San Agustin Church
If you enjoy sightseeing, Manila will reward you in many ways, but one special must-see is San Agustin Church, Manila, the oldest existing church in the Philippines.
The first religious structure constructed in the Luzon Island, San Agustin Church is a significant monument to the Philippines' Spanish colonisation. Concealed within the historic walled city of Intramuros in Manila, the church was built by the Spaniard Juan Macias.
Presently a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the church has an elliptical foundation which allows it to withstand any earthquake. The design proved its immense value during the major earthquakes that hit Manila causing severe damages and destroying many other churches whilst San Agustin Church remained intact.
The church flaunts an elaborately adorned Baroque-style interior concealed behind its imposing façade. Numerous fixtures of great historical and artistic significance can be seen in the six side chapels and the nave.
More than merely an architectural icon, San Agustin church is also recognised for being the only colonial church that has survived and retained its original vaulting regardless of the destruction that took place in the area during World War II.
A visual spectacle which hardly goes without being noticed is the playful effect of the church's chiaroscuro-light. One of the side chapels of the church is dedicated to the founder of Manila, the Spanish Miguel Lopez de Legaspi.
The monastery adjacent to the church was converted into a repository to house art treasures and religious artefacts dating from the 16th century.