Suprisingly, I have not been to this Fort and its beside the Metropolitan Museum. I have heard about and read about it but I have never visited it. It is not as big as it big brothers in Intramuros that guards the gates of the walled city but it is eequally interesting. Built in 1584, its task was to guard the route or road from Cavite to Manula. The fort was also built to guard the rear of Intramuros.
Ironically, Fort was used by the British during 1762 Battle of Manila. Brigadier-General William Draper, occupied the fort and setup an artillery battery against Intramuros. the battle though did not begin immediately – bad weather prevented this. But when the sky cleared the battle commenced. The British attacked Intramuros from the sea with its ships commaned by and from the land via the battery. And after hours they had succeeded in silencing the guns of Intramuros, the very next day the Brtish cannonade were able make a significant breach in the citadel of Intramuros.
In the light of this and subsequent failure of the Spanish forces to repel the British the acting-governar and Captain General Archbishop Manuel Rojo surrendered. Ten days passed between the arrival of British and the surrencer of Manila. Some people say that the houses between Fort San Antonio Abad and Intramuros prevented the Spaniards from repulsing the British. Some say that the condition of the Spanish military forces was diminished that defeat was inevitable. Some pointed out that without a military leader also led to the defeat. Whatever the reason may have been Intramuros was in the hands of the British.
It was left to Vice-Governor Simon de Anda to form a new Spaniosh base in Bacolor, Pampanga and led the Spanish resistance against the British until 1764 when the 1763 Treaty of Paris returned the Philippines to the Spanish – by that time Rojo has died and Anda was a hero who eventually became Gover-General of the Philippines.
Years after the Fort became a storage house for gun powder and was called La Povorista.
The fort was again taken over by invaders in 13 Aug 1898, Lt. Col McCoy and his men from First Batallion of the the First Colorado Regimen took possession of the fort and hoisted the American flag over it.
During World War II, the Japanse Imperial Forces made the fort into a bunker and installed a cannon.
This triangular fort is still standing between the Central Bank and the Metropolitan Museum. And like all things it has proven itself resilient. Restored and with an inward looking cannon mounted on top -It is now a place where one holds cocktails and parties.
Going to the Fort is not hard, even without a party invitation, one just has to pass through the Metropolitan Museum or the Central Bank. Inside the fort is a manicured garden and where guards once stood there were roaming gardeners keeping everything trim and proper.
How times have changed.
But it was worth the trip.
More pictures of Fort San Antonio Abad from Pinoysnapshot.com