Friday, January 26, 2007


Time flies. This coming Sunday would be the fourth and final session of my basic photography classes held at Fort Santiago in Intramuros. It is a beautiful historic place; one of the oldest fortifications in Manila.

Named after St. James, Slayer of Moors (Santiago Matamoros), it stands at the mouth of Pasig River. A wooden relief sculpture portraying Saint James ferociously slaying the Moors adorns the fort’s main gate.

This is the site of Rajah Soliman’s native settlement which was burned to the ground by the Spaniards. In its place, the first Spanish fort was built; a palisaded structure made of logs and earth. The Chinese pirates led by Limahong destroyed it in 1574. Between 1589 and 1592, a stone fort was built only to be destroyed by an earthquake in 1645. It was then repaired and strengthened from between 1658 to 1663. Further repairs and renovations were completed in 1778.

During their respective colonial and occupational reign, the Spanish, British, American and Japanese forces made use of Fort Santiago as their military headquarters. The Japanese Kempei Tai imprisoned and tortured hundreds of men and women here at the height of the Second World War. Destroyed by the Americans during the battle of Manila, Fort Santiago was rebuilt in 1950 as a public park and declared Shrine of Freedom.

The fort’s dungeons were originally created as storage vaults and powder magazine. However, due to the dampness caused by the humid weather and the nearness of the vaults to the Pasig River, the Spaniards decided to build a new powder magazine. The original vaults were then converted into prison cells and storerooms.

Rumors abound that a flooding chamber existed within this complex — a small underground dungeon wherein prisoners stood helplessly as water flooded in up to waist level. And with the high tide, the water would rise and drown them. Supposedly, some twenty bodies were discovered by the Americans in this chamber when they occupied Manila in 1898.

Over the ruins of one of the oldest brick barracks dating back to 1593, stands the Rizal Shrine. Built in 1953, it is a modern museum with a permanent exhibition of the national hero’s memorabilia. A replica of Rizal’s cell where he was detained during his final days is the museum’s main attraction.

As I had once mentioned in a previous entry, Manila's Historic Fort, I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect venue for a photography workshop. And for those who live in Metro Manila or in the surrounding provinces who wish to take weekend classes in basic photography, I highly recommend this workshop offered by FPPF. Seasoned professional photographers conduct the classes, and what would usually cost P5000 is only P2750 because the program is sponsored by Fuji.

posted by Señor Enrique at 7:21 AM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG, Eric! The first photo is just magical! The fountain, the trees, the flowers...could this be Eden? I literally exclaimed in delight - Wow! upon opening your blog, at the sight of this photo. I'm not over-reacting. Honest, ganoon talaga ang dating sa akin.

January 26, 2007 8:56 AM  

Blogger wernicke said...

You are truly gifted, you have the eye for photography :) And thank you for posting info on the photography lessons. I am considering it. Would you know if my Canon Ixus izoom 5.0 mega pixel camera would suffice or another more high tech camera would be required?

Have a great day!

January 26, 2007 9:49 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I love the history behind this fort and it's beautiful too, the whole place!


I like the second picture, a lot!

January 26, 2007 9:56 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Know what, Rhoda? Just the other day I was asked by someone, "What excatly is your purpose with photography?" And what came out instantaneously from me was, "To put a smile on someone somewhere by seeing a picture I had taken and posted on my blog."

Based on your comment, I think it's safe for me to say that I am able to actualize that purpose of mine.

Thanks, Rhoda. Friends like you put a smile on my face, too, as well as inspire me to do better.

God bless!

January 26, 2007 10:39 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Believe it or not, Wernicke, I am not gifted at all. This photo merely demonstrates what I had learned from my teachers (Ador Pamintuan, Ed Yap, Cecile Angeles, and many others) at these workshops.

Yes! That point and shoot camera is enough. Actually, my nephew is using an old film camera borrowed from me -- now he's challenged to master it.

But for your first class, take Basic Photography first -- excellent primer! If you did sign up, let me now and I'll look you up because the next workshop I will attend also falls on Sundays :)

January 26, 2007 10:44 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

As I've once mentioned, Kyels, our country appreciates visitors like you .. and hope you do come back :)

I'm sure the second picture evokes fond memories of Manila, huh?

Thus, Manila begins to beckon Kyels, "Come back ... come back!"


January 26, 2007 10:46 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haven't I seen the picture of the fountain before in black and white? I like the coloured version better.

January 26, 2007 12:28 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

it's not a rumor when you're talking about the flooded dungeons.
you can see the small windows of the flooded dungeons looking like
those from a sinking ship.

I'm sure I took a picture of that sometime ago from the opposite side or from
the river with Ambeth Ocampo (promise, I'll blog about this "historic" tour

btw, please send the info I'm requesting to my gmail address (paetechie)
so we can exchange text links. I can't browse the web more often than you.

hope to come up with a photoblogger's EB too since I don't like the idea of a commercialized
blogger's party with different fields of interests

gracias, senor!

