Located in the historic Intramuros Manila's Walled City, the Church of San Agustin was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site thanks to its Baroque architecture specific to the Philippines. A Roman Catholic church, it was constructed by the Spanish in the 16th century but was not consecrated until 1607. While its beautiful architecture is reason enough to visit, the church also houses the San Agustin Museum, as well as tombs of several historical figures, including conquistadors, statesmen, and artists.
As one of Old Manila's most popular attractions and religious sites (and the oldest church in the Philippines), this stone church is typically included as a stop on most half-day, full-day, and themed Manila city tours. Usually including hotel pick-up in Metro Manila, these sightseeing tours are available on foot or by bus, private vehicle, or colorful jeepney, a popular form of public transportation in the Philippines. Tours often also stop at Casa Manila, Rizal Park, Fort Santiago, and Manila Bay. Should you choose to visit San Agustin on your own, keep in mind that although the church itself is free, the neighboring museum has a small entrance fee.
- This church and museum is a must for history buffs.
- Visit with an English-speaking tour guide to learn more about the church's history.
- Travelers should set aside at least an hour or two for a visit.
- Consider attending a mass; most are in English.
How to Get to the San Agustin Church and Museum
The easiest way to visit the San Agustin Church and Museum, located on General Luna Street in the Intramuros, is on a guided city tour, but it's also possible to visit independently. The site is accessible by foot from nearly anywhere in the Intramuros, and the nearest train station is Central Terminal on LRT 1. The Pier jeepney route passes in front of Manila Cathedral, a short walk from San Agustin.
When to Get There
The church is open daily throughout the year. Visiting during mass has both benefits and drawbacks, so be sure to check the schedule in advance of your visit. Keep in mind that the site's museum closes for an hour at lunch, while the church remains open. The museum's galleries are air-conditioned, making it a popular attraction on hot afternoons.
Don't Miss the Museum Collection
Many travelers make the mistake of ducking into the church without spending any time at the equally worthy museum, which showcases the rich history of Catholicism in the Philippines. The galleries within the San Agustin Museum house a superb collection of religious art and antiquities that come from countries around the globe, including the Philippines, Spain, Mexico, Singapore, and China. You'll find ceramics, botanical drawings, liturgical goods, and antique furniture.