The bronze statue of Queen Isabel II of Spain has had an eventful history since it arrived in Manila in 1860. The Spanish sculptor Ponciano Ponzano was commissioned to sculpt and ship it to the Philippines. On July 14, 1860, it was unveiled with much fanfare near Teatro Alfonso XII in Arroceros (nowadays Liwasang Bonifacio).
However, when Queen Isabel II was overthrown in 1868 during the Glorious Revolution in Spain, the new liberal Governor-General in Manila, Carlos María de la Torre, ordered Bartolome Barretto to remove the statue in 1869 as it symbolized the old regime. Barretto was sympathetic to Queen Elizabeth; he hired Chinese workers to take it down when local royalists refused hid and stored the statue.
It was erected outside the Malate Church in 1896 and stood there for over 70 years. Disaster struck in 1970 when Typhoon Yoling toppled the statue, but luckily, it was not damaged badly. In 1975, during the visit of the then Prince Juan Carlos of Spain, the statue was restored and moved to its current location in front of Puerta Isabel II gate in Intramuros, Manila – an apt location bearing the name of the Queen it depicts.
The Queen Isabel II statue has traveled across Manila, from Arroceros to Malate, reflecting the monarch’s fall from power. Despite the controversy around Isabel II’s reign, her statue endures in Intramuros as a reminder of the Philippines’ history under Spanish rule. The bronze figure has witnessed revolution, typhoons, and the testing of time – much like Manila itself. After over 160 years, it finds its home outside the walls that once enclosed the heart of Spain’s empire in Asia.
This is one of the few statues honoring a woman in the Philippines. A short walk from it lies the marker where the Filipina Comfort Women Memorial once stood.
Tour of Intramuros Part 1 - Queen of Spain - Isabella II Statue
Walked across the Bureau of Immigrations and these is what we found. Statue of the pretty gorgeous lady named Isabella II, the Queen of Spain.
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