The Baroque Churches of the Philippines are a collection of four Spanish Colonial-era baroque churches in the Philippines, which were included in UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1993. The churches are also considered as national cultural treasures of the country.
|Baroque Churches of the Philippines|
|UNESCO World Heritage Site|
|Criteria||Cultural: (ii), (iv)|
|Inscription||1993 (17th Session)|
The 2013 revision of UNESCO's World Heritage Site (WHS) 677, Baroque Churches of the Philippines, includes four churches.
There was a conglomeration of factors that led to the presence of Baroque elements in the architecture of the Philippines, specifically in church architecture. During the Spanish Colonial Period (1521-1898), Spanish missionaries arrived, sharing not only their religion but also their architecture, inspired from their native land. The Spaniards wished to create permanent, long-lasting churches as a testament to the power of God, and did not consider the current church structures in the Philippines as proper places to worship. As most Spanish missionaries were not trained in architecture or engineering, the local townspeople including Filipinos and Chinese migrants, alongside the Spanish friars would take part in the building and design of local churches. The combination of ideas from the missionaries and locals effectively fused native Spanish designs with a uniquely Oriental style. The church's aesthetic was also shaped by limited access to certain materials, and the need to rebuild and adapt to natural disasters including fires and earthquakes, creating a style sometimes referred to as Earthquake Baroque.
The four baroque churches of the Philippines are classified as UNESCO world heritage sites as they have important cultural significance and influence on future architectural design in the Philippines. The churches display certain characteristics that express a ‘fortress baroque,' such as thick walls and high facades that offer protection from marauders and natural disasters alike. The four churches further exemplify the baroque style with elaborate iconography and detailed scenes from the life of Christ, fusing traditional Catholic values from Spain with island elements such as palm fronds or patron saints dressed in traditional island clothing carved alongside scenes from the bible. The lavish embellishment also reflects the Filipino attitude about the aesthetic of decorating, known as horror vacui, or ‘fear of empty spaces.’ The desire to fill plain spaces is evident in the decoration of the churches, which are brimming with cultural motifs from the western world along with traditional Filipino elements.
The San Agustin Church in Manila, also known as The Church of the Immaculate Conception of San Agustín was the first church built on the island of Luzon in 1571, immediately after the Spanish conquest of Manila. A site within the district of Intramuros was assigned to the Augustinian Order, the first to evangelize in the Philippines. In 1587 the impermanent earliest building in wood and palm fronds was replaced by a stone church and monastery in stone, the latter becoming the Augustinian mother house in the Philippines.
It was the only structure in Intramuros to survive the Liberation of Manila in 1945. Miag-ao became an independent parish in 1731, when a simple church and convento were built. However, destruction of the town by Muslim pirates in 1741 and 1754 led to the town being rebuilt in a more secure location. The new church, constructed in 1787–97, was built as a fortress, to withstand further incursions. It was, however, damaged severely by fire during the revolution against Spain in 1898 and in the Second World War. Two bell towers were added in 1854, but the northern one cracked in the 1880 earthquake and had to be demolished. Because of the danger of natural disasters, much of the church’s aesthetic had to be sacrificed in favor of durability and functionality.
The interior of the church featured artwork dating back to the 19th century, with trompe l’oeil paintings by Italian painters Alberoni and Dibella, but they overlie the original tempera murals. The church was richly endowed, with a fine retablo, pulpit, lectern and choir-stalls. The church also includes oriental details in the form of Chinese fu dogs that flank the entrance of the building. Of special interest is the series of crypto-collateral chapels lining both sides of the nave. The walls separating them act as buttresses. The stone barrel vault, dome, and arched vestibule are all unique in the Philippines, as is the decor that often takes the shape of local flora. A monastery complex was formerly linked to the church by a series of cloisters, arcades, courtyards and gardens, but all except one building were destroyed in 1945.
The Santa Maria Church commonly known as the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption, is located in the municipality of Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur. Unlike other town churches in the Philippines, which conform to the Spanish tradition of sitting them on the central plaza, the Church of Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion in Santa Maria with its convento are on a hill surrounded by a defensive wall. Also unusual are the sitting of the convento parallel to the facade of the church and that of the separate bell tower (characteristic of Philippine-Hispanic architecture) at the midpoint of the nave wall. This was dictated by the hill on which it is located.
