Friday, 23 September 2011

The Statue of Queen Isabel II

By: Paolo M. Bustamante

She is a queen who lived in mystery. She is known by few but as a queen who lived in exile in Paris, but her legacy lives on. As the statue of Queen Isabel II stands proud in Intramuros, she will forever live on in mystery. People often ask, who’s the person behind that mysterious statue in Puerto Isabel II in Intramuros. She is indeed a queen who lived in mystery because a lot of Filipinos do not know her even though a fort was named after her. She may not have visited the Philippines but she had an important role during the occupation of the Spaniards.

Her monument was abandoned, forgotten, locked up for years in Intramuros and transferred to a lot of places in Manila. It is quite ironic because the plight of the statue reflects how she lived her life but now, her monument is at peace but the sad part is only a few remembered her legacy.

Who’s the queen you may ask. Queen Isabel de Bourbon was born in 1830 and was proclaimed queen in 1833 due to her father’s death Ferdinand VII. She married her cousin Franco de Asis but during her marriage, she lived a life of depression. Her reign ended when Generals Prim & Sorriano revolted against her forcing the queen to give up her throne. She was later on exiled in Paris.

Queen Isabel II asked Ponciano Ponzano to make a statue out of bronze in her image.  It was later on shipped to Manila but the statue was different from what she ordered. The statue was then situated in the Liwasang Bonifacio in Lawton with celebrations and military rites it stood there for quite some time but during the anti-Bourbon revolution in 1868 that lead to her exile in Paris. The Governor-General of Manila that time was Carlos Ma. De la Torre. He ordered the Filipinos to remove the statue but the Filipinos refused to do so that is why He then ordered the Chinese laborers to do the job. The statue of Isabel was stored for years in the bodega of Ayutamiento.After quite some time, it was then brought out during 1896 in front of the Church of Malate. The statue was blown away in the 1970 due to a typhoon but her statue was restored and was erected in front of Puerto Isabel in Intramuros.


  1. Puerta Isabel was the gate traditionally used by students of the Colegio de San Juan de Letran from Spanish times, until it was alternatley closed or opened at long intervals. Until the Americans decided to create a new gate, the Quezon Gate fronting the college main entrance.