Historical Architecture In Manila

San Agustin Church


After the horrific bombing of the Second World War, the city of Manila was flattened. It was the second most destroyed place in the world, second only to Warsaw. The only thing left standing was San Agustin Church. This historical fact thus makes it the only "authentically old" thing in the city of Manila.


The pale peach sort of shade that is painted on the church's exterior walls make it seem somewhat lighter and friendlier than most of the other major cathedrals I've encountered. The overall appearance of the structure is very easy on the eye, and very approachable for visitors.


The decor reminds me of the Renaissance style, with simple classical forms that are not so overly ornately decorated. The combination of moldings, pilasters, rectilinear windows and arch windows is proportional and pleasing to the eye. The simple rosette window in the center-top of the facade is very beautiful in its simplicity.

On the main doors, which are made of wood, there are ornate carvings of stylized foliage and floral forms. Inside the ceiling is painted for a trompe l'oeil effect of carvings and panelings. The ceiling inside is a large dome, and the sides are arcade rows of columns. The large chandeliers are very opulent, but it is balanced out by the simple elegance of most everything else.

As with the exterior, the colors used in the interior are light on the eye, nothing heavy or shocking. Shades of off-white, pale rose-brown, powder blue, and gold gilting adorn the interior surfaces.


There was a wedding going on that day. I think that made the church look even more beautiful.

Author's Note:
I created this website back in 2007 for a school project when I was studying Interior Design in UP Diliman. It was supposed to be a temporary website, but I kinda just forgot about it and left it up. Anyway, checking my stats recently, I was pleasantly surprised to see that these pages are still getting visits regularly! Who are you visitors? Students of design? Lovers of pretty old buildings?
Just remember I'm no authority on historical architecture, but I do hope I've somehow helped you in your research, and I hope I've somehow enhanced your appreciation of these fine structures. If you are interested in a super awesome informative entertaining tour of old Manila, please check out Carlos Celdran!
-- Feanne, a Filipino artist.
March 2012