Intramuros hailed as ‘World’s Leading Tourist Attraction’ at the 27th World Travel Awards! 

October 14, 2020



Gabrielle De La Cruz

Editor’s Note: This article was first written as an announcement on the nomination of Intramuros as the World’s Leading Tourist Attraction, published on October 14, 2020. On November 28, 2020, the Department of Tourism announced in a Facebook post that Intramuros won the title among 15 other nominations. The Philippines was also awarded as the World’s Leading Dive Destination for the second time. In the afternoon of November 4, 2020, the Intramuros Administration shared the results of the competition for Asia via Facebook. The country’s Walled City was hailed by the World Travel Awards as Asia’s Leading Tourist Attraction, while the Philippines was recognized as Asia’s Leading Dive Destination and Asia’s Leading Beach Destination. The Department of Tourism was recognized as Asia’s Leading Tourist Board as well.

With its rich history and cultural significance, Intramuros is now recognized as an ultimate travel destination not only in the Philippines but in the entire world! Later today, the Intramuros Administration announced in a Facebook post that the Walled City has been nominated as the ‘World’s Leading Tourist Attraction’, about five years after the Intramuros Administration received the ‘Patrimonio’ or Heritage Award from The Association of Heritage Cities of Spain. 

In 2015, under the leadership of then Intramuros Administrator Marco Sardillo, the IA received the Premio Patrimonio, the first award to be conferred by the Group of UNESCO Heritage Cities of Spain to an organization outside of Europe. The award was given to recognize the administration’s efforts to preserve and protect Spanish colonial architecture in Manila.

Over the years, Intramuros has gained more recognition due to the number of renovations within its walls. It is undeniable that it received more appreciation during the lockdown, as images of Fort Santiago, Casa Manila, Baluarte de San Diego, and other museums and attractions within the historical city became and continue to be trending online. The movement is accompanied by the current local administration’s vision to restore Old Manila and preserve the city’s delicate heritage. 

Museo de Intramuros
Museo de Intramuros. The two-story building opened last May 2, with its first six months offering free admission. The museum is housed in two reconstructed buildings, the Mission House of the Society of Jesus and the San Ignacio Church.

The Walled City, although a site itself, has been known for centuries due to the number of historical places and spaces it holds. Intramuros boasts a total of 17 museums and galleries, including the famous Rizal Shrine Museum inside Fort Santiago, Light and Sound Museum, Archdiocesan Museum of Manila, and the city’s very own Museo de Intramuros. Intramuros once paved way for Manila to be dubbed as the ‘Rome of the East’, as it used to be home to seven churches. Two of these remain standing until today, the renowned Manila Cathedral and the UNESCO World Heritage Baroque Church, San Agustin. The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the overall policy-making body responsible for the preservation, development, and promotion of Philippine arts and culture, is also housed within the Walled City. 

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As Intramuros continues to be a glare of the past, it also chooses to evolve with the present. The Intramuros Administration launched its #travelfromhome initiative, a project that aims to provide visual pleasure to the public. The initiative covers the frequent posting of Intramuros photos and videos online, with the photos coming from the administration itself or from local and international tourists who wish to share their captured Intramuros memories. Heritage advocate Fung Yu, creator and photographer of, crafted a virtual aerial tour of Intramuros and an interior and exterior tour of the iconic Ayuntamiento Building.  A virtual tour was also made possible by the Intramuros Administration, giving the public a virtual exploration of how they can walk within the walls of the city. Despite the restrictions of community quarantine, the public is able to delight in the historical sites of Intramuros, serving as a reminder of the value and relevance of Philippine heritage. 

Intramuros Ayuntamiento Building
A virtual tour of Intramuros’ Ayuntamiento Building. Image courtesy of

READ MORE: Heritage travel from home: 5 virtual heritage tours to explore amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

For years, Intramuros has strived to serve as a beacon of hope for Philippine heritage and tourism. This World Travel Awards nomination might just be another beginning. 

The World Travel Awards is “the travel industry’s most prestigious awards program.” Since 1993, it has served as the global initiative that recognizes and rewards excellence in travel and tourism. This year, the Philippines, as a country, garnered two nominations, ‘World’s Leading Dive Destination’ and ‘World’s Leading Beach Destination.’ These are accompanied by Siargao’s nomination as ‘World’s Leading Island Destination’ and the country’s Department of Tourism nomination as ‘World’s Leading Tourist Board.’ Voting for the 2020 World Travel Awards will be open until 25 October. 


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