By Kevin Conrad Ibasco, Raymond Mesina, and Christopher John Versoza

Note: This is a paper produced under the Internship Program of the IA Center for Intramuros Studies.


From the 1950s until the creation of the IA charter, Intramuros rose from the ashes and became a noble and ever loyal city once more. Since the creation of the Intramuros Administration, buildings of historical importance and cultural significance have been restored and preserved. And as the Walled City continues to progress, its built environment changed as well. From modern buildings, to commercial hubs, residential compounds, and institutional structures, Intramuros is filled with vigor and embraced by Filipinos as an important aspect of our nation’s history. And in order to fulfill the reimagination of the colonial past, built structures within the walls should abide and conform to the late 19th century spanish architectural standards. However, 34 years after the enactment of P.D. No. 1616, Intramuros was filled with informal settlers, parking lots, warehouses, and newly constructed buildings have disregard the laws pertaining to the architectural ambiance of the old Spanish settlement. As a result, Intramuros’ former glory faded and became undistinguishable due to these irregularities. But nevertheless, IA’s continuous efforts together with various historical and cultural institutions in revitalization, preservation, and sustainable development are being implemented until this very day.

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the IA’s efforts in regulating the built environment of Intramuros, and review how the built structures within the walls changed and characterized after the formation of the IA Charter. Furthermore, the completion of the study is greatly aided by the IA’s use of trustworthy sources and available data covering buildings from 1979 to 2019. Following are the findings of a detailed examination and investigation in the study: (1) All structures are registered with the Intramuros Administration and follow all applicable rules and regulations. (2) Conforming structures adhere to the rules, but non-conforming structures doesn’t show information. (3) The existence of new structures in Intramuros has no impact on its historic status. Lastly, to provide assistance to the Intramuros Administration a list (table) of structures (conforming and non-conforming) in terms of regulation and policy implementation.

Keywords: Intramuros; Intramuros Administration; Built Environment; Conforming Buildings; Nonconforming Buildings; Policy Implementation; Architectural Design and Guidelines

To get a copy of the paper email [email protected]

About the Interns

This research paper was completed in September 2021 under the internship of Kevin Conrad Ibasco, Raymond Mesina, and Christopher John Versoza

Kevin Conrad A. Ibasco is a 4th Year Bachelor of Arts in History student at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines – Manila. Since elementary, he is passionate when it comes to the promotion and study of history. His interest in the field revolves on local and oral history, environmental history, pre-colonial history, and heritage preservation. With these, he already presented the following research papers in various conferences: Gobernadorcillo: Ang Ambag ng Pamilyang Henson sa Angeles, Pampanga noong Ika-19 na Dantaon, Espasyong Panlipunan sa Maynila: Mga Pagbabago at Paggalaw sa Lungsod Bunsod

ng Okupasyong Amerikano (1898-1916) and The Tale of a Forgotten Hero: Pedro Calosa and the 1931 Tayug Colorum Uprising. He became one of the Founding Members of the Youth for Pangasinan Heritage . He is also the former President of the PUP Samahan ng mga Mag-aaral ng Kasaysayan (PUPSMK) and member of the Alyansa ng mga Pangkasaysayang Organisasyong Pangmag-aaral ng Pilipinas (ANGKOPP) and Local Historical Committees Network of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines. He pioneered the establishment of PUP Society of Pangasinan Students this 2021.

Apart from his interest in history, Kevin advocates for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, Climate Action and the Earth Sciences. He is one of the Founding Members of Earth Shaker Philippines and currently serves the people of Pangasinan through Pangasinan Youth for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management as Founder and President. As a youth leader, he was awarded as the Ten Outstanding Youth Leaders of Pangasinan in 2018 and one of the National Finalists in the Seven Outstanding Juans of the Philippines in 2021.

Testimonial: “Having an internship with the Intramuros Administration (IA) has been one of the milestones in my life. I would describe my virtual stay with IA as both historic and triumphant. Historic in the sense that with the prevalence of a health crisis, this is the first-ever online internship program I’ve got into which prompts us to experience being part of the IA’s Archival and Records Section virtually. Despite the limitations brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, my month-long journey with the Administration emerged triumphant with the following: I’ve learned more on the whereabouts of Intramuros and harnessed my appreciation to our country’s rich cultural heritage. With the supervision of Mr. Rancho Arcilla, I and my groupmates, Christopher and Raymond were able to finish a research paper which served as an avenue to gain more knowledge on other disciplines concerning Intramuros. On the other hand, as an intern, I fully understand what it takes to be a cultural worker – in service with the Filipino people through upholding truth, excellence and wisdom.”