January 26, 2007 2:19 PM  

Blogger Francesca said...

nong kabataan ko, dyan ako pasyal ng bf ko turned my husband then ex husband.

Cool and romantic dyan parang nasa Jose Rizal times ka when in side.

When Michel and I were in Manila, we visited the area and Michel loved the place because inspite of the bustling city theres like an oasis . Ang ganda raw.

January 26, 2007 4:55 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Same fountain, Irene, but this one was taken last Sunday. The previous post was in black & white, this was taken with exposure setting called "high key" -- purposely overexposing certain aspects of the composition to give it an artsy feel.

January 26, 2007 5:10 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Wow! Didn't realize Fort Santiago means something to you Francesca. Cool :)

It's a well-maintained park and a lot of people come to visit it. A true Manila's pride, indeed!

January 26, 2007 5:13 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh no! you've published my email in the exact form for harvesting by spambots :(
can you edit that one, please, lest i receive tons of spam in that address

i'm too busy to edit my pictures and also because i don't access the net outside the office
(i'm allergic to computers the moment I step ut of the office)

about ambeth, i inquired about a repeat of that one (there was only one) and the Ayala museum staff told me they've no plans for a repeat for you guys.

they're planning for a walking tour. my personal observation: ambeth is a great historian/writer but he's not yet a good tour guide-- but he's at least authoritative on the subject!

January 26, 2007 6:31 PM  

Blogger Sidney said...

Are ghosts haunting Fort Santiago? ;-)

January 26, 2007 6:34 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Funny, I thought about that the oher night, Sidney. I bet the best to ask are the security guards. I'm sure they have plenty to share :)

January 26, 2007 7:31 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Ok, Tito, removed it. Sorry!

My friend Allen (fellow photo enthusiast) had Ambeth as history prof in Ateneo and he claimed that he was hilarious but rather tough in giving exams.

I kinda know how you feel about those parties ... hehehe!

January 26, 2007 7:43 PM  

Blogger Belle TH said...

Hola Senor Enrique! The first picture is amazing! Can you get the same effect with point and shoot camera? I, too, would like to take photography classes,if I find time out of my busy schedule. It is a fun hobby and cheap once the camera is paid for.

January 27, 2007 7:56 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi Belle!

If your point & shoot camera has manual settings, yes!

Not only is photography creative and fun, it is also quite meditative and relaxing; hence an effective stress reliever!

Next week starts PhotoWorld Manila at Glorietta where many camera suppliers will display and sell their latest stuff. Many will offer interest-free credit card purchases.

January 27, 2007 8:35 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hola, senor! i was showing the amazing pictures to my sons, and was asking them if we could do the same (using our digital cam). they say you really had very nice shoots, and that you must be using a professional cam.

btw, a few months ago, i brought my whole family to fort santiago (yes, all 7 kids, plus friends). they called it a field trip (and i thought field trips are organized only by schools). we had a couple of pictures, but they have not captured the way yours did. i'm learning...

January 27, 2007 11:10 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

There are some digital point & shoot cameras these days, Dine, that allows a user to set it for manual settings and achieve this same effect. However, a digital SLR has a wider range of setting capabilities.

As with Belle, I recommend that you check out the FPPF workshop at Fort Santiago, Dine. You are going to enjoy it a lot, I'm sure!

I came from a big family (8 kids). You can imagine how we look like whenever on a family outing ... hehehe. But it was lots of fun. Yes, many families I see flock to Fort Santiago on weekends.

January 27, 2007 11:44 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...


I came accross your page while I was google-ing Celdran tours, intrested kasi sana akong sumali sa intramuros tour niya, worth it ba ung bayad sa tour niya?

Another thing, your pictures are great...... You are trully blessed. I read na you know where to enroll for a basi course in photography.... May I know where? Can I have their contact number? How much ba more or less ang basic photography course?

I am from Kidapawan City Cotabato. Is there a photography class na one week lng? O they are usually weekends lng? If weekends lng how many weekends?

Thank you very much. I had been looking up sa google for basic photography classess in Manila pero wala akong makita.... You are such a blessing na i stumble upon your page.

Thank you very much.

Tama ka, ang halaga ng photography ay makapag bigay ligaya sa naka kita nito....

I hope you could help me with my mnga tanong ....My email ad is


March 05, 2007 4:23 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Will email soonest all the info you requested :)

Good luck!

March 05, 2007 6:54 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think this is the same class my friend was talking about a few months ago. i wanted to go too but i don't have a professional cam or whatever u guys call it. anyway, kudos! really nice compositions. :D

March 09, 2008 10:43 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

It might very well be, Anonymous :)

Many thanks!

March 10, 2008 5:34 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i jUsT wAnt tO kNow.
kuNg paNo cOe mAkAkApAsOk Sa pHoToGrApHy LeSsOn?
i wAnT 2 LeArN..
pLeAsE seNd mE a MaiL..

March 25, 2008 12:17 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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