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San Agustin Church

San Agustin Church or Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepción de María de San Agustín is a Roman Catholic church under the aegis of St. Augustine at the Intramuros complex in Metro Manila, Philippines, as the first construction of a church built by the Spaniards on Luzon island in 1571.

The San Agustin Church is part of the Baroque Churches of Philippines which includes four churches during the Spanish colonial period and was inaugurated as the National Historical Landmark by the Government of the Philippines in 1993. The present structure is the third Augustinian church established on the site.

Xvlor San Agustin Church is the first Roman Catholic structure in Luzon

Xvlor.com San Agustin Church is the first Roman Catholic structure in Luzon

The interior symmetry and splendor painted by two Italians, mold profiles, and concave panels looks like a three-dimensional engraving, a baroque pulpit, a grand pipe organ, an antechoir with a 16th century cross, a choral chair carved with ivory onlay in the 17th century and 16 large chandelier from Paris.

The first structure was made of bamboo and nipa which was completed in 1571, but was destroyed by fire in December 1574 during the invasion of the troops of Limahong to Manila. The second structure using wood was built in the same place and was destroyed by fire in February 1583 during the Spanish Governor-General Gonzalo Ronquillo de Peñalosa.

The Augustinians rebuilt the church using stone and built a nearby monastery in 1586 based on design by Juan Macías. Work is done gradually due to lack of funds, materials, and scarcity of stone craftsmen. The monastery operated in 1604 and the church was completed on 19 January 1607 as St. Paul of Manila.

San Agustin was looted by British troops who occupied Manila in 1762 during the Seven Years War. The church was renovated under the supervision of Luciano Oliver as an architect in 1854. A powerful earthquake struck Manila on 18-20 July 1880 which caused a huge gap in the eastern bell tower and permanently erased the left tower.

The building has survived from the massive earthquakes that struck Manila in 1645, 1699, 1754, 1796, 1825, 1852, 1863 and 1880 and served as a hospital during the earthquake in 1863. In August 1898 was used by Spanish Governor Fermin Jaudenes for handing over Manila to the United States after the Spanish-American War.

The San Agustin Church became a concentration camp during the Japanese occupation of World War II. Hundreds of Intramuros and priests were held hostage by Japanese soldiers with many killed in fighting for three weeks. In the 1970s it was rebuilt by the Philippine Government as a museum under the design of architect Angel Nakpil.

www.xvlor.com San Agustin Church is the first Roman Catholic structure in Luzon

Xvlor San Agustin Church is the first Roman Catholic structure in Luzon

Location: Intramuros, General Luna St, in Metro Manila, Philippines.

Routes and public transport: Flights to Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

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