National Gallery of Art
This proud museum, which reopened in 2008 after being closed for four years of renovations, contains many of the Philippines’ signature works of art, including Juan Luna’s stunning Spoliarium, which provides harsh commentary on Spanish rule. It’s in the old Congress building designed by Daniel Burnham, across the street from its sister National Museum of the Filipino People.
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When Miguel Lopez de Legazpi wrested control of Manila, he chose to erect his fortress on the remnants of the Islamic settlement by the mouth of the Pasig River. Intramuros, as Legazpi's walled city came to be called, was invaded by Chinese pirates, threatened by Dutch forces, and held by the British, Americans and Japanese at various times, yet it survived until the closing days of WWII, when it was finally destroyed by US bombing during the Battle of Manila.
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