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Santo Domingo Church

The Santo Domingo Church, also known as National

Shrine of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary of La Naval
de Manila (Spanish: Santuario Nacional de Nuestra
Seora del Santsimo Rosario de La Naval de Manila),
is the largest church in Metro Manila and one of the
biggest churches in Asia. It is a massive church complex that includes the mother house of the Filipino
Dominicans, which is the center of Dominican activities
in the archipelago and the Filipino Dominicans who have
been sent to other parts of the world.[2]


altar remained.

1.4 Fourth church (1862)

A fourth church of stone and hardwood was built. There
were wooden arches and three naves inside the church.
This time, wooden posts supported the roof and divided
the church into a central nave with side aisles. The artistic interior designs were executed under the direction of
Father Francisco Gainza. The church took two years to
build. The structural soundness of the church made it last
for 250 years. Initiated by Father Castro, A new faade
anked by two towers and patterned after Londons St.
Pauls Cathedral designed by Christopher Wren, was built
for the church. The faade lasted almost a year.[3] The
church was inaugurated on June 15, 1862 with great festival. On June 3, 1863, the Philippines experienced one
of the strongest earthquakes in its history. The church
was ruined by an earthquake of the same intensity as that
which hit Manila in 1645.[3]

Early church (1587)

In 1587s the Dominican arrived in Manila from Cdiz,

Spain welcomed by Most Reverend Domingo Salazar,
Bishop of Manila. The order temporarily stay at the
Franciscan convent in Manila while some of them were
sent to Pangasinan and Bataan to start their missionary
work. The Bishop of Manila sponsored Php 3,000 for
the construction of the church and Php 300 for the purchase of land. A small church was erected on August 6,
1587, made from light materials.[3] In January 1, 1588,
the chapel was inaugurated and it enshrined the Miraculous image of Our Lady of the Rosary from Mexico.[4]


1.5 Fifth church (1887)

A few months after the 1863 earthquake, Flix Roxas
presented a plan for the churchs reconstruction, partly
following the plan of the previous church and utilizing
some of its salvageable parts. On August 30, 1864, the
cornerstone of the present church was laid. In it was
placed a lead box, containing art objects, gold coins,
medals of saints and other things belonging to the Orden
de Predicadores.[4] Construction occurred from 1864
to 1887 in the gotico ngido (neogothic) style,[3] using
Philippine building materials. The immense columns resembling spreading tree branches, were of acle, molave
and ipil. The vault was of zinc or galvanized iron. The
colored glass windows were ordered from Europe. These
gave a beautiful light inside the church. The four retablos
were made under the direction of Father Joaqun Sabater,
a professor of drawing at the University of Santo Toms.
Alberoni directed the painting of the main altar.[4]

Second church (1592)

In 1589, the church was partially destroyed by an earthquake. Because the roof had collapsed, the Dominican
friars decided to build a larger church made from stronger
materials.[3] Through the direction of Father Alonzo
Jimnez, the second church was made from stone. Contributions were given by Captain Castillo, Mara Prez
and Captain Domingo Mendiola.. The church was inaugurated on April 9, 1592.[3][4]


Third church (early 17th century)

The church measured 70 by 31 by 22 metres (230 102

72 ft) at the central aisles, and 16.6 metres (54 ft) high
at the lateral aisles. Its towers rose to 23.3 metres (76 ft).
Although Fr. Sixto and Fr. Ristoro would supervise construction of the church, the Dominicans contracted the
services of the European-trained architect Flix Roxas Sr.
Roxas, adapting the seismic realities, designed a church
with story of stone an upper story of wood. He worked

A re of April 30, 1603, which destroyed a third of a city,

consumed both the church and the convent. Almost immediately built a third church was built, bigger and more
costly. It contained a stone vault as precaution against re
and earthquake.[3] Donations were again asked from the
people. Though made of stone, it was destroyed by another earthquake on November 30, 1645. Only the high

