Lonely Planet review
The San Agustin Church was the only building left intact after the destruction of Intramuros in WWII. Built between 1587 and 1606, it is the oldest church in the Philippines. The present structure is actually the third to stand on the site, and has weathered seven major earthquakes, as well as the Battle of Manila. It’s an active church and much in demand for weddings and other ceremonies.
The massive facade conceals an ornate interior filled with objects of great historical and cultural merit. Note the intricate trompe l’oeil frescoes on the vaulted ceiling. Be sure to check out the tropical cloisters as well as the slightly shabby gardens out the back.
To see the interior of the church for free, you must visit during a mass, or you can access it through the interesting San Agustin Museum , a treasure house of antiquities that give the visitor tantalising glimpses of the fabled riches of old Manila. Look for the vaguely Chinese-looking Immaculate Conception statue in ethereal ivory.