Today marks the 386th anniversary of Fort Pilar. The gray stone walls of the fort are the oldest reminder of the Spanish presence and the only surviving physical manifestation of the founding and early history of Zamboanga.
The fort was built and laid its cornerstone on June 23, 1635 under the direction of Fr. Melchor De Vera, SJ. It was formerly named as Real Fuerza de San Jose and later changed into Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Zaragosa. Its four bastions were named San Felipe, San Fernando, San Luis, and San Francisco Xavier.
In 1860, the Spanish-Jesuit ordered the sealing of the fort’s main gate to establish the Fort Pilar Shrine. Fort Pilar was declared as a National Cultural Treasure through Presidential Decree 260 on August 1, 1973. Then later turned into a museum facility of the #NationalMuseumPh, now named National Museum Western-Southern Mindanao.
Founded as southern outpost of Spanish Domain under the supervision of Melchor de Vera, 1635; Attacked by the Dutch, 1646; Deserted when troops were concentrated in Manila to drive away Chinese pirates, 1663; Rebuilt under the management of Juan Sicarra, 1719; Stormed by Dalasi, King of Bulig, with 3,000 Moros, 1720; Cannonaded by the British, 1798; Witnessed the mutiny of seventy prisoners, 1872; Abandoned by the Spaniards, 1898; Occupied by the Americans under General J.C. Bates, 1899; Seized by the Japanese, 1942; Taken over by the Republic of the Philippines, 4 July 1946.