closely with Isabelo Tampinco who decorated the interior with carving imitating the fan vault reminiscent of
the English gothic; the walls and ceiling of the sacristy
were similarly treated. Even the furniture in the sacristy was treated in the gothic manner. The chapel of the
Nuestra Seora de Rosario had an altar with lancet arches
and gothic-inspired ornamented pinnacles.[3] Its oor was
made of native molave and narra and the pulpit was of
ne carving, with the images representing the dierent
saints of the Order. A dove was attached to the sounding board of the pulpit, above which, there was an angel.
The choir-loft was spacious and was protected by wrought
from railing manufactured in the Philippines.[4] Over the
central doorway, on the roof was enclosed in a glass case
original Virgin of the Rosary, which had been there for
many centuries. The central altar had three saints. In the
center was Saint Dominic, at the left was Saint Francis
and at the right was Saint Theresa of Jesus. Above Saint
Dominic was the statue of Saint Mary Magdalene. The
cupola above had many colored glass windows. Inside,
was a balcony surrounded by iron railing.[3][4]
Our Lady of the Rosary had a separate chapel at the
right of the high altar. This image was donated by the
Governor-General Luis Perez Dasmarinas and carved by
a Chinese, under competent direction. Many persons
claim to have secured much help from this marvellous
image especially from women, who placed the skirt of
the image over their abdomen during their dicult delivery. It was recorded that this image saved the island
during the Dutch invasions of 1646 and that on October
5, 1907, it was canonically crowned. Its ivory hands and
face, costly garments and crown were very artistic. Saint
Dominic was at the left of the image, kneeling and receiving a rosary, while at the right was Saint Catalina de Siena.
In the same chapel, there were two more lofty altars. The
one at the right, was dedicated to Saint Vincent Ferrer,
and the other on the left, to the Holy Family. In this
chapel, the interesting historical canvas, painted in Rome
in 1909, represented the priest, Saint Dominic, baptizing a Chinese while the two other natives stand watching
him.[3][4] Near this chapel was the sacristy in which were
the chests of camagon with their ne carvings. These
chests contained the costly vestments of the priests. A
big crucix was at one end of the hall near a stairway
leading to the monastery. Below this image there was a
half-length portrait of the Virgin Dolores. On the walls
of sacristy, there were canvases of interest and value from
a religious standpoint.[3][4] There were four more altars
in the main church. The two on the left were dedicated
to the Immaculate Conception and in Saint Thomas respectively: the two on the right, to Our Savior and to
Saint Joseph. Below the Crucix was the Santo Sepulcro which could be seen thru the glass cover. From the
lofty ceiling of the church, there were costly and heavy
chandeliers, and on the lateral walls, there were images
carved in wood, showing the dierent stages of the life
of Christ.[4]


The church incurred damage over time and was repaired.
In 1887, the vault and the rose windows of batikuling
were restored. The main altar was almost totally renovated, and the columns repaired. The roof of the bell
towers was renovated to assume a crown-like form. In
1941, the Gothic church of Santo Domingo in Intramuros
was destroyed at the advent of the Second World War.
On December 21, 1941 the church and the Dominican
monastery beside it were hit by Japanese bombs. This
was the rst church to be ruined during the Pacic War.
The friars, archives, the image of Our Lady of the Holy
Rosary of La Naval and other movable property like ivory
statues, gala vestments of the Virgin; jewelry, and sacred
vessels were the only survivors of the war.[3] The image
was transferred to Santsimo Rosario Church at the University of Santo Toms (UST) in Espaa, Manila.[2][5]

2 Current building (1954)

Santo Domingo Church facade

After the Second World War, the Dominicans constructed the sixth church in a new location. They built
it on a portion of land they had purchased in Quezon
City. The Dominicans commissioned Jos Ma. Zaragoza
to design the building while he was still a student of
architecture at UST.[2]





Marian icon in the country.[7]

The new Santo Domingo church was built in the Spanish Modern style, which was unlike the Baroque churches 2.2
built during Spanish period. The church employed
the latest technique in reinforced-concrete building.[3][6]
The Mission-style architecture includes Romanesque and
Gothic designs that accommodate more space. Measuring 85 by 40 metres (279 ft 131 ft) with a height of
25 metres (82 ft), there is a total oor area of 3,300
square metres (36,000 sq ft). It is the biggest church in
Metro Manila and one of the biggest churches in Asia.The
Santo Domingo church complex was inaugurated on October 12, 1954.[3] They icon of Our Lady of La Naval
was brought to the new church in 1957 in a spectacular


The church faade has receding planes with leaves designed in corbel arches. Over the triple portals of the
church is a high-relief frieze depicting the story of the
La Naval. The giant bas-relief of Santo Domingo was High-relief frieze at the facade depicting the story of the La
designed by the Italian sculptor and expatriate Francesco Naval.
Aside from being an architectural jewel, the Santo
In the nave of the church there are eight colorful murals
Domingo Church houses artistic treasures.[2] The secby National Artist Carlos Botong Francisco depicting
ond to sixth Santo Domingos were bound by a common
the life and times of Santo Domingo de Guzmn, the
symbol, the image of the Nuestra Seora del Santsmo
Spaniard who founded the Order of Preachers. FranRosario or La Naval de Manila.[4] The image of Our Lady
ciscos murals are just below the equally brilliant murals
of the Holy Rosary of La Naval is kept on the left side alof the Four Evangelists in vivid brown tones by Vicente
tar all year round, except during the October esta when
Garca Llamas.
a special canopy and platforms are built for it behind the
main altar. The La Naval image has been the object of
Filipino devotion that dates back to the 16th century, and
the icons shrine in Quezon City is host to an annual feast
that culminates in a procession that draws tens of thousands of devotees.[7] Opposite in the left, a side altar dedicated to Saint Martn de Porres.[2][3][4]
Devotees of Our Lady of La Naval would oer her jewelry. In the church Marian jewelry collection, La Naval
book described as studded with small diamonds, seed
pearls and colored gems. It is believed to have been offered to the Virgin by a certain Ana Rojas, a native of
Calumpit, Bulacan, in the 19th century.[7]

