Baroque Churches of the Philippines Built During the Spanish-Colonial Era

The Spanish colonial period in the Philippines began in the 16th century. The Spanish colonial architecture influenced the native Filipino architecture. Because the Philippines is prone to earthquakes, a new type of architectural style emerged called ”earthquake baroque” with more robust and not-so-high buildings. There are four Baroque Churches of the Philippines and they are on the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.

San Agustin Church(The Church of the Immaculate Conception of San Agustín)

san agustin church ,Baroque Churches of the Philippines

Completed in 1607, San Agustin Church is the oldest stone church on the island. The previous churches were destroyed due to fire and attacks including the first San Agustin Church on the same spot which was destroyed by a fire and it was the first religious structure built by the Spaniards. The Church is located in Intramuros which is the oldest district in Manila and is called the Walled City. Intramuros was the seat of the Spanish governments during the colonial era. After the Battle of Manila, Intramuros was destroyed except for the San Agustin Church but it received a lot of damage.


In an online survey carried out in 2022, the San Agustin Church was chosen as the most beautiful building in the Philippines.


Santa Maria Church (Church of Our Lady of the Assumption)

Santa Maria Church is located in Ilocos Sur. Unlike other churches built in the Spanish style that are at the center of towns, Santa Maria is located on a hill, surrounded by a defensive wall as it was used as a citadel in times of crisis. It is fortified with buttresses in case of earthquakes and attacks.

santa maria church, Baroque Churches of the Philippines

The Bell Tower

santa maria church, Baroque Churches of the Philippines

Paoay Church (San Augustine Church in Paoay)

Paoay Church is among the four baroque-style churches in the Philippines built during the Spanish colonial era. It was completed in 1710 and it is famous for its distinct architecture accentuated by the buttresses on the sides and the back of the building. 

paoay church, Baroque Churches of the Philippines

Miagao Church (Church of Santo Tomas de Villanueva)

The Miagao Church stands at the highest point in the town of Miagao, Iloilo. The towers of the church were used as lookouts for the raids and attacks and it is considered as one of the finest examples of the ”Fortress Baroque” style.

miagao church, Baroque Churches of the Philippines

The towers are different from each other since they were commisioned by two different priests.


The intricately carved facade epitomizes Filipino cultural motifs with Western decorative elements. St. Christopher, stands on the pediment, dressed in native clothes, carrying the Christ Child on his back, and holding on to a coconut palm for support.

miagao church, Baroque Churches of the Philippines