Built in 1953, Santuario de San Antonio located along the road that now connects two of Ayala’s premier financial districts was one of the earliest structures built in the border of Makati and Taguig. The adjacent San Antonio Plaza complements the design of this landmark that regularly hosts some of the country’s elite–from businessmen to diplomats, and even celebrities.
1. Before Santuario de San Antonio was built along McKinley Road, the center of Franciscan missions in the country once called San Francisco Church in Intramuros their home. When the church was destroyed during the aerial bombardment of Manila in World War II, the Franciscans decided to relocate outside Intramuros– and they ended up in the elite neighborhood of Forbes Park in Makati.
2. To fund the construction of the new church, the Franciscans sold their old property in Intramuros which now houses the Intramuros Campus of Mapúa University.
3. The church stands on the once-swampy grassland that was donated by Joseph McMicking of Ayala Corporation, the man behind the rise of Makati as the country’s premier financial district that it is today.
4. With its Baroque architectural style, Santuario de San Antonio closely resembles similarly designed Catholic churches including the St. Dominic’s Church in Macau and the Church of the Gesù in Rome.
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.
5. As commissioned by the Franciscans, Fernando Amorsolo (National Artist in Painting) worked on two murals attributed to Giotto di Bondone (commonly referred to as Giotto) in the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, Italy. The murals were commissioned even before the church was built in 1953.
6. In 2014, the two murals titled “Stigmatization of St. Francis” and “Sermon to the Birds” underwent restoration for 18 months with the help of the Roberto M. Lopez Conservation Center of the Lopez Museum.
Having laid its cornerstone on August 1, 1951, the new Santuario de San Antonio was finally blessed by Archbishop Rufino J. Santos of Manila on December 8, 1953.
7. The patron saint of lost things, Saint Anthony of Padua is a native of Lisbon, Portugal. He was widely considered by many as the most celebrated followers of Saint Francis of Assisi and was one of the most quickly canonized saints in the history of the Catholic Church.
The Manila Project
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- Santuario de San Antonio Parish