Santa Ana Church Manila

Santa Ana Church Manila
Santa Ana Church Manila | @rebirth.manila

Santa Ana Church Manila

Located on high terrain at the bend of the Pasig River, the church of Santa Ana truly dominated the surrounding area, especially in olden times. The church stands in the easternmost district of Manila, Santa Ana, which is the gateway to Makati and Mandaluyong next door. The site’s importance predates the church itself, for it is located on a part of the Pasig River where the pre-colonial polity of Sapa or Namayan once stood. Archaeological findings date to a thriving settlement from the 11th century, centuries before the Kingdom of Maynila.

The Franciscans arrived in the area in 1578 where they built a church out of bamboo and nipa along the “sapa” (brook) connected to the river. More than a hundred years later (1720), a stone church was built on high ground that was considered sacred by the people. This is the church that has survived to this day, together with the miraculous image of the Nuestra Senora de Los Desamparados that was brought over by the galleons.

The National Shrine of Our Lady of the Abandoned houses two National Cultural Treasures: the Santa Ana Site Museum, and the Camarin de la Virgen.

The Santa Ana Site Museum holds the 11th-century artifacts discovered on the patio of the church, showing the precolonial history that the site had prior to the influence of Christianity in the area.

The Camarin de la Virgen holds exquisite work from the 1700s, like its wooden jewelry-box-like ceiling that is said to be the oldest “datable Philippine painting”, its Ming Dynasty porcelain flooring tiles, and the Virgin’s platform which was said to be the very galleon (the Sto. Cristo de Burgos) that carried the image to the Philippines. The one-of-a-kind Camarin and everything within is believed to be as old as the church.

Pasig: River of Life (Alejandro, Reynaldo G.)
Santa Ana Church: A Historical Guide (Laya, Jaime C.)
Waters sacred and profane (Alarilla, Adrian)

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