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“Not Your Ordinary Church and Museum”
Review of San Agustin Museum

San Agustin Museum
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Half-Day Manila City Tour
Ranked #7 of 142 things to do in Manila
Certificate of Excellence
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Reviewed 22 March 2014

The San Agustin Church and Museum is a testament to the capabilities of humanity. More than a treasure to the Filipinos and to the Catholic faith, it is a reminder of what those before us accomplished without relying on computers and advanced construction methods.

It is such an important treasure to all of humanity that it is inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage list. A list that includes other treasures such as the Great Wall of China, the Pyramids of Giza and the like. A visit to this church is a look at the influence of the Catholic faith in the Philippines in the las 500 years.

However, nothing is perfect and it has much to improve on as well. For one, the restrooms are very cramped and could use some work. There are no soap and, as with the rest of the country's public restrooms; bring your own paper.

There's also the heat. The place can get pretty hot and humid at certain parts --particularly with half of the museum-monastery currently under reconstruction. Speaking of which: there is an inordinate amount of dust being blown about from the reconstruction so asthma attacks may be forthcoming (bring your inhaler!)

The lack of curating and information on the artefacts and the church in general are also something to be improved on. A good guide, can of course, fix this, but those are hard to find in Manila as it is.

Overall, it's a must visit especially if you're already at Intramuros, and for Php 100.00 ($2.25), there's really no reason not to.

Tip: get a good guide or don't bother getting one at all. There are many to chose from, especially in Intramuros.

1  Thank Dustin A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 18 March 2014

I really loved the museum, very beautiful , well managed preserved.. I would love to visit again in coming days. the garden was such a lovely place.

1  Thank Shiori N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 February 2014

Beautiful museum, absolutely worth a visit. And don't miss the in-yard park at the back. When we visited, there was a vaccination clinic for kids and we chatted with one of the nurse and learned a lot.

Thank MichaelOttawa_Canada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 February 2014

I revisited the museum in September - it was mostly unchanged since my last visit.

Pros - The museum is well kept, there is an entry fee, and the signage is good. The CR was clean

Cons - Heavily catholic, and feels nearly like an extension of the church itself. More of a religious museum. Not Filipino history - just Catholic history in Philippine since 1521 (unfortunately most people including Filipinos tend to believe that Filipino history started in 1521!), no museum cafe to sit and relax / recharge yourself in the midst of artifact browsing

Why did I visit? Well, it is a good and cool place to relax and spend some time in, after a hot day walking around Intramuros.

Entry fee = 100 pesos
Timings = 8 am to 6 pm (with a lunch break)

PS - Contrary to what many visitors mistakenly think, the monastery (where the museum is located) is actually a reconstruction of 1970s - the original structure was bombed by the Americans during WW2.

Interesting Trivia -
Only a small part of the church (the bell tower) survived the American bombing of Intramuros in 1945 - the rest of the church and museum is all reconstruction (read the battle of Manila - or go for a Carlos Celdran to discover more on this)

The Chinese influence in Catholic Philippines is interesting - notice the statue of Chinese fu dogs in the courtyard (they look more like Chinese lions, though!). The dogs are NOT part of the church - they are just artifacts (not sure where they were brought from).

The museum / church doubles as a grave yard of a few (in)famous people from Philippines' past - it houses the tombs of Miguel Legazpi (yep - the Spanish conqueror after whom streets and towns here are named), Juan Luna (the painter), and Salcedo (a Spanish commander who died in 1575 at the age of 27) - incidentally, Salcedo was more Mexican than Spanish.. .in fact, I doubt if he had ever been to Spain!

The church building is rather young - barely 60 years. When people say this is the oldest church in Philippines, they are either using the word church as an organisaition, not a building, or they are plain ignorant (just like people who say that the buildings currently in Intramuros were used by the Spanish ... all the buildings in Intramuros were built in the 1960s and 70s - in Spanish style so that people did not notice that the Americans decided to bomb out Intramuros to decimate the Japanese troops hiding there, rather than get their soldiers in and shoot / get them out... Thanks to the impatience of a certain person named Mc Arthur)

3  Thank New_YLOO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 December 2013

Bring your student card for a discounted entry fee. It was a big area with a garden in the middle. Did not had much time to look around as their staff's lunch was at 12pm.

1  Thank Annette C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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