The brick church follows the standard Philippine layout, with a monumental facade masking a straight roof-line covering a long rectangular building. It is alleged to be built on a solid raft as a precaution against earthquake damage. The walls are devoid of ornament but have delicately carved side entrances and strong buttresses
The Paoay Church, also known as the Church of San Agustín, is located in Paoay, Ilocos Norte. It is the most outstanding example in the Philippines of an Earthquake Baroque style architecture. Fourteen buttresses are ranged along the lines of a giant volute supporting a smaller one and surmounted by pyramidal finials. A pair of buttresses at the midpoint of each nave wall have stairways for access to the roof. The lower part of the apse and most of the walls are constructed of coral stone blocks, the upper levels being finished in brick, but this order is reversed on the facade. The massive coral stone bell tower, which was added half a century after the church was completed, stands at some distance from the church, again as a protection against damage during earthquakes. The detached bell tower is of notable interest as the tapering layers emphasizes the oriental style, a unique structure that reflects the design of a pagoda. The church’s exterior is made of coral stone and brick, held together by a mortar made from sugarcane juice, mango leaves, and rice straw among other ingredients. The facade of the church also has hints of a Gothic flavor with pilasters that extend from top to bottom, creating a strong vertical movement. While the exterior is decorated with rosettes and floral motifs that are reminiscent of Javanese temples, the interior is rather bare and solemn in comparison. Originally painted, the interior roof of the church today only shows an echo of the grand scenes that once graced the ceiling. 
The Miagao Church, also known as the Church of Santo Tomas de Villanueva, stands on the highest point in the town of Miagao, Iloilo. The church's towers served as lookouts against Muslim raids and it is said to be the finest surviving example of 'Fortress Baroque'. The sumptuous facade epitomizes the Filipino transfiguration of western decorative elements, with the figure of St Christopher on the pediment dressed in native clothes, carrying the Christ Child on his back, and holding on to a coconut palm for support. The entire riotously decorated facade is flanked by massive tapering bell towers of unequal heights. The two bell towers are asymmetrical on account of them being designed by two different priests on two separate occasions. The interior of the church features a grand altar, thought to be the original 1700s altar that was lost in a fire, but recovered in 1982. The altar is gilded with Baroque motifs, and composed of three alcoves that hold effigies of St.Thomas of Villanova and St. Joseph, with the crucifixion in the center.
Aside from the churches included in World Heritage Site 677, another church which is inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List is the Vigan Cathedral, included in Historic City of Vigan (WHS 502rev).
The Philippines, a country with hundreds of historical churches, is promoted to be more active in the engagement of the National Government and concerned private and public entities to establish more UNESCO designated Church Heritage Sites in the Philippines to safeguard national treasures more effectively and to promote the country's booming tourism further.
The current official tentative sites for extension are the following:
The following churches used to be in the tentative list of the Philippines but were removed in 2015 by recommendation of UNESCO due to the current status of the churches. Once rehabilitation is completed for all of the churches, they may again be included in the tentative list. Currently, the San Sebastian Church has ongoing renovations.
The Philippine National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) has also designated the conservation and protection of more than 30 other Spanish-era churches to be of utmost importance. These were registered as National Cultural Treasures.
These churches were given priority status not just due to their historical value, but also based on the geographic representation of various regions across the nation:
1 On August 15, 1993, these churches, along with the one in Baclayon, Bohol were nominated for World Heritage Site status as part of the Jesuit Churches of the Philippines.
2 On May 16, 2006, the NCCA nominated a new set of churches as part of the extension of the Baroque Churches of the Philippines World Heritage Site. With the inclusion of two churches from the Jesuit Churches nomination, these two proposals will likely be combined.
The Baroque period was from the 17th century.
Baroque may also refer to:
Of the Baroque period:
Baroque pearl, a pearl of an irregular shape
Baroque (grape), a French wine grapeBoljoon Church
The Nuestra Señora del Patrocinio de Maria Parish Church (Our Lady of Patronage of Mary Parish Church), commonly known as Boljoon Church, is a Roman Catholic Church dedicated to the Our Lady of Patrocinio in the municipality of Boljoon, Cebu, Philippines, under the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cebu.