One of Galo Ocampos stained class windows

Curved windows of the church frame masterful stainedglass designs by Galo Ocampo whose bases show dierent ecclesiastical seals.[3] The windows depict the original 15 Stations of the Holy Rosary as well as the Battle
of Lepanto and La Naval de Manila; and the martyrdoms
of San Vicente Liem de la Paz and San Francisco Capillas, Dominican protomartyrs of Vietnam and China,
respectively.[7] Right behind Sto. Domingo Churchs facade is an intricately carved panels and stained glass windows lie a treasure trove of the Philippines rich cultural
heritage and the object of centuries-old devotion, the image of Our Lady of the Rosary of La Naval, the oldest

Somewhere in the vast church complex is a secret vault

holding centuries-old ivory icons and wooden images
of saints made by Filipino craftsmen; exquisite, gemstudded, age-old crowns; golden Marian robes; and ne
jewelry for the Virgin presented by fervent devotees. The
secrecy about the vault makes sense: In October 1762,
thieves broke into the Sto. Domingo Church in Intramuros and took some of its rare treasures.[7]
Another notable gift is the National Artist medallion,
which ardent devotee Nick Joaquin instructed his heirs
to donate to the La Naval Virgin before he died in 2004.
The medallion has been axed to the statues foot since
then. Stored in the vault, according to the book, are prewar ivory heads and hands for statues of several saints,
including St. Dominic, St. Vincent Ferrer, St. Catherine


de Ricci, St. Agnes of Montepulciano and St. Antoninus The declaration follows Republic Act No. 4846, otherof Florence.[7]
wise known as the Cultural Properties Preservation and
Protection Act.[2][5][7] It is the rst national cultural treasure listed in Quezon City.[8]


Pipe organ

4 Gallery
Interior ceiling
Hallway leading to the convent
Church library
Main altar
Relief at the facade depicting the story of La Naval
Santo Domingo Church inauguration marker
The giant choir loft where the century old pipe organ is located

In the giant choir loft is almost a century old pipe organ

made by Fr. Gregorio Hontomin, OP made in Rosaryhill in Hong Kong. The Dominicans transferred the pipe
organ from Hong Kong to the Sto. Domingo Church in
1954 after the Chapel of St. Albert the Greats Priory, the
center of religious formation and studies of the Dominican Province of the Holy Rosary, closed.[2] The inauguration of the pipe organ was June 9, 1959. It was restored
to its grandeur by Diego Cera Organbuilders Inc., custodians of the world-famous Las Pias bamboo organ.[2][7]


Museo de Santo Domingo

The Santo Domingo Museum (also Museo de Santo

Domingo) houses other valuable objectssuch as
centuries-old crucixes made of gold and silver, rosaries
and a tabernacle, all of which had been used in the old
Santo. Domingo Church in Intramuros.[2][7]

Declaration as a National Cultural Treasure

Right side altar dedicated to St. Martn de Porres

Relief of Santo Domingo

5 References
[1] National Museum to declare Sto. Domingo Church a national treasure. Oce of the President. September 28,
2012. Retrieved September 4, 2014.
[2] Santo Domingo Church, La Naval de Manila shrine to be
declared National Cultural Treasures. Inquirer Lifestyle.
[3] Cultural Center of the Philippines (1994). CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art: Volume III. Manila: Cultural
Center of the Philippines.
[4] Baas, R. C. (1937). Brief historical sketches of Philippine Catholic churches. Manila, Philippines: Commonwealth Press.
[5] Jose, R. T., & Ayala Museum (1991). Simbahan: Church
art in colonial Philippines, 1565-1898. Metro Manila,
Philippines: Ayala Museum.
[6] Diocese of Cubao. (n.D.)
[7] Sto. Domingo Church keeps rich cultural heritage. Inquirer Lifestyle.

The Dominicans endorsed the designation of the Santo [8] Sto. Domingo Church declared nat'l treasure. The VarDomingo Church and the Shrine of Our Lady of the Holy
sitarian. November 10, 2012. Retrieved September 4,
Rosary of La Naval de Manila as a National Culture Trea2014.
sure to the National Museum in 2011.[8] It has been listed
as a National Cultural Treasure following the signing of [9] Sto. Domingo Church declared national cultural treasure. CBCP News. Catholic Bishops Conference of the
Museum Declaration no. 4 on October 4, 2012 during
Philippines. October 5, 2012. Retrieved September 4,
the enthronement rites for theOur Lady of the Rosary of
and unveiling o the ocial marker on DeLa Naval
cember 8, 2012.[7][8] The declaration is the highest dis- [10] Santo Domingo Church, A National Cultural Treasure.
tinction the government can confer on a cultural property.
Order of Preachers. Retrieved September 4, 2014.

External links
Diocese of Cubao


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