to the low-end hostels throughout the city depending on your budget. Cebu city is only a short 20 to 30-minute drive from the Mactan-Cebu International airport depending on the traffic of course. Cebu is only a short one-hour flight from Manila and there are multiple round-trip flights per day to Cebu from Manila.
Cebu is one of those places I like to return when I can and never pass up a chance to go there when I am in the Philippines. So, if you are in the Philippines or you are planning to visit the Philippines, I can happily say, you can’t go wrong with a few days in Cebu and you will find it has so much to offer as a destination that will want to stay longer.