Latest Stories

Intramuros: Walled City opens self as artists’ hub

By , Jerome Aning

IMAGINE the scene: Artworks of established and beginning artists showcased against the evocative backdrop of colonial fortifications overlooking a serene Pasig River.

Or craft hobbyists and art enthusiasts flocking to small artisan shops at the newly restored walls and vaulted chambers of Maestranza Park.

The Intramuros Administration (IA), the agency that manages the restoration and maintenance of the historic district, is opening the walled city to the country’s artists in a bid to revive and transform the fortified capital of Spanish Philippines into an “artists’ haven,” to eventually serve as a come-on for tourists visiting Metro Manila.

According to IA administrator Jose Capistrano Jr., the festival is part of the agency’s continuing program to preserve and restore the historic Walled City, which served as the seat of the Spanish colonial government in the Philippines for nearly 400 years.

Sanctuary for artists

He said the idea of developing Intramuros into a sanctuary for artists and artisans was also one way of helping boost and support the country’s arts and culture.

To jump-start the project, the IA opened on Friday a three-day visual arts festival dubbed “the First Intramuros Arts Festival” at the Maestranza Park facing the Pasig River, which was recently reconstructed with assistance from the Japanese government.

The park is at the portion of the walls called  Maestranza, one of the bulwarks or defense works whose walls and chambers served as warehouses for goods carried on the galleon trade between Manila and Acapulco, Mexico, during the Spanish colonial period.

Heritage learning center

“One of our main goals here is to make Intramuros a 21st-century heritage learning center, a ‘museum of the street’,” said Capistrano. By staging events like the arts festival in Intramuros, Filipino artists will be inspired to help in informing the next generation of Intramuros’ rich history, he said.

Some 150 visual artists from across the country are participating in the festival that features art exhibits, painting workshops and seminars; a parade of “higantes,” the large papier-maché figures created by the artists of Angono, Rizal; and dance and choir performances from Intramuros-based schools. The higantes will eventually be exhibited at the park.

Capistrano said the event will also feature an “art tiangge,” where paintings of some of the country’s most prominent artists will be sold at very reasonable prices. Some of the artworks will be sold for as low as P20,000, he said.

The Maestranza Park has been opened for activities by amateur and professional artists. The IA said visitors to the festival can also have themselves sketched for free by various artists.

Cosmopolitan enclave

The festival is a joint project with the National Commission on Culture and the Arts and the Intramuros Visual Artists of the Philippines, which has already been staging monthly art exhibitions at the Intramuros Visitors’ Center in Fort Santiago.

Participating schools include Letran College, Mapua Institute, Lyceum University, Manila High School and Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.

The IA earlier disclosed plans to transform Maestranza Park into an enclave of cafés, restaurants and shops, resembling Singapore’s Clarke Quay, a historic riverside wharf where old warehouses have been restored and converted into bars, restaurants and nightclubs.

The IA would like to see Intramuros eventually become a nighttime destination for local and foreign tourists.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: art festival , artists’ haven , Intramuros , News

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  2. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  3. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  7. Passengers denied chance to escape sinking South Korea ferry
  8. South Korea president shouted down by distraught parents
  9. Two Popes who would be saints
  10. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  5. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  6. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  7. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  8. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  9. Massive infra spending set
  10. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  5. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  6. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  7. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  8. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  9. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia


  • Pakistan library named ‘bin Laden,’ as memory fades
  • US teacher fired over comment on black president
  • Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital
  • Title of new Hillary Clinton book: ‘Hard Choices’
  • Filipinos, Dutch re-enact crucifixion of Christ
  • Sports

  • Nadal ousted by Ferrer in Monte Carlo quarters
  • Pacquiao shorts in Bradley fight sold for P1.7M in LA auction
  • Ryu pitches Dodgers past Giants
  • Alonso sets the pace in Chinese GP practice
  • Heat seek Three-peat but Spurs, Pacers top seeds
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Multicultural flock marks Good Friday in San Francisco
  • Las Vegas ‘Pinoy Pride’ fest hails Filipino heritage
  • Marking Jesus’ journey on Good Friday
  • Filipina accomplice arrested for fake bills in Malaysia
  • DoH denies Filipino nurse no longer positive for MERS virus
  • Marketplace