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Fort Drum (El Fraile Island)

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

El Fraile Island, Cavite City, Philippines

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

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expert
Wayan
Local tour guide
"Visit Fort Drum (El Fraile Island) in Manila during the late afternoon for a cooler experience and to witness a stunning sunset against the historical backdrop; it's a view rarely mentioned in guidebooks but adored by locals. Also, talk to the local fishermen to arrange a private boat trip around the island – they often share stories and details about the fort that you won't hear on official tours."

What is Fort Drum (El Fraile Island)?

Fort Drum, also known as "the concrete battleship," is an offshore fortress situated at the mouth of Manila Bay in the Philippines. Though it was once an actual island, El Fraile Island was transformed into a fortified island resembling a battleship during the early 20th century. It is a unique historical monument, standing as a testament to the military engineering of its time and the strategic importance of Manila Bay as a naval gateway to the Philippine capital.

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History of Fort Drum (El Fraile Island)

The history of Fort Drum is a fascinating blend of geography and military strategy. Originally, El Fraile was a rocky outcrop that posed a navigational risk to ships entering Manila Bay. However, recognizing its strategic potential, the U.S. military embarked on an ambitious project. In 1909, under American colonial rule, construction began to turn the small rock island into a massive concrete fortress.

This transformation was completed in 1914, resulting in Fort Drum, armed with powerful coast artillery, including two twin 14-inch guns and secondary armament consisting of 6-inch guns, anti-aircraft artillery, and searchlights. Its role was to serve as an advanced bastion of Manila Bay's coastal defense system. The fort saw action during World War II but eventually fell to the Japanese in 1942, withstanding considerable bombardment until it was recaptured by American and Filipino forces in 1945.

Why is Fort Drum (El Fraile Island) Important?

The importance of Fort Drum lies in its historical and military significance. It represents a period in Philippine history when sea power played a pivotal role in colonial dominance and defense. With its formidable structure and armaments, Fort Drum was a key element in the American defensive system, aimed at securing Manila Bay from invaders.

Following the attacks and eventual recapture of Fort Drum during World War II, the fortress has since remained a silent witness to the ravages of war, with its remains speaking volumes about the bravery, sacrifice, and strategic military efforts of the era. Today, Fort Drum is not only an important historical site but also a powerful symbol for the Filipino people, representing their resilience and lasting legacy through periods of conflict and change.

Things to Do & See at Fort Drum (El Fraile Island)

Fort Drum may not be as accessible as other historical sites around Manila due to its offshore location and the ravages of time. Those with a spirit for adventure and a keen interest in military history, however, find ways to visit the site via boat. It's essential to manage expectations – the fort is in ruins and there is no formal tourism infrastructure in place.

Visitors to Fort Drum can see the massive concrete structure emerging from the sea, which eerily resembles a dreadnought-type battleship. There is an opportunity to explore the remnants of the gun emplacements and the fort's eerie, abandoned corridors where stalactites now hang from the ceiling. Historians and photographers often visit Fort Drum to document and capture the ambiance of this once-mighty fortress. It is a compelling site that stirs the imagination and offers a poignant reminder of a turbulent past.

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Frequently asked questions

What is the historical importance of Fort Drum (El Fraile Island) in Manila?

Fort Drum (El Fraile Island) is a historic fortress located in Manila Bay, Philippines. It was constructed by the US military to serve as a coastal defense during the Spanish-American War and played a significant role in the defense of Manila during World War II.

How can I visit Fort Drum (El Fraile Island)?

To visit Fort Drum, you'll typically need to arrange a boat trip as it is an island located in Manila Bay. It's advisable to check with local tour operators in Manila for potential guided tours or boat services to the island.

Are there any tours available for Fort Drum (El Fraile Island)?

While there are no regular public tours to Fort Drum due to its current status as a disused military site, private boat operators in Manila may offer occasional trips. It's recommended to inquire locally for the most up-to-date information on visiting the island.

What can visitors see at Fort Drum (El Fraile Island)?

Visitors to Fort Drum can see the remains of the fortified island including its massive concrete structure, gun emplacements, and areas where soldiers were quartered. The site offers a glimpse into the military history of the Philippines.

Is there an entrance fee to visit Fort Drum (El Fraile Island)?

Because Fort Drum is not officially open to the public as a tourist destination, there isn't a standard entrance fee. Any costs would likely be associated with the private boat rental or tour arranged to visit the island.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

El Fraile Island, Cavite City, Philippines

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps