Monday, April 18, 2011

San Agustin Museum

San Agustin Museum In Intramuros, Manila

The San Agustin Museum used to be the Monastery of the Order of Saint Augustine inside Intramuros. In 1973, the monastery was converted into a museum that houses a vast collection of Filipino, Spanish, Chinese and Mexican art treasures.

The original monastery building was destroyed in 1945 during World War II.

A 3,400 kg bell that used to hang at the belfry of the San Agustin Church greets visitors at the entrance of the museum. Inscribed on the bell were the words "The Most Sweet Name of Jesus."

Right after the bell, the first hall inside the museum is the Sala Recibidor. This former classroom and receiving area now houses the ivory art collection of Luis Ma Araneta. Aside from the ivory statues, there's the XVIII th Century wooden retablo of the Intramuros Administration; the chalice, monstrance and other church artifacts on display were either cast in silver or gold and embellished with diamonds and precious stones like amethyst, emerald and ruby.

The monastery has four massive corridors that serves as an exhibit hall for the oil paintings by Filipino artists like Enriquez and Fuster, as well intricately carved century old Chinese drawers and XVIII th Century carrozas used for processions inside and outside the church.

first floor corridor


Right after the Sala Recibidor is the entrance to the San Agustin Church. Please read a separate entry on San Agustin Church here .

Next to the Church is the Sala De La Capitulacion or the old Vestry where the priests dress up in preparation for church activities. It is here were Governor General Fermin Jaudenes drafted the terms of surrender of Manila to the Americans in 1898. It now exhibits church artifacts and paraphernalia.

The Sacrity of the former monastery follows the Sala De La Capitulacion, in display in here were Aztec inspired doors and frescoed walls, China chestdrawers, statues and paintings.

Next to the Sacristy is the Refectory/Sala Profundis. The Refectory was the former dining room and next to it was the Sala de Profundis were the priests say their prayers before and after their meals. The refectory was converted in 1932 into a crypt for Augustinians and later on for other Filipino families.

The crypt gives me the creep.:) I was not able to look around because there's this heavy feeling inside this part of the museum. In my haste, I failed to see Niche 87 where Filipino Painter Juan Luna is entombed as well as the monument in memory of the victims of the Japanese occupation of the Philippines.

The main staircase of the monastery that leads to the second floor is made from 44 pieces of Chinese granite stone brought in 1780 from Canton.

The perfectly round dome at the staircase is made from light bricks with six rectangular windows.

The second floor of the cloister is made up of the San Pablo Hall with the model scales of the San Agustin Church and Monastery; the San Agustin Hall that showcases the paintings and photos of churches built by the Augustinians from 1565-1898 as well as the Filipino Grammars and Dictionaries written by Augustinians; the Porcelain Room which houses the shards of porcelain excavated form the San Agustin complex and the Church Vestment Room where XVII and XVIII th Century liturgical vestments worn by the friars are on display.

The Oratorio/Antechoir/Choirloft is accessible through the main staircase of the museum, please read my post on that through this link.

second floor corridor of the museum

Two hours inside the museum is not enough to explore its every nook. I'm looking forward to visiting the San Agustin Museum soon.

San Agustin Church in Intramuros is open daily from 8:00am -12nn and from 1:00 pm -6:00 pm. Tickets for the museum is at P100.00.

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