The current dungeons were originally the fort’s powder magazine, which the Spaniards used to store gunpowder. Due to its original purpose as gunpowder storage, the regualr flooding of the dungeons to drown its prisoners is clearly a hoax. The powder magazine became prison cells for guerrillas and civilians arrested during World War II. During the Battle of Manila in 1945, hundreds of prisoners squeezed inside the dungeons were abandoned by the Japanese. Owing to the combined effects of lack of food, air circulation, and sanitary conditions, the prisoners succumbed and none survived. Several corpses were discovered after the battle. They were given a decent burial in a mass grave near the dungeons. The white marble cross marks their final resting place.
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