"Monastery of Saint Agustin,..." Intramuros Tip by imho

Intramuros, Manila: 126 reviews and 242 photos


<font color=red><b>Monastery of Saint Agustin</font></b>, Bishop of Hippo and Father of the Church (Monasterio de San Agustin, or the San Agustin Cathedral).
One of my favorite sights in the city is San Agustin, the oldest church in the Philippines. Built from 1587 to 1607, after plans approved by the Royal Audencia of Mexico and by a Royal Cedula, the church was designed by the Spaniard Juan Macias and replaced four other churches which stood on that spot. The original structure was later added to by the Municipal Architect of Manila, Don Luciano Oliver, who renovated the fašade by adding to the height of the towers on either side of the church. One of these towers was damaged by an earthquake in 1863 and was torn down and never rebuilt.<p> The present structure that we see now has survived the fires of 1574 and 1583, the earthquakes of 1645, 1754, 1852, 1863, 1880, 1968, and 1970, as well as bombardment during fighting in Manila in February 1945. <p>

A two story structure built in the style of High Renaissance architecture, the fašade bears Tuscan orders on the first level and Corinthian capitals on the second. Consistent with the style, a small circular window occupies the face of the third level. The interior's barrel vault nave is flanked by 12 chapels. A cross-vault dome rises above the tall faux-marble columns of the main altar. The ceiling and pilasters create a Baroque impression with their trompe l'oeil, done by Italian artists Caesare Dibella and Giovanni Alberoni. <p>

Inside, the crystal chandeliers were brought from Paris 1879 and 1880, and the choir stalls were carved by the Augustinian monks themselves. <p>

The front double door is heavily carved with designs of Saint Augustine and Saint Monica, who are framed by Philippine flora. Inside, a 1627 narra pulpit on a side wall is also elaborately carved. The gateway, from another era, was elaborately wrought in lacy ironwork in 1866 by jewelsmiths famous for their filigreed pieces called 'Manila goldwork.' <p>

Beyond the first cloister is a second one which housed one of the prides of the monastery: a garden (popularly known as Father Blanco's garden, and a favorite site for wedding receptions) planted and maintained by the Augustinian botanist, Manuel Blanco, the author of Flora de Filipinas. <p>

San Agustin now houses a museum of colonial art, religious treasures, reliquaries, a chapel with the remains of Legaspi, and a crypt which contains the remains of national heroes, villains, and the rest of Manila's original 400.

Address: General Luna St., Intramuros, Manila
Phone: 6325272961
Website: http://www.justnomad.com/

Review Helpfulness: 1.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Sep 2, 2002
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