By myself, I was able to visit and tour most of Manila’s hotspots –the streets of Intramuros, San Agustin Church, Fort Santiago and Pier 15, where the Logos Hope ship was boarded, last Tuesday. Though that was a gloomy day, the weather that was not so good and all our requirements that need to be accomplished, I still insist in having my “Manila Escapade” done so I ready myself with all the necessities. It was my first time to tour Manila without any private car to ride on, without the certainty of all the directions, without a company. But with God’s travelling mercies I was able to explore Manila and be home safely, with words on my lips, saying, “Thank You, Lord for I had fun!”
It wasn’t my first time to visit the historic walled city of Intramuros and San Agustin Church located at it’s very heart. Last year, as required by our professor, we were able to explore some places in Manila. Even if it was my second time, it’s as if I had become a first timer with all the learning that was refreshed. Truly, San Agustin Church represents the art and technology of the foreigners that made existence in our country and influenced us in many ways, the Spanish, Chinese and native cultures fused together to suit human sentiments and faiths that found expression in customs and traditions that were evolved through the centuries. From the walls, to the paintings, sculptures, and everything, I couldn’t just imagine the long years for this art and culture to evolve and be part of the lives of many people, considering that this was the first religious structure build in the island of Luzon. Completed by 1607, It is the oldest church still standing in the Philippines; no other surviving building in the Philippines has been claimed to pre-date San Agustin Church.
The San Agustin Church inherits a colorful history. The first church built at the site was the Church of St. Paul, constructed in 1571, as the initial church of the Agustinian Order. This building was destroyed by Chinese pirates in 1574 and the buildings constructed subsequently were devastated twice by fire in the next twelve years. It was finally decided that San Agustin Church would be rebuilt in a more robust material - stone. The revamped building survived no less than four earthquakes in the course of time, and was raided by the British in 1762. During the period of World War II the church was damaged in the Battle of Manila. However, overall the church has survived the successive calamities remarkably well.
From my searches it is said that San Agustín Church measures 67.15 meters long and 24.93 meters wide. Its elliptical foundation has allowed it to withstand the numerous earthquakes that have destroyed many other Manila churches. It is said that the design was derived from churches built by the Augustinians in Mexico.
The facade is unassuming and even criticized as “lacking grace and charm”, but it has notable baroque touches, especially the ornate carvings on its wooden doors. The structural design of the church is extraordinary. It boasts of the only example in the country of a barrel vault, dome and arched vestibules, supporting its choir loft, all made of stone. Its façade is notable for its two pairs of columns – the lowest pair in Doric style, the upper pair in Corinthian topped by a pediment surmounted by a Cross. The main door, carved out of Philippine molave, has a bas-relief of St. Augustine and his mother, Santa Monica.
The church interior is in the form of a Latin cross. You would be amazed with the fact that the church has 14 side chapels and of what they call “trompe-l'œil” (a painting technique where very realistic imagery is used to create a three dimensional effect) ceiling painted in 1875 by Italian artists Cesare Alberoni and Giovanni Dibella which necer fail to awe the beholder with its magnicence. Up in the choir loft are hand-carved 17th-century seats of molave, a beautiful tropical hardwood.
The church contains the tomb of Spanish conquistadors Miguel López de Legazpi, Juan de Salcedo and Martín de Goiti, as well as several early Spanish Governors-General and archbishops. Their bones are buried in a communal vault near the main altar. The painter Juan Luna, and the statesmen Pedro A. Paterno and Trinidad Pardo de Tavera are among the hundreds of laypersons whose remains are also housed within the church.
Go upstairs by the museum and you may enter the choir loft, thereby obtaining a spectacular view of the church’s interior. The whole church, with its exquisite 14th century chandeliers, has a feeling belonging to an earlier age, as if the visitor has stepped back in time.
A monastery complex was once linked to the church by a series of cloisters, arcades, courtyards and gardens. Next to the church is its namesake quadrangular museum, a former Augustinian monastery. Designed by the Filipino architect Angel Nakpil, the two-storey gallery has 10 spacious halls containing mostly artifacts belonging to the Franciscans and the Augustinians but is now considered as some of the most priceless Philippine collection of religious art, including the earliest dated retablo, wall paintings, pulpit, choir lectern, choir stalls and an important archive of books, Catholic religious items, crucifixes, 18th century horse-drawn carriages used during Holy Week processions, and vestments. The museum was destroyed by the British in 1762, Americans in 1898, and in 1945 by both the Americans and Japanese before its 1973 restoration.
I wasn’t able to take many pictures of myself. Here are some but few.