It has been declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines and a National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines. It is also under consideration for the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the Philippines as a member of the Baroque Churches of the Philippines (Extension).Earthquake Baroque
Earthquake Baroque is a style of Baroque architecture found in the Philippines, which suffered destructive earthquakes during the 17th century and 18th century, where large public buildings, such as churches, were rebuilt in a Baroque style during the Spanish Colonial period in the country.Similar events led to the Pombaline architecture in Lisbon following the 1755 Lisbon earthquake and Sicilian Baroque in Sicily following the 1693 earthquake.Guiuan
Guiuan (IPA: [ˈgiˌwan]; Waray: Bungto han Guiuan, Filipino: Bayan ng Guiuan), officially the Municipality of Guiuan, is a 2nd class municipality in the province of Eastern Samar, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 52,991 people.Guiuan played a significant part in Philippine history. In the 16th century, when Ferdinand Magellan discovered the Philippines, it is believed that he first landed on the island of Homonhon, which lies within the municipality. It is probably because of this that the majority of the population of the town are Catholics. The town's church, the Church of the Immaculate Conception, is one of the oldest in the country.
During the Second World War, Guiuan served as one of the Alliance's bases. Now all that is left of the American occupation are concrete slabs which once served as the foundations of a vast supply depot, and an air strip, which now serves as the town's own airport.
As well as a rich historical background, Guiuan has many scenic spots. Being a coastal town on the Pacific side, the town has many white-sand beaches that are suitable for swimming and surfing.
The Guiuan Church is currently in the tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage Sites under the Baroque Churches of the Philippines (Extension). A proposal has been suggested by scholars to make a separate UNESCO inclusion for the Old Centre of Guiuan which includes the Guiuan Church. The same would be made for other churches listed in UNESCO's tentative sites, where each town plaza and surrounding heritage buildings would be added. No government agency has yet to take action on the proposal.Guiuan Church
The Immaculate Conception Parish Church (Spanish: Iglesia Parroquial de la Inmaculada Concepción), commonly known as Guiuan Church, is a Roman Catholic church in the municipality of Guiuan, Eastern Samar, Philippines, within the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Borongan.
The church is classified as a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines. It was formerly nominated to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the Philippines under two categories, the Baroque Churches of the Philippines (Extension) and the Jesuit Churches of the Philippines.
It was totally destroyed when Typhoon Haiyan (locally named as Yolanda) made landfall in Guiuan and struck other parts of Central Visayas on November 8, 2013.Intramuros
Intramuros (Spanish for "within the walls") is the 0.67 square kilometres (0.26 sq mi) historic walled area within the modern city of Manila, the capital of the Philippines. It is administered by the Intramuros Administration (IA), which was created through the Presidential Decree No. 1616 signed on April 10, 1979. IA is tasked to rebuild, redevelop, administer and preserve the remaining pre-war buildings, structures and fortifications of Intramuros.
Intramuros is also called the Walled City, and at the time of the Spanish Empire was synonymous to the City of Manila. Other towns and arrabales (suburbs) located beyond the walls are referred to as "extramuros", the Spanish for "outside the walls". It was the seat of government and political power when the Philippines was a component realm of the Spanish Empire. It was also the center of religion, education and economy. The standard way of life in Intramuros became the standard way of life throughout the Philippines. The Manila Galleons which sailed the Pacific for 250 years, carried goods to and from Intramuros (Manila) and Acapulco, Mexico.
Construction of the defensive walls was started by the Spanish imperial government in the late 16th century to protect the city from foreign invasions. The Walled City was originally located along the shores of the Manila Bay, south of the entrance to Pasig River. Guarding the old city is Fort Santiago, its citadel located at the mouth of the river. Land reclamations during the early 20th century subsequently obscured the walls and fort from the bay. The Battle of Manila in 1945 devastated Intramuros. It is the place where the occupying Japanese Imperial Army made their last stand against Allied soldiers and Filipino guerillas. The battle destroyed its churches, universities, houses, and government buildings, most of which dated back to the Spanish Colonial Period.
