Haunted Fort Santiago: Manila, Philippines

Haunted Fort Santiago: Manila, Philippines

Fort Santiago of Manila, Philippines

In one of the most historic parts of Manila, known as Intramuros, lies a darkly disturbing omen to the past. Fort Santiago continues to stand proudly in perfect condition within this area, visited by many people daily. The fort is designed in a Spanish vein. Intended to create protective walls, tasked with sheltering Intramuros from harm.

Fort Santiago Manila Philippines.
Inside the haunted Fort Santiago of Manila in the Philippines.

During its lifetime, which dates back to the late 1500s, Santiago Fort has had many different purposes. One of these purposes was to function as a prison both during the Spanish Colonial Period and WWII. This resulted in poor living conditions, overcrowding, torture and many, many deaths. Some people claim this to be one of the reasons that make this fort so haunted.

Memorial to the dead within Fort Santiago, Manila, Philippines.
Looking out across the middle of Fort Santiago. A white cross sits as a memorial to those who died within the fort.

Ghosts of Fort Santiago

Whilst there are many ghost stories circulated about Fort Santiago, one stands out for centering on a particularly well-known ghost. Jose Rizal, both a national hero of the Philippines and Fort Santiago’s most famous prisoner is that ghost. Rizal was kept prisoner at the fort in the lead up to his execution. To this day, many people believe that Rizal’s soul lingers, still trapped within the former prison. He has been sighted in many areas around the fort. Though, mostly around the area that he was held just before his execution. Other have claimed to hear his voice or even his ghostly footsteps marching along the path he took to his execution site (marked out for visitors to walk inside the fort to this day).

Jose Rizal's last steps through Fort Santiago.
These brass footsteps cutting through Fort Santiago symbolize the last walk Jose Rizal ever took.

In addition to the ghost of Jose Rizal, there are thought to be countless other spirits residing within the Santiago Fort. Many of these are thought to be prisoners that were tortured and executed in the dungeons after the Japanese captured the fort during WWII. Visitors to the now historic museum and tourist attraction have claimed to sight the apparitions of these prisoners. Additionally, some have experienced unexplainable suddenly dropping temperatures, disembodied voices, screams and even being touched by unseen forces.

Fort Santiago prison cell.
Peering down into one of the deep prison cells within Fort Santiago.

Furthermore, soldiers and civilians who were killed during WWII within the fort are believed to roam the premises. Especially the ones who were caught up in the battle between Japanese and American forces to reclaim Intramuros. This battle laid the city to rubble. It also sadly claimed the lives of many, potentially also trapping their souls in this small area of the Philippines.

Fort Santiago prison cells in Manila.
Prison cells lined up within Fort Santiago of the Philippines.

Visiting Fort Santiago

Fort Santiago is open daily to visitors. A small entrance fee is charged for entry and the fort can be explored at the visitors’ own pace. Unfortunately, the lower level dungeons have been closed due to flooding and extensive damage from a recent storm.

Fortified walls of Fort Santiago.
Walking the fortified walls that contained the city of Intramuros in Manila, Philippines.

If you enjoyed this article and are looking for more haunted places to explore within the Philippines, I highly recommend checking out the Clark Airbase Hospital.

Thanks for reading!


Amy's Crypt Signature

About Amy

Amy is a world traveller and explorer of creepy locations. She has visited some of the most famously haunted places around the world in search of evidence of the paranormal. Follow Amy's Journey:

Comments (8)

  • Paul leigh

    Posted by Paul leigh on September 29, 2019

    I have stayed at Antrobus Hotel or an Inn in Amesbury near Salisbury England one of the oldest village sites there. Just a stone throw away is Stonehenge. Check it out…Room 6 and Room 7 is believed to be most haunted. This place is over 700 years old, lots of history, famous on TV, even the Beatles stayed there for their film production in 1960s. For me, in room 6, I had the light go on and off at different intervals, only to discover that I was playing with the spirit. when the light went off and as I soon pointed to it, it came back on. I did it in 2 seconds, 1 minute and even 2 minute intervals.Try that. I checked on youtube they had a seance of some sort in room 6. Good luck!


      Posted by Amy on October 2, 2019

      Hi Paul! Thanks so much for reading. I appreciate the suggestion too. It sounds like an interesting place.

  • Alma

    Posted by Alma on October 22, 2020

    I have visited Corregidor several years back and i felt strange feelings esp in the Malinta tunnel. I took several pictures in the lateral tunnels and there is one picture that stand out… it had so many ORBS! Is this ghostly appearances?


      Posted by Amy on October 22, 2020

      Thanks for sharing, Alma. Corregidor Island is a fascinating place. Some people believe that orbs showing up in photographs could be spirits, but it is always important to note there could be other reasons for their presence (e.g. dust, moisture in the air, lens flares etc). I hope this helps.

  • Rich Hamiltoion

    Posted by Rich Hamiltoion on November 6, 2022

    Hi I just visited the fort Santiago cave it was scary I smell strange smell and I feel that they don’t want me to visit in the cave


      Posted by Amy on November 8, 2022

      Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • SowlowVisit

    Posted by SowlowVisit on January 30, 2023

    Hi! Just visited the underground dungeons today and took some videos. Mysteriously, after I cam home and checked my phone’s photo and video album, the videos I took weren’t there. It just vanished.


      Posted by Amy on February 12, 2023

      Oh no, that is such a shame. I wonder if something paranormal was the cause?

Leave a Reply