I’m Raymond G. Mesina from Tondo, Manila. I’m currently in my 4th year and studying at Polytechnic University of the Philippines – Manila, and taking up a Bachelor of Arts in History. My most interest topics are in Philippine History such as the Pre-16th century Philippines, Cultural History, Local History, Philippine Films and the Arts of the Filipino Artists. I’m also a member of an organization in my University such as the Samahan ng Mag-aaral ng Kasaysayan (PUP-SMK). I previously wrote some papers together with my groupmates regarding the hygiene customs and traditions of Bisaya in the 16th century and also I wrote about the history of Locality in the Philippines, such as the History of Pampanga. With these, I continue to develop my skills in writing and creating a research paper and thesis about culture, society and history about the Philippines. When it comes to proposing and writing on historical themes, primary materials such as books, records, and storytelling are also quite useful to me as a history major.

Testimonial: ‘‘I knew from the beginning that this Internship in Intramuros Administration will be challenging and hard for us as interns because of the situations that we’re facing right now. It is also difficult for us in this new system of learning and dealing with this new kind of online experience in our lives. This is new for me and the other interns because the COVID-19 prevents us from learning the skills on-site, but it is also for our safety and health. In the span of a month as an intern at IA has given me a better understanding of Intramuros’ rich history and its significance as a cultural heritage in the Philippines. With the help of our Instructor, sir Rancho Arcilla, he helps us to create a research study or paper about the buildings in Intramuros by providing some credible sources from Intramuros Administration for us to finish and accomplish the paper. My groupmates, Kevin and Christopher, are also very great, hard-working and talented when it comes to writing a research paper and come up with some of the topics regarding Intramuros. I am thankful for them because of the completion of the paper even though we have different problems and dilemmas in our everyday lives, we remain strong and determined to finish the study. I also thank the Intramuros Administration for giving me an opportunity to discover new learnings and fruitful experiences that I may use in the future.’’

Christopher John Versoza is a BA History undergraduate student at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines – Sta. Mesa, Manila. As a university scholar and a socio-civic affiliate, his interest in Philippine history, culture, and heritage management made him advocate for the preservation and conservation of tangible and intangible heritage in the country. His researches dwell on the Pre-colonial Philippines, the Japanese Occupation, and Historic Preservation and Heritage Management in the Philippines. Christopher’s active participation both inside and outside the academe made him excel and lead with integrity in various fields. He was a former Executive Vice President of the PUP – Samahan ng mga Mag-aaral ng Kasaysayan, a member of the Alyansa ng mga Pangkasaysayang Organisasyong Pangmag-aaral ng Pilipinas (ANGKOPP), former Councilor and Academic Affairs Head of the College of Social Sciences and Development Student Council, and recently, the former Secretary and Educational Committee Head of the PUP – Bukluran sa Sikolohiyang Pilipino. He is also the former President of the National Eagle Scouts Association of the Philippines Rajah Sulayman Chapter, the premiere and honor society of Eagle Scouts in the Philippines and an associate of the Association of Top Achiever Scouts (ATAS), an international confederation of high-ranking members of the Scouting movement.

Testimonial: “Being an intern at one of the vanguard institutions that aspires to preserve the history, culture, and heritage in our country is both an honor and achievement during my years in the academe. Despite being in an online set-up due to the pandemic, I have acquired multiple knowledge and experience from the discussions of our hands-on supervisor Mr. Rancho Arcilla, and my groupmates (Kevin and Raymond) who dedicated their time and effort completing our day-to-day tasks. With that said, I hope that these newly acquired knowledge and skills hone me not only as a student but also as an individual who could make a difference in the near future.’’

Internship Mentor: Rancho Arcilla, M.A.

Learn more about the Internship Program of the Center for Intramuros Studies

Contact us: [email protected]

Interested in applying for an internship at the IA Center for Intramuros Studies? Email us your CV with cover letter via [email protected]. Address your letter to Rancho Arcilla, Coordinator, Center for Intramuros Studies, Intramuros Administration. For more information on our Internship Program go here.

Note: The opinions expressed by our interns in their papers and presentations during their internships with us do not necessarily reflect any statement, stand, or position of the Intramuros Administration or of any of its personnel. Moreover, inclusion of research papers or project proposals in the online database of the Center for Intramuros Studies or the website of the Intramuros Administration do not necessarily constitute as an endorsement.

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