Sta. Ana Church, Manila City

Church of Santa Ana (Manila City)

Among the remnants of Spain’s 300-year occupation of the Philippines, which ended when the 20th century came to a close, are breathtaking churches. Among these old churches are San Sebastian Church (Plaza del Carmen, Quiapo, Manila), Baclayon Church (Baclayon town, Bohol), Loboc Church (Loboc town, Bohol), Paoay Church (Laoag, Ilocos Norte), Basilica Minore del Sto. Nino (Cebu City), Miag-ao Church (Iloilo), Valladolid Church (Valladolid, Negros Occidental), St. Martin de Tours (Taal, Batangas).

These churches provide a living testament to the rich history of the Philippines, as well as serve as great venues for weddings and other religious occasions.

In and around Metro Manila, I’ve been to the Manila Cathedral and San Agustin Church (both in Intramuros, Manila), Barasoain Church (Malolos, Bulacan), Nuestra Señora de Gracia Church (Makati City),  and, recently, the Church of Santa Ana.

It’s not easy to find the Church of Santa Ana. It’s found in the Santa Ana district of Manila City. It’s surrounded by the Pasig River, the Paco and Pandacan districts of Manila City, and Makati City. I only know one way to get there, through Makati City, and I’d probably get lost if I take some other road (but it’s just as easy to be lost in Makati City). At the other end of Pasong Tamo Avenue, just after the Philippine Daily Inquirer office and JP Rizal Avenue, is already Santa Ana.

The roads leading to the Church of Santa Ana are narrow, a sign of really old localities, probably when central planning wasn’t a major concern. It doesn’t help that there are a number of one-way streets, which means you can’t just go around and retrace your way if you’re lost (or maybe I’m just mistook them for one-way streets, brought about by years living in Makati City). I’m just thankful that people around the place are helpful when asked for directions, as I had no idea how to get there. Thank God for small mercies.

I wouldn’t have braved the narrow streets except that I had to attend the baptism of a friend’s daughter. It’s a normal progression as one gets older: first, you attend your friends’ weddings, then the baptism of their children, then the birthdays of their children, then the children’s weddings, then you’re friends’ funerals (assuming you don’t go first). Sad, but that’s life.

The church stands on the site of the first Franciscan mission established outside Manila in 1578. The permanent marker on the outside wall of the church, placed by the Historic Research and Markers Committee in 1936, reads:

First Franciscan Mission established outside Manila, in 1578. Present church built under the supervision of Vicente Ingles, O.F.M. Cornerstone laid on September 12, 1720, by Francisco de la Cuesta, Archbishop of Manila and Acting Governor of the Philippines.

I made it a point to come earlier than the scheduled start of the baptism because I don’t know the place, which is a good thing because the small parking area still had many vacant spaces. Perhaps more important is the fact that it gave me some time to go around the place, marvel at its beauty and take pictures. Only God can make a tree, but man can sure construct beautiful churches.

17 thoughts on “Church of Santa Ana (Manila City)”

  1. I am one of the few that had really lived in the Santa Ana distirct of Manila.

    We lived then @ the corner of Tejeron and Revillen Sts., and my sisters, brother and
    a cousin all went to Santa Ana Academy, a Catholic school on Herran across the Pasig
    River.

    My fond memories of that district of Manila. was inclusive of the church which seems to be mounted on a rotunda (guess hi-elevation was necessary to avert flood waters
    into the Church. The church then was run by Spaniards, and there were still rmmnants of the old Spanish clergy residing by the church. In particular, a basque
    priest by the name of Padre Miguel & a youthful Padres Jesus.

    The Sta Ana Academy was run by a prolific Administrator, a Mother Artes from the Cebu area and her nieces and nephew taught there too, and was it well run considering the availability of academc materials.

    From what the rumor indicated, the school was very mcuh helped by a prominent
    businessman of that time, Joseph Arcache, whose members of household attended
    the school also.

    I still fell sort of nostalgic of those yaers past, when going home from school, one
    passes by some of the older houses on Revillen, some residence of my school mates.

    Some the the kids I went to school with (grade school to 2nd yr. hi-school) are well
    into their senior years now, or some might have gone south already (euphemism),
    but when I think about those yotuhful years, I can’t help but wish that one day, after
    55 years in the United States, some shades of that romantic past mgiht still be available for me to reconcile then with now. I certainly would like to see some
    cestiges of what I had known that might whisper softly to me, “hey, I’ve been here
    even before you, and I’m still around.”

    1. @Art, thank you for sharing your memories of Sta. Ana, the church and its surroudings. We were browsing through the comments and noticed that we’ve missed your comment. It’s easy to see that nauna po kayo sa duyan, so to speak, and you’ve witnessed a treasure of history that we only dream of reading in some hidden book . . . i only blogs were present then. =)

  2. panu po sumali sa org ng sta ana church as choir member?

    Kanino po ako lalapit. kung sakali, pede niyo po ako matulungan?

  3. Actually its really very easy to get to Sta. Ana Church from any direction. And, you’re right, the people are very helpful. I should know, I was raised in the area. Unfortunately, I was not able to go to any of the “local” schools. But, nevertheless, I have very fond memories of the place. Its a place which they call, part of Manila yet retains a certain rural atmosphere. Just walk around Lamayan, Revellin, Leiva or Isabel streets. Even the place where I grew up, Medel and Del Pan streets. Sometimes its eerie, like going back in time. And, predictably, it has its share of haunted houses, real or not. Just the same, Sta. Ana will always play a very important part in my life. Friends, still with us and some who have gone to the other side, will always be remembered.My only regret is having left the place.I hope one day I will come back to stay. Friends from Del Pan and Medel, may you live forever.

