After that tiring walk of Calle Muralla, we decided to have merienda at a popular café situated in one of the wall’s several chambers before proceeding to Aduana Street. Aduana Street was named after the building located at one end of the road.
The Aduana was the custom house during the Spanish regime. The structure was built from 1823 to 1829 based on the designs of Spanish engineer Tomas Cortes. The 1863 earthquake left the structure unsound that it was ordered to be demolished in 1872. The Custom offices were moved across the Pasig River to the San Nicholas area.
A new building was built in 1876 to house some of the Custom offices, the Intendencia General de Hacienda, the Treasury and the new Casa de Moneda (Mint). The building became popularly known as the Intendencia or civil administration office.
During the American Period, Senate President Manuel Luis Quezon’s office was housed in the Intendencia (while Speaker Sergio Osmena occupies the Ayuntamiento). The building was damaged by the Japanese bombs in 1941 and by the American artillery in 1945.
The Intendencia was restored to house offices of the Central Bank, the National Treasury and the Commission on Elections until a fire left it in ruins in 1979.
Plans of restoring the building to house the National Archives is still in the waiting.
In front of the Intendencia is the Plaza Espana. The plaza was first known as Plaza Aduana. In 1897, the colonial government named Plaza de los Martires de la Integridad dela Patria in honor of the Spanish soldiers who died during the Philippine Revolution. The present name was given by the American in 1902.
In 1982, the Intramuros Administration restored the plaza and in 2000 it was renovated with the statue of King Philip II. The statue was unveiled by the Spanish monarch Queen Sophia as part of the closing activities of Philippine Independence Centennial.
The motherhouse of the Dominican order in the Philippines once stood south of the Aduana. The fifth Yglesia y Convento de Santo Domingo de Manila that stood on the same site was designed by Felix Roxas. The Church was neo-gothic in design and took three years to build.
The church and convent was reduced to ashes when the Japanese bombed that part of Intramuros in 941. Like other religious orders, the Dominicans did not return to Intramuros after the last Great War. Bank of the Philippine Island now occupies the lot.
To the southwest of Santo Domingo is a small plaza called Plaza Santo Tomas. The lot was meant to be the Dominicans cemetery and garden. The city government bought the plaza in 1861 for a place where to erect the statue of Queen Isabel II however the monument was placed in Arroceros instead.
In 1879, the university rector received permission to erect the statue Archibishop Miguel de Benavides, founder of the oldest university in Asia. In 2002, Plaza Santo Tomas was refurbished as part of the 400th anniversary of the foundation of the university.
A replica of the Benavides’ statue was erected on the site. A marker was also placed to honor the 53 alumni who signed the Malolos Constitution.
The Dominicans established two Dominican schools in Intramuros. One was being the oldest university in Asia and the other as a school for girls.
The Beaterio de Santa Rosa founded by the Dominican tertiary Mother Paula de la Santissima Trinidad. The school was initially an orphanage for girls. The Beaterio was famous in pre-war Manila for the Legend of the Twisted Sword.
The Royal and Pontifical University of Santo Tomas was created through the bequest of Archbishop Benavides in 1611. The institution was granted with royal recognition in 1618 by Philip II and given permission to confer academic degrees in 1624. The stature as a university was later granted. Charles III gave the title Real (Royal) in 1785 in recognition of patriotic student who volunteered for military duty upon news of British invasion.
In 1902, Pope Leo XIII gave UST its pontifical status. UST established a school in Sampaloc in 1927. The Law and Medicine remained in the Walled City.
UST in Intramuros was severely destroyed during the 1945 Battle for Manila. Only a section of the main portal remained which currently stands in the Sampaloc campus. This is known as the Arch of the Century.
Real Monasterio de Santa Clara
Hidden in isolation within Intramuros was the Real Monasterio de Santa Clara. The Clarisas of the Philippines was founded in 1621 by mother Jeronima de la Asuncion, native of Toledo, Spain and relative of the monarch (Hence the “Real” was attached to the name of the convent). The convent became popular for devotees who Offer Eggs to Santa Clara for good weather.
The 1945 Battle for Manila destroyed the convent. The order sold their property and moved to Cubao along Katipunan Avenue where it founded a new monastery.
Information source: Ciudad Murada by Jose Victor Torres