Sunday, March 20, 2011


The historic Church of San Agustin in Intramuros was one of the few structures to survive the last World War. Built on solid ground and located “in the most beautiful part of the city” as Gaspar de San Agustin noted, the San Agustin Church was built in 1587, of hewn stone from Guadalupe, San Mateo and Meycauayan. Finished in 1604, it was improved over time—another level was dded to the on-storey towers in 1866. The American bombings in 1945 inflicted much damage to the church roof in 1945; after the war, the church was restored almost to its original condition.

The monastery of the church are linked to each other—and since the mid 1960s, the monastery has served as a museum, beginning with a photographic exhibit of Philippine churches. From 1968-69, plans for a permanent museum were drawn, even as Arch. Angel Nakpil was restoring the church and the monastery.

Three large halls on the ground floor and one on the second floor have been restored to showcase sacred art and other treasures—from bas reliefs, altar vessels, religious vestments to ivory and wooden santos, carrozas, retablos and paintings collected and preserved through the years.

On exhibit at the museum are parts of the “Pagrel Collection”, on loan from the family of Don Luis Ma. Araneta and inaugurated in 1976 in memory of Luis’ mother, Dña. Carmen Zaragoza Roxas vda. de Araneta. The collection features authentic antiques of validated provenance (Filipino-Mexican-Spanish colonial) acquired as early as 1940. A few choice pieces are shown on this page.

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