Intramuros, particularly the Fort Santiago, was designated as a National Historical Landmark in 1951. The fortifications of Intramuros, collectively called "Fortifications of Manila", were declared as National Cultural Treasures, by the National Museum of the Philippines, owing to its architectural, scientific and archaeological significance. San Agustin Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the Baroque Churches of the Philippines, is located within Intramuros.Lazi, Siquijor
Lazi, officially the Municipality of Lazi, is a 4th class municipality in the province of Siquijor, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 20,490 people.Lazi church is currently in the tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage Sites under the Baroque Churches of the Philippines (Extension). A proposal has been suggested by scholars to make a separate UNESCO inclusion for "Old Centre of Lazi which includes the Lazi Church".Lazi Church
The San Isidro Labrador Parish Church (Spanish: Iglesia Parroquial de San Isidro Labrador), commonly known as Lazi Church, is a Roman Catholic church in the municipality of Lazi, Siquijor, Philippines within the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Dumaguete. It became an independent parish in 1857 under the advocacy of Saint Isidore the Laborer
The church, also known for its huge convent, was declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines. It is also nominated for the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List since 2006 under the collective group of Baroque Churches of the Philippines (Extension) together with the churches of Boljoon, Guiuan, Loboc and Tumauini. In 2014, the government announced its plan to nominate Lazi Church in the World Heritage List. It conducted a dossier training for Lazi representatives. Once the dossiers are completed, the long process of nomination will commence in Paris.List of World Heritage Sites in the Philippines
The UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has designated six World Heritage Sites in the Philippines. The UNESCO World Heritage Sites are places of importance to cultural or natural heritage as described in the UNESCO World Heritage Convention.
The Philippines, following its ratification of the convention on Thursday, September 19, 1985, made its historical and natural sites eligible for inclusion on the list. The Philippines had its first sites included in 1993, and since 2014, has six sites on the list spanning nine locations. Of those six sites, three are cultural and three natural. The first 5 sites inscribed in the UNESCO Heritage List was initiated by ICOMOS Philippines, an non-profit heritage organization, which partnered with the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines and the Heritage Conservation Society.
The Philippines has a cultural inventory, called the Philippine Registry of Cultural Property or PRECUP, and a natural inventory called the National Integrated Protected Areas System or NIPAS. Both of which were established by various Philippine laws. The intangible cultural heritage list of the Philippines is under the PRECUP.
In 2015, the 28 sites in the 'Tentative List' were revised. Currently, the Tentative List for possible nomination in the future contains nineteen submissions.
In November 2017, the Philippines was elected as a member of the Executive Board of UNESCO. In March 2018, the Philippines was elected as Vice President of the Preparatory Group of the Executive Board.Loboc, Bohol
Loboc, officially the Municipality of Loboc, (Cebuano: Lungsod sa Loboc; Tagalog: Bayan ng Loboc), is a 4th class municipality in the province of Bohol, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 15,993 people.Located 25 kilometres (16 mi) east of Tagbilaran, Loboc is known for its lunch cruises along the scenic and winding Loboc River. Tourists also come to see the tarsier, a small nocturnal animal with large red eyes. It is one of the world's smallest primates. The Loboc Children's Choir has won numerous competitions both domestic and international.
Until the 2013 earthquake portions of the Loboc Church complex (specifically parts of what became the convent or priests' residence) were amongst the oldest standing ecclesiastical structures in Bohol province. The earthquake also damaged the lunch cruise Docking Port, and some damage to the pedestrian river bridge and its passenger elevator.At the end of 2014, Tropical storm Seniang passed directly over the Loboc river area. Although the winds were relatively low strength, Seniang brought with it a lot of rainfall. This caused the river to burst its banks in several places: the entire poblacion main plaza was flooded, including the town hall; many of the lunch cruise boats were damaged; and the accumulated debris of the church was disturbed and some washed away. It was fortunate that the new replacement bridge across the river had been completed just a few weeks before, allowing traffic to reach Tagbilaran via Sikatuna because the Loay interior road was damaged and impassable.The Loboc Church is currently in the tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage Sites under the Baroque Churches of the Philippines (Extension). A proposal has been suggested by scholars to make a separate UNESCO inclusion for the Old Centre of Loboc which includes the Loboc Church. The same would be made for other churches listed in UNESCO's tentative sites, where each town plaza and surrounding heritage buildings would be added. No government agency has yet to take action on the proposal.Miagao
