Baroque Churches of the Philippines
Location and site
These four churches, the first of which was built by the Spanish in the late 16th century, are located in Manila, Santa Maria, Paoay and Miag-ao. Their unique architectural style is a reinterpretation of European Baroque by Chinese and Philippine craftsmen.
The Baroque churches reflect excellent site planning principles following the Ley de las Indias (Laws of the Indies) enacted by Philip II in 1563 for all newly-discovered settlements within Spanish colonial territories.
The churches’ fabric, to a considerable degree is well preserved, although some parts may have deteriorated due to environmental conditions and the passage of time.
Although areas covered by the churches and their surrounding complex have been recognized during inscription, buffer zones in some of them were undefined. The recent delineation of buffer areas provides an added layer of protection to the core initially identified.
Criterion (ii): The group of churches established a style of building and design that was adapted to the physical conditions in the Philippines which had an important influence on later church architecture in the region.
Criterion (iv): The Baroque Churches of the Philippines represent the fusion of European church design and construction using local materials and decorative motifs to form a new church-building tradition.
The Baroque Churches of the Philippines is a serial inscription consisting of four Roman Catholic churches constructed between the 16thand the18th centuries in the Spanish period of the Philippines. They are located in separate areas of the Philippine archipelago, two at the northern island of Luzon, one at the heart of Intramuros, Manila, and the other in the central Visayas island of Iloilo.
This group of churches established a style of building and design that was adapted to the physical conditions in the Philippines and had an important influence on later church architecture in the region. The four churches are outstanding examples of the Philippine interpretation of the Baroque style, and represent the fusion of European church design and construction with local materials and decorative motifs to form a new church-building tradition.
The common and specific attributes of the churches are their squat, monumental and massive appearance, which illustrates a fortress/protective-like character in response to pirates, marauders and to the geologic conditions of a country that is prone to seismic activities.