Fort San Pedro opens its doors anew

FORT San Pedro at the Plaza Independencia in downtown Cebu City will open its doors to local tourists on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020.

City Attorney Rey Gealon made the announcement during a virtual press conference on Monday, Sept. 14.

The tourist facility dubbed “The Grand Dame of Cebu City Heritage Sites” was forced to turn away visitors when the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic struck and the city was placed on lockdown at the end of March.

Gealon said visitors will have to wear masks and submit themselves to a temperature check before entering.

He said Fort San Pedro, as well as other tourist spots in the city, can now operate at 50 percent capacity.

Fort San Pedro, or the Fuerte de San Pedro, is a military defense structure built during the time of the Spanish under the command of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, a navigator and governor who established the first Spanish settlement in the archipelago.

On Aug. 31, Mayor Edgardo Labella issued Executive Order (EO) 89 that allowed tourist spots to open at 50 percent operating capacity. The city was placed on the more relaxed modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) until the end of September.

Under EO 89, industries under Category 4 are allowed to operate. These are tourist spots, travel agencies, tour operators and reservation service providers; live events (subject to the Department of Tourism guidelines); full body massage parlors; tattoo and body piercing shops; driving schools; language, dance, acting and voice training centers; and libraries, archives, museums and cultural centers.

The public health emergency caused by Covid-19 forced some activities that promoted tourism and culture to go online, one of which was the Gabii sa Kabilin, an annual cultural event.

The earthquake that struck Visayas on Oct. 15, 2013 damaged at least 45 percent of the fort.

Restoration works amounted to P21.9 million and took at least six months to finish.

The National Historical Commission of the Philippines said the project covered the repair of the fort’s walls, the restoration of the bastion at the main entrance, the improvement and rehabilitation of the museum and the raising of the courtyard’s flooring and tiling so these would no longer be flooded. (JJL)


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