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The Department of Tourism (DOT), in partnership with the Intramuros Administration (IA) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), is converging military heritage and cultural tourism while reinforcing the safety and security of tourists in the Walled City with the inauguration of the new headquarters of the 1304th Ready Reserve Infantry Battalion (RRIBn) at Cuartel de Sta. Lucia, Intramuros, on Monday, May 20.

This partnership highlights the enduring spirit of collaboration, merging military heritage with cultural tourism to enhance Intramuros’ historic site’s appeal as a safe destination for locals and tourists alike.

Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco, a commissioned army reservist as Lieutenant Colonel, emphasized the importance of this integration, stating, “Intramuros, the heart of Manila, has always been a beacon of our heritage. By establishing the battalion headquarters here, we are not only honoring our past but also paving the way for a future where history and service to our nation are intertwined to create a unique tourist destination.”

In 2023, Intramuros welcomed a total of 4,294,572 tourists, generating PhP 124,460,699.92 in revenue compared to the previous year.

Additionally, the Spanish colonial-era structure has once again been nominated as Asia’s Leading Tourist Attraction at the London-based World Travel Awards 2024. It previously held this title in 2022, 2020, and 2016, and was crowned the World’s Leading Attraction in 2020.

The new headquarters, located within the historic Philippine Constabulary Barracks on Santa Lucia St., will serve as a designated stop for the Philippines Hop-on Hop-off (HOHO) tours, offering tourists a unique experience of the country’s military history.

Moreover, the modern-day stronghold of the reservist will be included in the HOHO Manila Cultural Hub tours reintroducing the Capital City and Intramuros focusing on its heritage, culture, and story. The said Cultural Hub features nine stops which will round up at the Walled City.

Lieutenant Colonel Frasco added, “This milestone reflects the 1304th’s continued dedication to service and readiness and also enriches the historical narrative of Intramuros. It integrates military heritage with the cultural tapestry of Manila, creating a synergy that enhances the overall tourist experience.”

The ceremonial ribbon-cutting and unveiling of the marker were followed by a fancy and combat drill performed by the Polytechnic University of the Philippines ROTC Unit and the 1304th RRIBn personnel. Regular silent drills are planned for Sundays to serve as an added attraction to the Walled City aside from the security complement to maintain peace and order.

“As we embark on this new chapter, let us celebrate the partnership that has made this possible. The integration of military heritage and cultural tourism in Intramuros symbolizes our commitment to preserving our past while embracing the future. Together, we will continue to make the Philippines a top destination for travelers from around the world,” Secretary Frasco concluded.

Philippine Army General Romeo Brawner Jr., represented by Major General Joel Alejandro Nacnac, AFP Chief of Staff; Major General Potenciano Camba; Brigadier General Samuel Manzano; Colonel Ferdinand Rey Ga, National Capital Region, Regional Community Defense Group of the Philippine Army; Lieutenant Colonel Xavier Celestial, Commander, 1304th (The Fort) Ready Reserve Infantry Battalion of the NCRRCDG, Philippine Army; Deputy Speaker and also an army reservist Lieutenant Colonel, Duke Frasco; Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Philippines Chapter Chair Maria Paz Alberto; and National Association of Independent Travel Agencies (NAITAS) President Racquel Sabucido all attended the ceremony and expressed support for the endeavor.

Meanwhile, IA Administrator Joan Padilla also welcomed the RRIBn to Cuartel de Sta. Lucia, the former home of the Philippine Constabulary. Also present were DOT Undersecretary Shereen Gail Yu-Pamintuan, Assistant Secretaries Rica Bueno and Gissela Quisumbing, Major and DOT Director Ronald Conopio, DOT NCR Assistant Regional Director Cathy Agustin, and National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) Executive Director Cecille Lorenzana Romero, and community tour guides who also graced the event.

Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco (center), a commissioned army reservist as Lieutenant Colonel, led the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the inauguration of the new headquarters of the 1304th Ready Reserve Infantry Battalion (RRIBn) at Cuartel de Sta. Lucia, Intramuros, on Monday, May 20.
DOT Secretary Frasco emphasized that the collaboration between the Department of Tourism (DOT), Intramuros Administration (IA), and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) aims to make Intramuros a safer and more attractive tourist attraction for both locals and tourists.
L-R: Brigadier General Samuel Manzano, Major General Potenciano Camba, Lieutenant Colonel Frasco, and Major General Joel Alejandro Nacnac unveil the marker of headquarters of the 1304th RRIBn in Intramuros, Manila.
The Philippines Hop-on Hop-off (HOHO) tours will now include a stop at the new headquarters in the historic Philippine Constabulary Barracks on Santa Lucia St. in Intramuros, offering tourists a unique glimpse into the country’s military history.
Regular silent drills are planned for Sundays to enhance the Walled City’s attractions aside from the security complement to help maintain peace and order.

Published:May 21, 2024

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