Our Lady of the Pillar Church, better known as Santa Cruz Church, Manila


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Santa Cruz Church was initially built on this same site in 1608 and the Church was consecrated in 1619. It was built north of the Pasig River in Manila and has served a mainly Chinese congregation, being located as it is at the "Gates of Manila's Chinatown". The entire areas is fascinating and well worth a visit if you are in the area. Finally, the Church is a major centre for the Veneration of Our Lady of the Pillar. The statue of Our Lady was imported by the Jesuits from Spain in 1743

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Our Lady of the Pillar Church, better known as Santa Cruz Church, Manila

  1. 1. 1 photographed and written byphotographed and written by:: Fergus DucharmeFergus Ducharme,, assisted by:assisted by: JoemarieJoemarie AcallarAcallar andand NiloNilo JimenoJimeno.. proudly present:proudly present: We visit the unique, historic & oldWe visit the unique, historic & old Santa Cruz Church in ManilaSanta Cruz Church in Manila (Church of Our Lady of the Pillar)(Church of Our Lady of the Pillar) ©
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  3. 3. 3 © The distance from our jumping off point at the SM City parking lot in Iloilo to Manila’s Santa Cruz Church is approximately 600 kilometres. Which translates into about 3½ hours by air (including ground transfers).
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  6. 6. 6 © Sta Cruz Church 1900 to 1910 photo from: Manila Nostalgia = www.lougopal.com
  7. 7. 7 © Prior to the arrival of the Spanish In the Philippines, the district of Santa Cruz consisted of partly marshland, patches of greenery, orchards and rice fields. Construction of the first Church was started in 1608 by the Jesuits and it was consecrated in June 1619, as the parish to serve the increasing migrants from China arriving in Manila, many of whom had decided to convert to Catholicism. The patron saint of the Church is Our Lady of the Pillar. The Jesuits enshrined the image of the Our Lady in 1643. The Church was seriously damaged by earthquakes and was eventually completely destroyed at the end of World War II.
  8. 8. 8 © The Patron Saint of the Church is Our Lady of the Pillar.
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  10. 10. 10 © Construction of the current Church was, completed in 1957. Built in the Baroque Style, it is quite reminiscent of the Mission Churches of Western Mexico and Southern California.
  11. 11. 11 © The Church is built facing Plaza Santa Cruz and adjacent to the Friendship Arch marking the gateway to Manila’s Chinatown. The main feature of the Plaza is its beautiful fountain. It is called the Carriedo Fountain so named after Don Francisco Carriedo y Peredo, Manila’s greatest benefactor. It was through his will that a piped water system was installed in Manila.
  12. 12. 12 © Francisco Carriedo was born in Santander, Spain on November 7, 1690. In 1727 he was a general of the Spanish Navy living in Manila. Carriedo himself invested in the Acapulco-Manila Galleon Trade, where he made his fortune. He died in September 1743 willing his fortune to his uncle Pedro Carriedo. Although he also indicated in his will that 10,000 pesos was to be used solely to establish a water works system for the City of Manila. But the City Government decided not to utilize the whole amount then, they decided to invest it year by year in the Galleon trade and the principal will remain in the Treasury under the account Caja de Carriedo (Carriedo’s Chest). By 1762 the investment had grown to nearly 250,000. pesos. When the British seized Manila, they raided the Carriedo Chest as well as other money belonging to the City and the Colonial Government. Fortunately, 9210 or 9510 pesos was saved due to an alert sent by the Spaniards to the Galleon El Filipino which was in transit at the time. By the end of the 18th century, most of the money had been lost due to bad loans, and only the Original Capital remained, the project remained dormant due to lack funds. It was July 24, 1882, more than a century after Don Carriedo’s death, that his will was realized. By then Manila’s piped water system was not only built to service the area within the walls of the City but also included the new suburban areas outside the wall.
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  15. 15. 15 © The Arch of Goodwill at Plaza Sta Cruz, the main gateway to Manila’s Chinatown.
  16. 16. 16 © A typical street scene in Manila’s Chinatown
  17. 17. 17 © On June 24th, 1784, the Spanish King deeded about 2 square kilometres of land that was part of the Hacienda de Mayhaligue to the San Lazaro Hospital which served as an extensive leper colony in Manila at the time. At the Santa Cruz Parish, a small park was built that linked the area into the headquarters of the Spanish cavalry, the building that would become The College of San Ildefonso, operated by the Jesuits. The Franciscans were given the responsibility of caring for the lepers of the city through the San Lazaro Hospital. Friar Felix Huertas developed San Lazaro into a refuge for the afflicted and it became a famous home for those afflicted leprosy on the north side of the Pasig River.
  18. 18. 18 © San Lazaro Hospital
  19. 19. 19 © During World War II, the Japanese occupational forces were caught unaware of the fast approaching the liberation by the combined forces of American & Filipino soldiers from the north, in 1945. They abandoned the northern bank of the Pasig River including Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz and much of the northern portions of Manila were spared from the artillery bombardment and to date, a number of pre-World War II buildings and houses still stand in Santa Cruz.
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  34. 34. 34 © St. James and his disciples adoring Our Lady of the Pillar, Francisco Goya (1746–1828)
  35. 35. 35 © photo from: Manila Nostalgia = www.lougopal.com
  36. 36. 36 © photo from: Manila Nostalgia = www.lougopal.com
  37. 37. 37 © photo from: Manila Nostalgia = www.lougopal.com
  38. 38. 38 © Santa Cruz Church, Manila 1900-1910 photo from: Manila Nostalgia = www.lougopal.com
  39. 39. 39 © We want to thank the following for their contributions to this article: Photos provided by: Architect Rommel Legaspi, Manila Nostalgia & Lou Gopal of www.lougopal.com Materials and some photos provided by: www.wikipedia.org
  40. 40. 40 © If you have suggestions or recommendations on how we can improve this service for you please send your ideas along to: info@historicphilippines.com