Sunday, August 13, 2006


It was built by the Jesuits in 1608 as a parish church for the growing Chinese immigrants in Manila, many of whom had converted to the Catholic faith. When the Jesuits were expelled from the Philippines, the church became Dominican.

The original structure of Sta. Cruz Church was twice damaged by earthquakes; it was completely destroyed during the Battle of Manila in 1945, which totally devastated the entire city and ended the almost three-year Japanese occupation of the Philippines.

When Manila was declared the capital of the Philippine archipelago on June 24, 1571 by the head of the Spanish expedition, Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, the city soon became a replica of a European medieval city with churches, palaces and city halls built in the Spanish baroque style. The present building of the church, completed in 1957, was designed to reflect the architecture of that period. The church’s tower, however, is comprised of a series of sections whose girth decreases as they climb upwards. Their shape and dimensions are reminiscent of the composition of other Asiatic styles of architecture.

As for its altar, it may seem understated at first glance, but its dramatic lighting is quite awesome, actually.

The church is located at Plaza Lacson (formerly Plaza Goite) in Santa Cruz. It is fronted by Plaza de Sta. Cruz and the famous Carriedo Water Fountain is just directly across the street.

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posted by Señor Enrique at 2:08 AM


Blogger ipanema said...

Eric, I made some links to your articles. It looks like I made a cross-post with this. Your posts made me homesick and to counter that, I listed a few things I miss about Manila.

That's a fascinating photo by the way. I found that in Flickr while I was scouting for my article early this morning. Next time, I'll grab your photos (can't copy eh), kaso baka i-habla mo ko. :)

August 13, 2006 9:21 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...


Go ahead and make use of my pics, I'm honored, actually.

Just realized it, Ipanema, that my blog is a service to a "homesick nation."

Hmmmm ... I should copyright that ... homesick nation ... hahaha!

August 13, 2006 9:30 AM  

Blogger ipanema said...

That's originally yours. Copyright Thanks for the permission by the way.

That's true you know, at least you're doing service to the homesick. :)

August 13, 2006 10:18 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

My pleasure, Ipanema!

As for creating a photo site to upload pics for everyone to use with their blogs if they wish to, I might do it with Google's Picassa since Flckr is unaccessible to some parts of the world.

August 13, 2006 11:47 AM  

Blogger Sidney said...

It is quite strange. Every Filipino abroad seems to be homesick. I don't have the impression that Americans & Europeans living abroad are that homesick. Of course I don't know for sure, all I can say is that I am NOT homesick.

August 13, 2006 3:16 PM  

Blogger ipanema said...

There's something innate with us Filipinos Sidney and perhaps that is how we feel about family. I am not talking about my own family now, but that includes immediate family - parents, siblings, even grandparents (for some), aunts, uncles and cousins.

I think when we go abroad, we bring the whole family with us, in our hearts. We think and worry about them while in a foreign country. One reason could be that we go abroad for work which means years of not being with people who matter most to us. It's a different case when we go abroad for leisure. I didn't miss my parents when they went for a tour when I was only high school. I was more worried in case my mother won't buy me the things on her pasalubong list.

It's our close family ties that sometimes 'bind' us to this kind of emotion - homesickness. And I don't think that's cruel. Forgetting my roots and my family is more hideous than feeling guiltily homesick.

I can understand your situation. You are like some of my colleagues. They don't miss their family like we Filipinos do. Or may be they just don't talk about it openly as we do. My expat friends spend more time in other countries than going back to their own families. And it's alright with them. That's their culture.

For most Filipinos who are abroad working, we are the most affected. I still feel this way even if my family is here with me. My siblings in four other countries, although citizens still feel that way. We take family ties close to us wherever we go. That is uniquely Filipino.

If we don't feel homesick, then the following businesses will be affected or will be non-existent:

- balikbayan boxes
- remittance centres
- door to door cargo delivery services
- communication services to name a few.


August 13, 2006 4:35 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That's really nice to know, Sidney, that you're enjoying the Philippines despite its shortcomings. But then again, anyone who gets to go home for a couple of months every year is definitely not going to feel that homesick ... hehehe.

But seriously speaking, Ipanema has a valid point -- regardless of the many years of having lived abroad and however successful they had assimilated into their host country's culture, for most Filipinos, there is still that inner longing for "home." I know because I felt it despite practically having grown up in NY.

