Makati’s Centuries-Old Guadalupe Church: 12 Things To Know

Last Updated: December 5th, 2017


The history of the district of Guadalupe in Makati revolves around its five-century old church named after the patron saint of the first Spanish settlers in the Philippines, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.


The facade of the Nuestra Señora de Gracia Church (Guadalupe Church)

The facade of the Nuestra Señora de Gracia Church (Guadalupe Church)


1. Prior to the construction of a stone church, makeshift structures were constructed between 1601 to 1605 when the monastery was declared as a community house.


2. Different administrators oversaw the construction of the stone church, most notable for their contributions are Fray Hernando Guerero and Gray Estacio Ortiz. Guerero was notable for constructing many portions of the monastery and belfry. And in 1630, under the command of Fray Estacio Ortiz, the construction of the church was finally completed.


4. Aside from Guadalupe Church, Fort Santiago in Intramuros also sourced the stone needed for its construction from the mountains of Guadalupe. The stone was mixed with lime in many ovens and factories in operation nearby to make tiles, bricks, and even large earthenwares.


5. The exteriors and interiors of Guadalupe Church have touches of both Baroque and Neo-Romanesque-Gothic style of architecture. The church’s facade with its massive buttresses shows its Neo-Romanesque-Gothic style. While the details of the main entrance, its interiors, niches, windows, and around the tympanum lightens the massive character of the structure with touches of Baroque.

Baroque architecture is an architectural style that originated in late 16th-century Italy. Distinctive features of Baroque architecture include broader naves and sometimes given oval forms, opulent use of color and ornaments, an external façade often characterized by a dramatic central projection among others.


The Baroque style of the church's main entrance

The church’s main entrance


The windows as seen from the outside

The windows as seen from the outside


A closer look at the church's bell

A closer look at the church’s bell


In the Philippines, four churches were declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on December 11, 1993. This includes the San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Santa Maria Church in Ilocos Sur, Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte, and Miagao Church in Iloilo.

In other countries, other famous examples of Baroque style structures include the St. Peter’s Square in Vatican, Les Invalides in Paris, Palace of Versailles in Versailles,  Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna, St Paul’s Cathedral in London, Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg, Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, and the Zacatecas Cathedral in Mexico.

Neo-Romanesque (or Romanesque Revival), on the other hand, is an architectural style that began in the mid 19th century, which drew inspiration from the 11th- and 12th- century Romanesque architecture.

Among famous structures that employ this type of architectural design include the Manila Cathedral in Intramuros, the Vasa Church in Sweden, Puck Building in New York, the Ontario Legislative Building in Canada, and the Vajdahunyad Castle in Hungary.


The marker of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines

The marker of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines


6. The church withstood the earthquakes that struck Manila in 1645, 1658, 1754, and 1863.

1658 – The church was damaged and was repaired from 1659 to 1662 by Fray Alfonso Quijano.

1880 –  The masonry roof of the church collapsed, and the original image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was destroyed. It was later rebuilt by Rev Fr. Jose Corujedo in 1882.


7. Although spared from destruction in the eruption of Taal Volcano in 1754, the church was occupied by the British troops in 1762 to serve as their military headquarters, along with a number of churches all over Manila. The troops not only desecrated the church, but also sacked the tombs, and the images of saints were defiled and robbed of their jewelry.


8. For three years starting in 1882, the church was converted into an asilo (refuge and shelter) to house the orphans of the victims of cholera that devastated Manila.


9. While it is commonly called as Guadalupe Church, its original patroness is Our Lady of Graces, or St. Mary of Graces. It was changed to Our Lady of Guadalupe following the request of several religious people to honor the memory of the Virgin Mary venerated in Extremadura, Spain. 

A wooden replica of the statue was later brought from Spain but was damaged during the 1880 earthquake that struck Manila. Another replica was made after six years by Melchor and Gaspar San Pedro to replace the original, and this image was venerated until 1899 when it was lost during the Philippine-American War.

By 1632, the devotion quickly spread and devotees from Spain and Mexico went to the church to pay their respects to the Virgin.


The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe at the center of the altar

The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe at the center of the altar


10. Both the church and its monastery were occupied by Filipino revolutionaries during the Philippine-American War, and later by the American forces, and the Japanese Imperial Army. As a result, the edifices were destroyed by fire, and for a while, the church became a haunted place to the locals.


The ruins of the Guadalupe Church after it was burned down during the Philippine-American War in 1899

The ruins of the Guadalupe Church after it was burned down during the Philippine-American War in 1899 (image credit: Library of Congress)


11. Following the orders of the Archdiocese of Manila, the old monastery building was demolished and its stones were taken to Intramuros for the reconstruction of Manila Cathedral.


12. Finally, on June 29, 1970, the Augustinians were recalled to their own house to inherit the convent and the ruins of the church. This, after an agreement was concluded between Rufino Cardinal Santos, the Archbishop of Manila, and Fr. Casimiro García, O.S.A., the Vicar of the Augustinians in the Philippines.

The church was eventually rebuilt with the assistance from the province and donations from parishioners.


Ferns growing in the corners of the structure

Ferns growing in the corners of the structure


In all its glory

In all its glory



– The Manila Project

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  1. Britannica
  2. Wikipedia
  3. Makati Gov




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