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See LEGO Models of the Country's Iconic Landmarks at This Intramuros Exhibit

It's time to pay a visit to Fort Santiago.
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When was the last time you visited Fort Santiago? Perhaps it was still back in grade school, during a field trip with your classmates and teachers in tow. And who really goes back to pay a visit? Only students, tourists, and history buffs seem to frequent the Intramuros landmark these days.

But unknown to many, the Intramuros Administration, in collaboration with the Royal Danish Embassy in Manila, and Felta Multimedia, Inc., developed a part of the historic site that even casual visitors would love to see.

The iMake History Fortress at the Baluarte de Santa Barbara in Fort Santiago, which features LEGO models of some of the country’s most iconic landmarks, is the first history-based LEGO Education center in the world. The two-story facility, which was opened in March 2018, aims to celebrate Philippine architecture, and the Danish brand's versatility not only as a toy but as a tool for learning. 

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"The adaptive reuse of the Baluarte de Santa Barbara will serve as a venue for visitors especially the youth for them to discover how Lego materials can be used as model for architecture/building, early engineering, history, and incorporating computer programming such as the Philippine eagle on display made from Lego materials with robotics," the Intramuros administration said on its website. 

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According to Chestnut Amatong, the exhibit regularly changes the LEGO models on display. Amatong is one of the members of Philippine LEGO Users Group, an official organization of LEGO enthusiasts in the country. Felta tapped the group's members to regularly develop models of some of the country's landmarks. 

For the first quarter of 2019, the exhibit includes 3D models of the Manila Metropolitan Theatre, Manila City Hall and the famous ancestral home the Ruins in Talisay, Bacolod City to name a few. 

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No exhibit on the country’s most celebrated architectural wonders would be complete without our photogenic churches, of course. Monochromatic LEGO brick models of the churches decimated by World War II were also on display, which includes the seventh design of the Manila Cathedral, Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Lourdes and Iglesia de Santo Domingo.

These particular models were developed by students from some of the country's biggest universities as part of a contest Felta organized in 2018. 


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This model followed the seventh design of the Manila Cathedral that was built from 1879 to 1898. It was later destroyed during the World War II. IMAGE: Ed Geronia

Basically, the whole place looks like a Lego flagship outlet’s massive store display, only this time, the main stars of the site are the country’s architectural marvels. 

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Elyssa Christine Lopez
Elyssa Christine Lopez is a staff writer of Esquire. Follow her on Twitter @elyssalopz
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