Quezon: San Diego de Alcala Fortress

Located in Gumaca in the province of Quezon, San Diego de Alcala Fortress is a historical Spanish structure that is recognized as a National Treasure since 1981.

Also known to locals as Kutang San Diego, the fortress was constructed sometime in 1680s or 1690s. It was due to the suggestion and leadership of a Franciscan priest named Fray Francisco Coste that the fortress was constructed in the town. Its main purpose was to guard the town from marauding pirates attacking from Lamon Bay. Aside from that, it also served as the primary defense of the town against the invading Dutch in 1700s. 
As seen from the bridge in the town
Up close and personal
As a defensive structure, the fortress still has some of its cannons intact. Aside from that, it was said that there used to be an existing tunnel between the fortress and the San Diego de Alcala Church (Cathedral). However, its entrance, the well located in the fort's platform, is now covered (for safety purposes). Historically, there were four fortresses built in the different towns in the bay area of the province, however, due to the acts of God and destructiveness of man, only the Kutang San Diego and Iskong Bantay in Atimonan remained to this day. 
The facade of Kutang San Diego looks like a shouting man
The Spanish seal
NHI Marker
My sister checking out if there are pirates nearby
Inside the fort
Cannons ready for battle
Kuta San Diego as seen from the bay area
Another view of the fortification
The stairs going up the structure
My cousin shot me and I shot her.
Today, the San Diego de Alcala Fortress stands as a silent reminder of Spain's former dominion of the town. Some of its cannons are still pointed out to the bay waiting for an attack that would probably never come. Although maintained, the fortress has evident signs of restorations and "upgrades". The most evident of which is the metal gate that blocks anyone from easily getting in and out of the fortress. Lucky for us, the caretaker of the fortress was in the area during our visit. He told me that the gates are required to protect the National Treasure from people who might vandalize it. That reminds me of the crazy people who used the historical Iskong Bantay in Atimonan, Quezon as their toilet. Despite these additions, Kutang San Diego is still a must see and visit place in Gumaca.
Ready... aim...

Update: I got the chance to revisit San Diego de Alcala Fortress mid May 2016 as part of the Experience Quezon 2016 Media Tour. I was lucky enough to see it amidst the ongoing festival of the town. I'm happy to say that the fortress underwent a restorative paint job which makes it look better than the first time I saw it.

Getting there:

From Manila, Cubao, or Alabang ride a bus heading to Naga City or Legaspi City. Tell the conductor to drop you off at Gumaca poblacion. San Diego de Alcala Fortress is just a few blocks away from the town hall and the church you wont miss it.


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