The Philippines is home to thousands of churches, some dating back to the Spanish period. There are some like the Binondo church and the Manila Cathedral that were damaged during different wars but a lot of these churches have been rebuilt and restored and are still being used until today.
Four of these churches in the Philippines are Baroque churches and collectively have inscription to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2003. These churches were built during the Spanish era in the 16th century. They have a unique architectural style which is inspired by the European Baroque style. Many churches that were built in the later years are inspired and influenced by these four Baroque churches.
An excellent mix of European Baroque church design, structural building and design apt for the physical conditions in the Philippines, and use of local materials by Philippine craftsmen, all four of these Baroque churches have solid, massive appearances and they are made of stone or brick and consolidated with lime. Below are these four churches.
- San Agustin Church, Manila. Located right smack inside Intramuros, Manila, the San Agustin Church is a favorite for weddings because of the beautiful murals on its ceilings and walls. The original structure was built in 1571 and made of bamboo and nipa. The church was rebuilt, this time using wood but it was destroyed by fire in 1583. The current church structure which was rebuilt in 1586 is made of adobe stones. Having withstand numerous wars and earthquakes, the church has undergone numerous retouches and repairs over the years.
- San Agustin Church, Ilocos Norte. Another San Agustin church is included in the four Baroque Churches in the Philippines. More popularly known as the Paoay Church, it was completed in 1710 and has a very distinct Earthquake Baroque architecture. Just like its namesake church in Intramuros, the Paoay church withstood many destructive earthquakes.
- Santa Maria Church, Ilocos Sur. Officially known as the Nuestra Senora dela Asuncion Church, the Santa Maria Church in Ilocos Sur is located on top of a hill. This church served as a fortress and citadel during the many revolts, rebellions, storms, and earthquakes.
- Santo Tomas de Villanueva Church, Iloilo. The only church among the four Baroque churches that is not located in Luzon, the famous Miagao church is located in Miagao, Iloilo and built in 1786. The Miagao church has two watchtower belfries and has a bas-relief façade.