San Agustin Museum Manila will keep you busy for hours.
If you like delving into the past then you have to put the San Agustin Museum Manila on your itinerary!
My preference is usually the outdoors. I love being close to nature and everything associated with it. So for me to even step foot in a museum is pretty special, for me anyway. I do, however concede that the San Agustin Museum Manila was something a little special.
It is glimpse into the past, a snap shot of what it must have been like so many centuries ago. Even walking down the long hallways sent a shiver down my spine knowing how many people from different eras and centuries have passed the same way.
I spent a good hour wondering through the San Agustin Museum and probably could have spent a lot longer.
San Agustin Museum - Formalities.
The San Agustin Museum Manila is located in Intramuros. Intramuros, or the walled city is located in Manila. Now if you have found the San Agustin Church, you have arrived at the right place, because they are right beside each other.
The opening hours of the San Agustin Museum is daily at 8:00am to 12:00 and then closes and reopens at 1:00pm through to 6:00pm. Entry to both the San Agustin Church and Museum is free, however you are expected to make a donation when you enter the Museum.
Please also respect the no photos rule inside the rooms of the San Agustin Museum. You can take photos outside and in the hallways but not inside the various rooms.
You also have to leave any hand luggage behind at the reception area, they will register it for you and hand you a ticket for your collection. Take any valuables with you, never tempt fate!
Inside the San Agustin Museum
The San Agustin Museum is in the shape of a square with a huge courtyard in the centre. The building itself is two stories with four hallways or corridors the length of the building. Off the hallways are the various rooms.
Once you have made your donation and handed over your bags you enter the museum through the old porters lodge. Not overly impressive except for the giant bell which is smack bang in the middle of the room. This bell is huge 3,400 kg.
There is a set route that you take around the San Agustin Museum. It is clockwise and it is good thing too as you will not miss anything. The first room you come across is the San Agustin Church, which was in accessible from the ground floor when I was there due to the wedding.
As you continue around the hallways you pass through the following rooms:
Ground Floor - San Agustin Museum
Sala De La Capitulacion In here you will find church artefacts, statues and other bits and pieces. It was in this room that the terms of the surrender to the Americans in 1898 were drafted.
Sacristy More statues and paintings, including an alter with 22 gold niches made in 1650.
Refactory - Sala Profundis/Crypt This were the priest use to take meals. Now it is a mausoleum. Take a peak at the ceiling and you cannot but admire the craftsmanship of the Aztec frescoes in the ceiling.
You have now made a complete circuit of the ground floor, now it is time to walk upstairs via the old stone staircase, which is pretty impressive itself, it is made of 44 pieces of Chinese granite, all the way from Canton in 1780.
First Floor - San Agustin Museum
Now when you get to the first floor you continue your tour in an anti-clockwise direction, don't know why, I just follow directions.
San Pablo Hall The first room as you climb the stairwell. In here you will find more paintings and a scaled model of the san Agustin Church & Museum.
San Agustin Hall This room is quite interesting as it has photos and pictures of churches built by the Augustinians throughout the Philippines.
Porcelain Room Collections of artefacts from the Chinese - Philippine trading.
Biblioteca I can't quite remember what was in here, maybe someone can let me know. As Bibloteca is Spanish for library, I guess books would be in here! Thanks Ricardo.
Orator / Antechior / Choirloft This room is great for viewing the San Agustin Church. Make sure you poke your head in here.
Church Vestments In here is the clothing worn by official priests, all quite grandiose. I particularly liked this room as it gave me an idea of what they had to wear. These garments are of thick fabric and they look real heavy. I can only imagine how hot they must have been under all the fabric.
Father Blanco's Garden - San Agustin Museum
Father Manual Blanco was a Botanist. He studied plants and in particular searched for and cultivated medicinal plants. It was here beside the San Agustin Museum Manila that you will find Father Blanco's Garden. He even wrote a book describing his work in Flora de Filipinas, which was published in 1883.
Father Blanco's Garden is quite an oasis from the tempo outside. It looked like they were setting up for the outdoor wedding reception in the garden whilst I was there.
Now I know museums are not everyone's entertainment, but I do recommend you spend some time here, you will not be disappointed.
If you want to look at some more photos of the San Agustin Museum have a look here.