12 December, 2007

Baroque Churches of the Philippines Postcards

After the international UNESCO site postcards, I will be showing my collection of the Philippine UNESCO sites. First would be the Baroque Churches of the Philippines which is the official designation to a collection of four Spanish-era churches in the Philippines, upon its inscription to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1993. The collection is composed of the following:

* Sto. Tomas de Villanueva Church in Miag-ao, Iloilo
* St. Agustine Church in Paoay, Ilocos Norte
* San Agustin Church in Manila
* Nuestra Señora de la Asuncion in Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur

These churches have been at the forefront of Philippine history, not just in furthering Christianity in the archipelago, but in serving as the political backbone of Spanish colonial rule, when Church and State was regarded as one. The unique architecture of the churches didn't just reflect the adaptation of Spanish/Latin American architecture to the local environment (including the fusion with Chinese motifs), but also of the Church's political influence.

Sta. Maria Church Buttresses

These churches had been subject to attacks by local revolts and rebellions, hence, most had the appearance of a fortress, rather than just serving as mere religious structures. This is especially noteworthy in the case of Santa Maria Church, located on top of a hill, serving as a citadel during times of crisis. Miag-ao Church also withstood the occasional attacks of Muslims from the south.

Paoay Church Butresses

Further, the location of the Philippines along the Pacific Ring of Fire called for the emphasis on the buttresses and foundations of these churches, with some being seriously damaged, but eventually rebuilt after an earthquake. The most imposing of these buttresses could be found in Paoay Church, while the true testament of this architecture could be seen in San Agustin Church, Manila, the only structure in Intramuros to survive World War II. Hence, the unique architectural style became known as Earthquake Baroque.

Baroque Churches of the Philippines Wikipedia Entry

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