      1. I recently passed by Sta. Ana Church the other day, and I am really impressed by the renovations done there. Its also nice to see the old mural painting still existing and preserved.

        While going around the area I was reminded of my boyhood days, and those who are true blue Sta. Ana natives will not fail to recall Tandocs store in Sta. Ana Market, where you can buy almost anything from toys to school supplies.

        And who does not know Mang Teroy of Kasarinlan street, those who did not have bikes of their own need only to go to his bike rental store, and for .25 cents, you can rent a balloon tire bike for thirty minutes.

        Those who were fond of reading comic books surely know Cesar’s store right in from of Sta. Ana Elementary School, at the corner of La Torre street. There you can buy or rent any comic book from imported Superman, Batman, Lawman comics to Liwayway, Bulaklak, Kislap and the local comic books of the time.

        And, when we were hungry for some Halo-halo, where else to go but at the Three Roses stand in Sta. Ana Market? From the other stalls you can taste their wicked Goto, Sotanghon, and Palabok.

        There are lots more memories but I would not want to pour them all out in one go. It would spoil the fun wouldn’t it?

        If you want to tell more, please tell me and Ill do my best.

  4. i just want to ask, hw much its cost for the wedding?pls send some details or requirement….tnx a lots….Godbless

  5. i miss sta. ana… i used to live there ..in garrido st were i grew up. i used to hang out s lamayan st. and plaza hugo.. but its a very long time ago.ang daming memories from sta. ana
    REALLY.. theres no place like sta. ana

  6. i was born in trinity general hosp in sta. ana but was raised in brgy carmona, makati. we always go to church here and my aunts and cousins live in zamora st. now we’re renting in medel st. a lil high 9,500 pesos a month for only the 2nd floor of an old house but nonetheless it is nice to live in sta.ana. and yes it is eerie when i get home from work at wee hours in the morning and i pass by revillen from tejeron to get to medel. so scary at times but love it 🙂

    1. hi pau! we also rented an old house 2nd floor lang din sa medel and delarosa street, baka same house lang din un…

  7. My authorization po ba ang mga nagseserve sa simbahang na magsolicite gamit ang pangalan ng simbahan.May mga nagsosolicite po kasi dito sa
    amin para daw sa mga nasalanta ng bagyo.If i’m correct kung may donation kami,we could go directly sa office ng church to donate,di po ba? Delia dela fuente ang pakilala niya sa amin.We are from brgy 874.

  8. sta ana has and always be in my heart as i was born there, i was at suter ext at d corner of sta clara st. i studied at havana elementary school and at my fourt grade was rename as fernando amorsolo elem school now situated at old panaderos took high school at mariano marcos high took my first communion at the sta ana church the lady of d abandoned maybe if you were lived here in sta ana you would not forget the resto of mang enga ang sarap ng pansit nila at the best gising gising

  9. Long before the Spaniards arrived in Manila, there was already a thriving community in this place called “Namayan”. Its domain stretched from what is now known as Paco, Pandacan, Santa Ana, San Juan, Makati and Pasay. It was for that reason also why it was known as the “Kingdom of Namayan”. It was an active and rich ancient settlement where the last recorded ruler was Lakan Tagkan with his wife Buwan.

    According to historians, Namayan means “established residents” or “those who lived there”. If that is so, Namayan could be a corrupted word for “Namamahay diyan”.

    During the Galleon trade, early settlers acted as middlemen for foreign traders who sails from the mouth of Pasig river to Laguna de Bai. This place was also widely known as a major iron making center where Panday Pilak or Panday Pira was the most sought after blacksmith whose foundry at the time was believed to be just somewhere along the extreme curve of the Pasig river where Santa Ana is situated.

    The Spanish conquistadores came in 1571 and established its seat of power in Manila – known as the Intramuros or “Walled City”. Following the arrival of the early Franciscan missionaries who first asked the locals of Namayan about the name of the place while pointing to the riverbank, the residents responded with “sapa”. Having in mind naming the place after the mother of the Holy Virgin, the friars first called the place that was awarded to them as “Santa Ana de Sapa”. The first church was made out of nipa and bamboo and was built in 1578 making it the first Franciscan mission established outside Manila.

    Years passed by and a decision to construct a stone church for a growing congregation came into light. In 1720, then Manila Archbishop and Interim Governor General Francisco dela Cuesta laid the church’s cornerstone while Father Vicente Ingles supervised the construction until it was done in 1725.

    These and more interesting stories (myths and facts) and countless milestones on cultural and heritage preservation efforts about our beloved Santa Ana will be discovered with the assistance of the Santa Ana Heritage Tourism Association or SAHTA.

    You may inquire at:

    SAHTA President’s Office
    Second Floor, Burke House Building,
    Pedro Gil Street, Santa Ana, Manila

    Mobilephones: Globe +63917.8555652
    Smart +63920.8016845
    Smart +63947.2235841
    Smart +63919.5918074

    SAHTA Tours Commitee Chair Office
    Santa Ana eNovations
    Ground Level, CFA Building, No. 2259 Calderon Street,
    Santa Ana, Manila

    Landline No.: +632.5260370
    Mobilephones: Globe +63927.5177899
    Smart +63947.1920905
    Sun +63933.4513676

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