Santa Cruz Church: 9 Things About This Baroque-Style Church In Manila

Last Updated: May 9th, 2018


Santa Cruz Church (Manila)

The facade of Santa Cruz Church in Manila obstructed by utility wires


Santa Cruz Church (Manila): Belltower

The belltower


With its orange hued facade and Baroque design, Santa Cruz Church belongs to the long list of storied churches in Manila. Located at the end of both Escolta and Carriedo, it was built by the Jesuits to serve Christian converts in Manila to complement Binondo Church–built by the Dominicans– just a few blocks away.


1. The original iteration of Santa Cruz Church in Manila was built by the Jesuits in 1608 and is said to have been made from stone and wood.


2. Known for its close proximity to Binondo Church, it was built to also serve the growing community of Chinese Christian converts in Manila.


Santa Cruz Church (photo credit: John Tewell on Flickr)

Santa Cruz Church (photo credit: John Tewell on Flickr)


3. Its titular patroness–Nuestra Señora del Pilar (Our Lady of the Pillar) was originally brought from Spain before 1768.


4. Adjoining the original structure of Santa Cruz Church was the Jesuit College of San Ildefonso which was founded by Governor Fajardo de la Tenza. Being the former colonial administrator of the Philippines, de la Tenza is best known for his work in regulating the return of the Manila Galleon, defending the country from Dutch attacks, and protecting Christians from Muslim hostility in Mindanao.


5. The confraternity of Nuestra Señora del Pilar was canonically founded in Santa Cruz Church in 1743.


Santa Cruz Church (Manila)

The historical marker installed by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines


6. The original structure sustained serious damage after two major earthquakes that struck Manila.


7. In 1764, it was recorded that the British forces returned the City of Manila to Governor-General Simon de Anda Y Salazar in the surrounding plaza of Santa Cruz Church.


8. At the height of the aerial bombardment of Manila during World War II, the church was completely destroyed and was later reconstructed.


9. The present iteration of Santa Cruz Church was completed in 1957 and incorporates Baroque architectural style in its design.

Baroque is a style of art that started in Italy and eventually spread to Catholic countries in Europe including Spain. The word Baroque comes from the Italian word “barocco” which means bizarre or strange.

From the long list of Baroque Churches in the Philippines, four were included in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List in 1993. This includes the San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Santa Maria Church in Ilocos Sur, Paoay Church in Ilocos Norte, and the Miag-ao Church in Iloilo.


A pedicab driving past Santa Cruz Church

A pedicab driving past Santa Cruz Church


Santa Cruz Church (Manila)


Santa Cruz Church (Manila)

As seen from Tetuan Street


Santa Cruz Church (Manila)


Santa Cruz Church (Manila)

The main altar


Santa Cruz Church (Manila)

Churchgoers during a Saturday mass


Carriedo Fountain

The Carriedo Fountain located in front of Santa Cruz Church



The Manila Project

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