the world as I see it

Then and Now – Santa Cruz Church

Posted by BCS on October 13, 2008


Santa Cruz Church in 1900 - Photo courtesy of the University of Michigan Library (http://www.lib.umich.edu/)

Santa Cruz Church in 2008 (Photo taken on September 27, 2008)

Santa Cruz Church in 2008 (Photo taken on September 27, 2008)

The first church to have ever been built on the site of the present-day Santa Cruz church is said to have been built in 1608, after the “territory” (which at the time was comprised of marshlands, orchards, rice fields, and patches of greeneries) was awarded to the Jesuits by a Spanish expedition after claiming it in 1581. The church was built to primarily serve the ever-growing number of Chinese Christian converts living in the area.

Some 35 years after the church was built, in 1643, the Jesuits enshrined in it the image of the Nuestra Señora del Pilar.

Sadly, that church was destroyed during World War II.

However, before the church was rebuilt, its ruins once hosted a concert (on May 9, 1945) held by the Manila Symphony Orchestra under the conduction of Vienna-born Dr. Herbert Zipper.

The present-day Santa Cruz Church was constructed in 1957.

Before I end this, I would like to share to you this excerpt from the book “Interesting Manila” by George Amos Miller (1906):

“The Santa Cruz Church contains an organ that was the pride of Manila in its day. The console is detached from the organ and reversed, facing the altar, and furnishing the only example of its kind in the city. But this console is a curio in its way. The keys are of all heights and sizes, and are brown or black with age. Many of the ‘ivories’ are missing, and the ‘dip’ or distance the key may be pushed down varies from nothing up to an inch or so. The pedals are something for an organist to never forget. They are simply pegs pushed up through the floor and capable of being played only in the most elemental fashion. For that matter, the pedal key board of the organ in the cathedral is of the same sort, which makes on smile at the statement that this is the most modern organ in the city.”

Note on the use of the old photograph:

From the University of Michigan Library website:

“Users are free to cite and link to digital content without asking for permission.

“Users are free to download, copy, and distribute works in the public domain without asking for permission. To determine whether a work is in the public domain, see the section on the public domain of the Copyright & Fair Use site of Stanford University Libraries.”


4 Responses to “Then and Now – Santa Cruz Church”

  1. Santa Cruz Church was where my brothers and I went to on Sundays during our teen years.

  2. BCS said

    I’ve only been IN that church a handful of times… though we used to pass by that church quite a lot before as my mother is a “suki” of Uniwide. hehehe… 🙂

  3. litoligon said

    Thanks for letting me see the comparison. I used to fetch my mom at the old PNB head office in Escolta during the 70’s. It was always bustling and heavy with traffic then. I would only pass by Sta Cruz Church but could not go in because of traffic. Now, its like a dead area with businesses elsewhere. Its sad that its all in the past now because even a pedicab could stroll in that area.

  4. BCS said

    You are very much welcome, litoligon… and thank YOU for dropping by and for leaving a comment. Yes, I agree, it is indeed sad that this place has become what it is today considering how it was before.

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