Manila’s hidden reservoir to re-emerge as tourist draw

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The reservoir fell into neglect after the war, turning into a dumpsite and even being invaded by squatters over the next half century.

Vaulted ceilings and rows of stone columns stretch into the humid darkness deep below the Philippine capital, where workers are transforming a more-than-century-old underground reservoir into a draw for tourists.

Crafted from volcanic rock and completed 137 years ago, the underground cavern was made to hold 14 million gallons of water, which was pumped through iron pipes into thousands of homes until the early 20th century. The opening comes in the run-up to the 500th anniversary in 2021 of explorer Ferdinand Magellan’s arrival in the Philippines during the first successful circumnavigation of the Earth.


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