St Augustine Church

Situated in the historic city of Intramuros in Manila, the San Augustine Church stands under the auspices of The Order of St.. Augustine. This is a Roman Catholic Church and goes back a long way to the year 1607, when it was completely constructed, and is the oldest church in the Philippines. There is absolutely no other currently standing establishment that can boast to be older than the St.. Augustine Church.

The church was built during the Spanish Colonial period and has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, classifying it under the Baroque churches of the Philippines, in 1993. The Philippines government made it a national historical landmark back in 1973. The St . Augustine Church has been actually reconstructed thrice till date. The first time it was built in 1571, when it had bamboo and nipa in its structure. It got cindered due to a fire. The second time, it was built of wood and destroyed again due to a fire in 1583. The third time, the church was built more stably and so it stands proudly for generations to admire.

The church is approximately 67.15 meters in length and 24.93 meters in width. It has obtained a unique elliptical foundation and sometimes this is the reason it has been able to stand through numerous earthquakes so far. The design is believed to be similar to the Augustine churches of Mexico. The façade is quite simple, and asses a Baroque touch, with ornamental wooden doors. The interior of the church is in the shape of a Latin cross and it has 14 side chapels and a "Trompel'oeil" ceiling that was painted by famous Italian painters Alberoni and Dibella.

The interiors also include beautiful tropical hardwoods and house the tombs of Spanish conquistadors Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, Juan de Salcedo and Martin de Goiti, along with other earlier Spanish governor generals and archbishops. Hundreds of other laypeople, like painter Juan Luna and Paterno Pedro are also among the ones buried here.

The St Augustine Church is not the only wonderful historic attraction in manila, Philippines. If you ever visit the magnificent city, remember to book your Manila hotel before you go there. Sometimes, hotels can be overcrowded during international events or because of the tourist season. Check out the Heritage Hotel in Manila for a different hotel stay experience.