San Agustin Church is known as the oldest Catholic cathedral in the Philippines. One of the few churches that survived fires, earthquakes and the World War 2 in Manila, the San Agustin is a landmark in Intramuros, the city’s old Spanish district.
This 17th century Spanish Baroque church has survived a British invasion in 1762, an American attack in 1898 and the Japanese and American liberation war in 1945. The very first San Agustin Church was the first religious structure constructed by the Spaniards on the island of Luzon. Made of bamboo and nipa, the church was completed in 1571, but destroyed by fire in December. Succeeding incidents of fire and earthquakes prompted the Augustinians decided to rebuild the church using stone, andconstruction began in 1586.
The facade is unassuming but it has notable baroque touches, particularly the ornate carvings on its wooden doors. The church courtyard is decorated by several granite sculptures of lions, which had been gifted by Chinese converts to Catholicism. The Cathedral is popular for weddings and the lovely churchyard is often used for wedding receptions.
Much of the church has been restored and a wing now serves as a museum of church artefacts, relics, and religious paintings from all over the Philippines. In 1993, San Agustin Church was one of four Philippine churches constructed during the Spanish colonial period which were designated by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Mabuhay ang San Agustin Church!