The Manila Cathedral at Intramuros, Manila
Administration as it continues to advocate for greater convergence between sustainable tourism, culture and heritage.
“Ensuring a sustainable tourism industry entails a holistic management plan that starts with a great vision, and the Intramuros Administration’s vision is inclusive for integrating its people’s welfare, both the residents and tourists, with economic development and cultural heritage preservation,” DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.
Sec. Puyat stressed, “This is exactly what we want to foster in other cultural heritage sites across the country, to emphasize that tourism is serving a huge impact to the country’s economic progress and the development of people surrounding these sites.”
The 2022 Onwards vision is anchored on three pillars: 1) convergence of urban regeneration, 2) cultural heritage and 3) sustainable tourism, which will enable Intramuros to become a “sustainable creative urban heritage district.”
Intramuros Administration head Atty. Guiller Asido said: “With the help of the national government, we are progressively accomplishing our programs for our Intramuros. We’re done with some of our infrastructure projects, such as establishment of Museo de Intramuros, lighting and landscaping projects on Muralla street, Burgos and Bonifacio Drives, reclaiming of public spaces, and the rehabilitation of Fort Santiago, among other projects as well.”
Inside Fort Santiago
Six priority programs are slated to achieve this vision, namely: 1) preparation and implementation of the first Intramuros’ Conservation Management Plan (CMP), 2) pedestrianization of the streets, 3) Manila’s Tourism Circuit, 5) open spaces redevelopment, and 6) the SIMPLE program or the Strategy for the Effective Mainstreaming of People’s Living Entitlements which will address the long standing concern on the problem of informal settlers.
Making Intramuros a walkable city
The CMP aims to provide guidelines for the preservation and improvement of Intramuros as an urban heritage site. This plan also includes a disaster resiliency component to ensure safety of all people within Intramuros.
Four programs are also underway to enhance the tourism value and experience of the people. The pedestrianization of major roads enables better protection and appreciation of major destinations. The pedestrianization will also support the redevelopment of open spaces that both aim to relive the essence of and reconnect to this historical place. Complementary to these programs, Intramuros will form part of the “Manila’s Tourism Circuit,” converging with the Rizal Park, the National Museums, Binondo and other sites within the city.
Lastly, the SIMPLE program will improve the quality of living of informal settler families residing in Intramuros. The program provides beneficiaries subsidized socialized housing units outside the District, amounting to PhP450,000/unit, which they can eventually own.
With these projects, the Intramuros Administration encourages inclusivity and community participation, thus contributing to the local economy while taking pride of Manila’s historical heritage that transcends the entire Philippines.
It can be recalled that the number of visitors in Intramuros for the 1st semester of 2019 already reached 2.12 million, translating as well to Intramuros Administration’s achievement of 70.84% of its revenue target for 2019 during the first six months. This figure will potentially exceed the actual revenues generated in 2018 of PhP78.61 million.