Nonetheless, you're right Sidney about some Europeans, because my friends never felt homesick -- but then again they get to go home every year and the travel expenses involved in say, NY to London or NY to Amsterdam is nothing compared to NY to Manila.

With Filipinos, even those newly met, they wouldn't hesitate to express their homesickness. It's different, of course, for those who travel for pleasure with a definite return itenerary, but for those who had to send most of their earnings to support their family, it's a different story. Most have to wait years before able to go back home and that is still with a big IF, because after sending money to the Philippines and paying for living expenses, there's often hardly anything left.

But then again, homesickness is more tolerable than to see one's family without a glimmer of hope for a brighter future. And this is why I had told Ipanema, that even if just for a bit, I could help assuage their homesickness by posting pictures and stories of home life ... and with your wonderful photo blog, Sidney, I'm sure you're of great service to them as well. :)

August 13, 2006 5:35 PM  

Blogger ipanema said...

I feel that homesickness can now be equated with gluttony, that makes it the 8th deadliest sin. lol@myself. :)

August 13, 2006 6:07 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

More truth in jest than realized, Ipanema, though with Filipino friends in NYC without their loved ones with them, it wasn't so much food but alcohol :(

August 13, 2006 6:46 PM  

Blogger ipanema said...

That's sad Eric. I know that everyone knows about stories on having SECOND family/partner while abroad. :(

August 13, 2006 7:21 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Senor - On the photo, I recall I may have been to the Sta Cruz church a couple of times. I also recall that this church was pretty much empty most of the time being quite close to Quiapo church ( where everybody goes) via the short walk through Carriedo St. Gosh it's been ages since I last visited the area.

August 13, 2006 11:47 PM  

Blogger Senorito<- Ako said...

a stone throw away from escolta :)

Haay... I miss walking from quiapo to escolta/ongpin. :) Why walk ? walang jeep eh. :)

August 14, 2006 5:38 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Once I started high school, BW, I started going with older brothers and cousins to church on Sundays -- no longer at Espiritu Santo Church but at Sta. Cruz Church. I remember it as being crowded on Sundays and we'd usually stand outside by its side. It was fine arrangement because that was where all the girls were also. So, Sundays weren't just about hearing mass but (mostly) girl watching, too :)

August 14, 2006 6:02 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Yes, S.A., Escolta is right across the street! And yes, walking around is more fun when in this neighborhood.

BTW, my previous post, Bridge, River and Youth of Manila, its accompanying photo was taken a block away from Escolta.

More to come, S.A.!!!!

August 14, 2006 6:05 AM  

Blogger Photo Cache said...

senor, first of all i like your photos and your blog is really cool. second of all, thank you for featuring the santa cruz church. for years i have lived nearby and have passed by it and never had the sense to go inside. a pity really. maybe i would get another chance to visit around the area and i would definitely not miss going in.

August 14, 2006 10:37 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thank you Photo Cache! I have many fond memories of this church and its entire vicinity.

Next time you have a chance, go inside and check out the altar -- really nice, especially with the lighting job they did. Most dramatic altar I have ever seen so far -- simple and elegant.

Thanks for dropping by!

August 15, 2006 4:36 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is nice to see some more photos from you. This again brings some pleasant memories. Mum and I used to go to Sta. Cruz Church every Sunday. We are few steps away from Manila Cathedral Church. But for some reason Mum would catch the Jeepney to Sta. Cruz to attend Sunday Mass. I think Mum wanted to attend English Mass as i have notice most Priest at Sta. Cruz were foreigners. It was a nice treat as well as after the Mass we will go to Ongpin - next to the firestation i think and buy pancit lomi for dinner. And then catch the Bambang- Rivera Jeep.

August 16, 2006 3:27 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

The priest praying at the altar when I took pictures inside the church, I believe, is a foreigner, Chona. That's interesting, I never realized that. I thought there would be more Filipno priests nowadays.

Come back for more Manila photos :)

August 16, 2006 5:19 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sta Cruz Church is administered by the Philippine province of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament which is French in origin though the foreign priests and brothers presently assigned are not necessarily French.The congregation has members from all over the world.

June 06, 2008 9:47 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thank you, Aram, for the information. Truly appreciate it!

June 11, 2008 7:15 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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