Flights to Manila-Attractions That Make Manila Holidays
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The Academic of the City of Manila (PLM) located intestine The Intramuros is the most famous advisory institution with respect to Philippines. It is a municipal lead funded institution where education is imparted runaway of losing. Established as a single college in 1965, the University has now expanded with 12 colleges, seven graduate, two professional schools, muchness of beat the bushes and specialized centers and a way store of knowledge and Fair University program under its scientific education. Also the Mapua Institute of Technology (MIT) is the funnel of electrotechnology and field in Manila and produces world place architects, engineers, and science graduates every year. Manila flights tickets are booked the year congested answerable to scholars and students using the Manila flights tabulation world. The additional service called €manila range over news’ provides the perspective visitors with up unto date information on the above mentioned viator attractions. This helps the tourists to of a sort out their priorities and plan the tour itineraries accordingly.
BAROQUE + OLD + DETAILED + WOW FACTOR I bet you’ve been reading through all this stuff when reading blogs about our very own…SAN AGUSTIN CHURCH.
Why not put a different twist in viewing things like this? How about see things from our left brain? The more practical, logical and as we call it, the “boring” side of our brain. (This is weird. No one wants to read boring stuff – but this one’s worth it.)
The moment I faced San Agustin church… THE CARVINGS DUDE!!!!!!!! Look at those details.
I bet it took people months or years to carve all those stuff. Yes, time consuming but really worth it.
then I went inside…and I realized SAN AGUSTIN CHURCH MAKERS WERE MASTER FAKERS + GREAT PAINTERS HAHAHAHA. Those paintings were so realistic. O_______________O I would be deceived if I didn’t have my glasses on. That dome = its the ultimate deceiver. SO AMAZING.
Then there’s…. Dirt. Okay, it matched the whole San-Agustin-Church-is-old kinda theme but the color of the church doesn’t really match the dirt look. It looks like they are not connected to each other. The color looks kinda new and the dirt makes it old-new
Making the dirt = a new dirt… making this an issue of the sanitary department of the church. O_O (the dirt kinda give off some drama to the whole structure)
Then there’s the “DO NOT CROSS” yellow sash… Is there a crime scene here or what? (But i’m pretty sure its because of the construction) *hopefully*
And speaking of construction, this is what I saw behind the stairs…
It’s not really normal to see loads of cement bags and construction materials behind the stairs… but I have to say, THANK GOD THEY’RE RENOVATING/RESTORING so this place wouldn’t fall down. Haha! Yey. Although the place they chose for hiding those stuffs wasn’t really appropriate.
Going up were several rooms and exhibits.
The “Kuya Guard” is busy. He doesn’t want to be disturbed so we took photos as much as we can inside the old room over looking the courtyard =)))
THIS LEFT ME IN SHOCK. Hahaha! I was asking some ate’s what the side altars are for and they told me… “para diyan” *pointing at the floor which I am standing at* O________O There are tons of dead people below me and it felt WEIRD. Then there’s this portal at the sides which forms a hallway (to the dead underground)
If you closely look the floor, some are broken (cracked)… which is creepy. That feeling that someone from the dead might wake up and pull your feet. O_O WTH. SOME ARE EVEN BORN IN THE 16th century. HAHAHAHAHAHA. Ate (unknown), also told me that Miguel Lopez y'Legazpi was buried here (at the left side of the altar) + the Zobel Family is also there + the famous Juan Luna!!! The one who painted the “Spolarium” (but he’s inside the crypt and it’s located in a different building)
to wrap everyhthing… LOOK AT THIS!
the amazing scale model of the whole San Sebastian O_O HAHAHAHA. I got inspired with this. Ohhh I love models. THIS IS A MUST SEE.
PS: Sorry if I did not focused on Baroque + Architectural details that is because I don’t want you guys to read the same things all over again + with the same thought.
When Adventure Births Adventure: Intramuros, Manila
I was led to The Walled City yesterday out of our quest for the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. From our college, I set out with Yan & Mike on the momentum of people’s prayers for the rain to delay its coming and my prayer for it to lovingly pour. When we got there, we inquired about the Schools of Living Traditions at the Sentro Rizal library. Although our official task centered on inquiry, it’s safe to say that my own plans for this is still sultrily brewing.
A guwardiya on duty at Plaza San Luis along Calle Real, the home of La Monja Loca!
Dusk was a few hours away from her appearance so we decided to spend the rest of the daylight venturing the streets of Intramuros. We found ourselves inside the San Agustin Church where we spent an hour within its historical rooms and halls.