Miagao, (also written Miag-ao), officially the Municipality of Miagao, (Kinaray-a: Banwa kang Miagao; Hiligaynon: Banwa sang Miagao; Tagalog: Bayan ng Miagao), is a 1st class municipality in the province of Iloilo, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 67,565 people.Miagao is considered as the "Onion Capital of the Visayas". The town center of the municipality lies on the western bank of the Tumagbok River, the largest river in the municipality. The poblacion is made up of eight barangays.The town holds their patronal fiesta in honor of St. Thomas of Villanova (more commonly known as Sto. Tomas de Villanueva) every September 22 that lasts several days. The town is also the location of one of the Baroque Churches of the Philippines, the Miagao Church, which was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The entire town of Miagao was later inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage City and became a member of the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC).Miagao Church
The Miagao Church also known as the Santo Tomas de Villanueva Parish Church is a Roman Catholic church located in Miagao, Iloilo, Philippines. The church was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on December 11, 1993 together with San Agustin Church in Manila; Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion Church in Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur; and San Agustin Church in Paoay, Ilocos Norte under the collective title Baroque Churches of the Philippines, a collection of four Baroque Spanish-era churches.Paoay Church
The Saint Augustine Church (Spanish: Iglesia de San Agustín de Paoay), commonly known as the Paoay Church, is the Roman Catholic church of the municipality of Paoay, Ilocos Norte in the Philippines. Completed in 1710, the church is famous for its distinct architecture highlighted by the enormous buttresses on the sides and back of the building. It is declared as a National Cultural Treasure by the Philippine government in 1973 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the collective group of Baroque Churches of the Philippines in 1993.San Agustin Church (Manila)
San Agustin Church (Filipino:Simbahan ng San Agustin , Spanish: Iglesia de San Agustín) is a Roman Catholic church under the auspices of The Order of St. Augustine, located inside the historic walled city of Intramuros in Manila. Completed in 1607, it is the oldest church in the country.In 1993, San Agustin Church was one of four Philippine churches constructed during the Spanish colonial period to be designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, under the collective title Baroque Churches of the Philippines. It was named a National Historical Landmark by the Philippine government in 1976.Santa Maria Church
The Church of Our Lady of the Assumption (Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion), commonly known as the Santa Maria Church is the parish church of Santa Maria in Ilocos Sur province, Philippines. The church was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on December 11, 1993 as part of the Baroque Churches of the Philippines, a collection of four Baroque Spanish-era churches.The Santa Maria Church is an attraction to both tourists and Catholics in Ilocos Sur. It is not only a reminiscent of the four centuries of Spanish domination of that area but also a unique structure with a diversified architectural design of bricks and mortar. It was built on top of a hill not only as a lookout and a citadel but as a religious center during the early administration of the region by both the friars and soldiers of Spain.Spanish Baroque
The arts of the Spanish Baroque include:
Spanish Baroque architecture
Spanish Baroque literature
Spanish Baroque art
Category:Spanish Baroque painters
Spanish Baroque music (see also: Baroque music)
New Spanish Baroque
Baroque Churches of the PhilippinesSee also:Spanish Golden AgeTumauini
Tumauini, (Ibanag: Ili nat Tumauini; Ilokano: Ili ti Tumauini; Tagalog: Bayan ng Tumauini), officially the Municipality of Tumauini, is a 1st class municipality in the province of Isabela, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 67,650 people.The Tumauini Church is currently in the tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage Sites under the Baroque Churches of the Philippines (Extension). A proposal has been suggested by scholars to make a separate UNESCO inclusion for the Old Centre of Tumauini which includes the Tumauini Church. The same would be made for other churches listed in UNESCO's tentative sites, where each town plaza and surrounding heritage buildings would be added. No government agency has yet to take action on the proposal.Tumauini Church
The San Matias Parish Church (Spanish: Iglesia Parroquial de San Matías), commonly known as Tumauini Church, is a Roman Catholic church in the municipality of Tumauini, Isabela, Philippines, within the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ilagan. It became a separate parish independent from Cabagan under the advocacy of Saint Matthias in 1751.
The church, known for its brick, Baroque-style architecture, was declared a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines. Together with the churches of Boljoon, Guiuan, Loboc and Lazi, the Tumauini Church has been considered for the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List since 2006 under the collective group of Baroque Churches of the Philippines (Extension).
|Churches and monasteries|
|Bridges and roads|
|Other buildings types|
|Modern Revival styles|
1It occurred when it was part of the Spanish kingdom Category
Baroque architecture by region