The National Museum is set to reconstruct the ruined but historic 17th-century Fort San Pedro in Iloilo City.
Located at the end of General Hughes (now Ramon Muzones) Street, the fort otherwise known as Fuerza Nuestra Señora del Rosario was built in 1616 originally against Dutch invasion. It was destroyed during World War II.
Surviving to this day are the foundations of its two seaside bastions.
In a recent post to the Old Iloilo Facebook page, National Museum Jeremy Barns asked for any archival materials that could help them in the project.
“We want to start excavating the site soon, and we need all research materials that exist to feed into our plans for the fort’s eventual reconstruction,” he said.
“What we at the National Museum have managed to gather concerning the structure destroyed in 1945-1948 is so paltry that we might not be able to make a robust plan, so, please help or guide us to all known references.”
Barns added NM was willing to lead a comprehensive reconstruction if there was solid basis.
“Knowing that the fort was the very reason for the foundation of Iloilo (same as Zamboanga), we want to do the best possible job to bring back the material genesis of this great Filipino city.”
Barns explained that NM promised a well-reconstructed fort “for all of us to enjoy and celebrate as Iloilo’s Ground Zero.”
“But,” he added, “only if we have enough information from which we can proceed to our collective satisfaction that we’re really bringing back what was so tragically lost to all of us in the Allied bombing that liberated our country and the consequent bulldozing by the city in around 1948.”
Aside from Fort San Pedro, the National Museum has two other landmark projects in the city.
NM’s regional office, the Art Deco Old Jaro Municipal hall is soon to be opened to the public, as well as its local branch, the restored Old Iloilo Provincial Jail, which is over a hundred years old.
“Both are going to be such great landmarks of sensitive adaptive reuse that you are all going to be so proud of,” Barns said.