Baroque Churches in the Philippines (world heritage)
Baroque churches in the Philippines, the four churches are evidence of Spanish colonial history in Southeast Asia. Visit watchtutorials.org for climate in Philippines. They combine European and Asian building traditions. There are three churches on Luzon, one is on Panay.
Baroque Churches in the Philippines: Facts
|Official title:||Baroque churches in Manila, Santa Maria, Paoay and Miagao|
|Cultural monument:||Church of San Agustín (Paoay), Church of Immaculada Concepciên de San Agustín (Old Town of Manila), Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunciên (Santa María), Santo Tomás de Villanueva (Miag-ao)|
|Location:||Manila (Luzon), Miag-ao (Panay), southwest of Iloilo; Paoay and Santa María (Luzon), north of Baguio|
|Meaning:||Strongholds of faith as evidence of Spanish colonial history in Southeast Asia|
Baroque Churches in the Philippines: History
|1521||The Philippines fall to the Spanish crown|
|1565||Settlement of the Augustinians in the Philippines|
|1571||Manila as “the most honorable and always loyal city” is the center of power of the Spanish colony|
|1578||Franciscan Settlement in the Philippines|
|1581||Jesuit branch in the Philippines|
|1626||Consecration of the Church of Immaculada Concepciên de San Agustín (Manila)|
|1704-1894||Construction of the Church of San Agustín (Paoay)|
|1787-97||Construction of the Church of Santo Tomás de Villanueva (Miag-ao)|
God’s fortresses under palm trees
Saint Christopher steadfastly carries the baby Jesus through a tropical landscape with palm trees, guavas and papayas. The front relief of the Church of Santo Tomás de Villanueva in Miag-ao tells the mission history of the Philippines in simple symbolism.
Piety plays a major role in the country where almost the entire population professes the Roman Catholic faith. Christianity first came to the islands of what would later become the Philippines with the Portuguese navigator F. Magalhães , which he had taken possession of for the Spanish crown in 1521, before he himself was slain near the island of Cebu. From there, the Spanish conquerors subjugated the archipelago and named it after their king Philip II.
This Spanish colony was administered from Mexico until 1821. From there, in addition to officials and soldiers of fortune, priests and religious came across the Pacific again and again. They also brought the Iberian-Mexican baroque architecture with them. And locals and craftsmen who immigrated from China contributed their own style elements and techniques.
In the period that followed, not only invading pirates, but also the fleets of European rivals and forces of nature threatened the power of the crown and clergy. In addition to the already existing fortresses, a defensive type of church was required. The Augustinian Church of Miag-ao, consecrated in 1797, is characteristic of the »earthquake baroque«, as this style variant is called. She watches over the place like a fortress with meter thick walls and massive retaining walls. Muslim pirates were spotted from the battlements of the two squat towers and reported as quickly as possible in order to be able to counter an attack in good time. The protective function is also evident in the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunciên in Santa María, a coastal village in the province of Ilocos Sur. Augustinian monks, still quite active in the Philippines,
The fortress character of the local church buildings is most impressive in the church of San Agustín of Paoay, which was built at the beginning of the 18th century. This building, which appears rather bulky at its core, with solid foundations and 26 supporting pillars, stands in interesting contrast to the playful-looking, clearly Far Eastern stylistic features. The 35 meter high bell tower stands apart from the church – a precautionary measure customary in the country in view of frequent earthquakes. Coral rocks and air-dried bricks were used for construction. To increase the binding capacity of the mortar, it was mixed with sugar cane juice.
In front of the Church of the Immaculate Conception of St. Augustine, Manila’s oldest church, two granite lions stare grimly at the visitors. For centuries they have been protecting the building from evil spirits, according to the tradition of Chinese craftsmen. M. Legazpi , the conqueror of the previously Muslim bastion Maynila and later Governor General of the Philippines, commissioned the construction of the church in 1571 within the core of what is now the Philippine capital, which is enclosed by walls. Sixteen years later, a stone building replaced the wooden structure. On the outside, Greek columns adorn the church, while the inside is given a special look by precious carvings made from tropical Molave wood and valuable ceiling paintings.
Meanwhile, one of the two church towers fell victim to tremors. But otherwise the church – probably thanks to the watchful lions – was the only one of the former twelve churches “within the walls” to survive natural disasters and the chaos of war, including the bombs of 1945 by the US Air Force, without excessive damage. And for weddings, San Agustín is particularly popular with the Manileños – as a haven of constancy in the middle of a turbulent world.