Intramuros Learning Sessions episode no. 8


Filipinos look with awe at Intramuros because of its long history of colonial prestige and power. However, occupying its marginal spaces amid imposing fortifications and impressive architecture are informal settlements that are also part of the identity of the walled city. For this presentation, I narrate the history of informal communities in Intramuros and show its significance to the issue of heritage. Their story can be traced to as early as the late Spanish colonial period and remains integral to the present-day campaign to preserve the walled city not just for tourists but for the next generation of Filipinos. I show that heritage conservation and the provision of informal housing, although seemingly contradictory pursuits, can coexist in a single space, an insight that ought to be understood in light of what is also happening in other low-income countries that are dependent on tourism.

  • Guest speaker: Michael Pante, Ph.D.
  • Moderator: Rancho Arcilla

About the moderator: Rancho Arcilla

John Paul Escandor Arcilla, known professionally as Rancho Arcilla, is the author of the Intramuros Register of Styles (2021). He served as Chairperson of the Intramuros Technical Committee on Architectural Standards (TCAS) from June 2022 to May 2024. As TCAS Chairperson, Arcilla oversaw the review of all development, including new constructions, in the Walled City.

Arcilla was also the first Archivist of the Intramuros Administration. With a mandate from Atty. Guiller Asido, Administrator of Intramuros from 2017 to 2022, Arcilla established the Administration’s Archives and Central Records Section, serving as its first Section Head from July 2019 to June 2024.

He has an MA in Philippine Studies from UP Diliman and a BA in Asian Studies from the University of Santo Tomas. Arcilla specializes on colonial architecture.

In 2021, Arcilla was instrumental in the development of the Revised 2021 Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Presidential Decree No. 1616, the main framework and legal instrument in the management of Intramuros District. The architectural provisions of the IRR and the Intramuros Register of Styles (2021) is based on his MA thesis Walls within Walls: The Architecture of Intramuros (2021).

About the Intramuros Learning Sessions

The Intramuros Learning Sessions (ILS) is the educational lecture series of the Intramuros Administration (IA). The IA is an attached national government agency under the Department of Tourism. 

Topics are interdisciplinary and cover themes related to Intramuros and Manila studies, Philippine studies, as well as cultural heritage studies. Pursuant to IA’s charter, the ILS aims to contribute to the strengthening of the Filipino’s national identity and sense of belonging and pride.

See Previous ILS Episode
In Praise of the Popular: Re-examining the Folk Santos
See Next ILS Episode
1945 Battle of Manila: The Intramuros Experience

Check out our previous ILS episodes here

For more information contact the Center for Intramuros Studies via [email protected]
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