The Beauty Of San Agustin Church Manila

San Agustin Church Manila
San Agustin Church Manila

Manila is home to several churches. Many of them are more famous than others. It comes as little surprise that one of the most famous churches residing within the walls of Intramuros City is San Agustin Church Manila. For its age and historical merit, many believers worldwide have visited it. In fact, it has many impressive interior details that unquestionably make the church one of the most popular attractions within the walled city. In that regard, we have developed a guide to familiarize you with the church. 

All About San Agustin Church

San Agustin Church Manila is known for many reasons. It is one of Manila’s most famous churches, the oldest in the Philippines, and a recognized UNESCO World Heritage site. In fact 1976, the government named it a national historic landmark. 

Aside from that, San Agustin church is one of the top Philippine historical churches that stand the test of time. It survived several events when other structures were unable to. Fortunately, guests can access the church freely to pray or check out the number of interior objects with cultural and historical merit.

History Of San Agustin Church

The church has undergone several renovations in the past. Founded in 1571 and completed in 1607, the church was once called Iglesia de San Pablo de Manila in its first iteration before undergoing several changes. To date, it has a total of three reconstructed iterations. 

Its first iteration was the first religious structure built by the Spaniards using traditional nipa and bamboo. However, it was destroyed by a fire in December 1574 during the Battle of Manila. The second structure was built on the same site nine years later. It was, however, destroyed yet again by a fire, this time started by a candle setting a drapery ablaze.

That said, the Augustinian friars rebuilt the church using adobe stones, fearing it might undergo another disaster. Switching to more sturdy materials later contributed to the church surviving numerous events. This includes the seven major earthquakes that heavily affected the area, as well as when World War II came to the Philippines

See Also: Great Historic Wall City: Intramuros

Church’s Feature And Architecture Design

San Agustin Church Manila is recognized for its architectural style. It displays intricate three-dimensional carvings on its moldings, rosettes, and sunken panels. Its 17th-century choir stalls, made of Malave wood with ivory inlays and the 16 magnificent chandeliers give the church its recognizable Neoclassical-Baroque style.

The church’s Neoclassical-Baroque aesthetic is also seen through its Corinthian columns, rose windows, and symmetrical space. Another distinctive aspect of the interior structure is the array of chapels flanking both sides of the nave.

Standing out from other churches, San Agustin also boasts a choir loft supported by two elliptical stone arches made accessible through an antechoir. The choir loft is made of carved narra wood and features a large lectern. This architectural choice aims to surprise visitors and deliver a feeling of amazement. 

In addition to that, the awe-inspiring details are all inscribed and finished down to the finest detail, whether it is for the facade, post, walls, or even its ceilings. The vast majority of the church’s interior is painted to possess an Italian scenography.

Furthermore, the church also houses the remains of Spanish conquistador Miquel Lopez de Legazpi, who led the Philippine Spanish colonization in 1565. His remains are encased in a sarcophagus located at the left side of the church’s main altar.

See Also: Top 30 Most Beautiful Roman Catholic Churches of the Philippines

Best Time To Visit The Church

San Agustin Church is open daily from 8 AM to 12 NN for the first schedule, then 1 PM through 6 PM on the second. The church can be visited at any time. The church will be illuminated at night, and guests can see the interior designs in brighter details. You can take a jeepney or taxi to visit the church, or even tricycles available for nearby guests. 

Final Thoughts

San Agustin Church Manila has endured years of challenges and conflict and is rightfully one of the country’s significant landmarks. That said, the church’s entirety, from its aesthetics, coloration, and interior designs to its religious roots, elevates its image. Those who are strong believers and admirers of sites with a lot of history should consider this church on their bucket list. With so many things that you can see, there is no doubt that this place should be added to your bucket list. 

Frequently Asked Questions

The San Agustin Church has been a popular site for those looking to offer prayers or admire its architectural designs. Being a tourist attraction also garnered common questions tourists would ask during their exploration.

Why is San Agustin Church famous?

San Agustin Church is famous due to being the Philippines’ oldest church and the only building that survived the destruction of World War II. The church houses an ornate and impressive interior.

How old is San Agustin Church Manila?

As of this article’s publishing, San Agustin Church is 417 years old. The church’s oldest iteration dates back to 1571, its second iteration dating back to 1575, and its third and current iteration being around 1586-1607.

Is San Agustin Church free?

The San Agustin Church welcomes visitors to explore its interior free of charge. However, a separate museum adjacent to the church requires a modest admission fee for entry. Guests are encouraged to inquire about the museum’s ticket prices and explore its exhibits.

What are the facts about San Agustin Church Manila?

The San Agustin Church, situated in Intramuros, Manila, Philippines, is a Baroque-style church with a remarkable 416-year history. Notably, it is one of the four Baroque Churches of the Philippines recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. What sets it apart even more is its survival amidst the extensive devastation of Intramuros during World War II, making it the lone church to emerge relatively unscathed from the conflict.


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