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Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral


Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral


  • Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral is a Spanish Colonial designed church constructed after Cebu was established as a Diocese in August 1595 by the Augustinian Order. The design and construction follows the standard Augustinian formula. Construction took many years due to funding being diverted to fight Muslim invasions.
  • The formation of these towns initially included an enclosed church and attached convent with an atrium and bell tower. The churches were designed to follow Spanish tradition as formulated by the ''Ordenanzas de Fundaciones de Pueblos'' issued in 1571 and the writings about church architecture written by Father Juan de Albarran who constructed the Santo Nino Church in Cebu about 1735. However the Spanish input was modified by several factors, these were the local available materials to be used in the construction, the unskilled labor of the locals, the need for defense elements, the likelihood of earth quakes and the weather considerations. Whilst these factors influenced the external appearance and construction, inside the churches the decorations were traditional and elaborate. In some respects these churches have similarities to those in many parts of South America.
  • Most Churches were made of volcanic tuff or coral stone, depending upon where in the The Philippines they were constructed. Coral stone is the dominate stone in Cebu and Panay in central Philippines whilst gray volcanic tuff is used on Luzon and dominates the Churches in Manila. All churches were covered with stucco and painted white. The roofs were originally covered with dried cogon grass and supported with wooden beams. Later tin sheets were introduced when this became available.
  • The labor was unskilled with no stone masons such as in Europe. The labor was unpaid (  ''polo'') and as this free labor had to fit into agricultural work periods, planting and harvesting, the church construction could take on average 5 to 10 years to complete. This also depended upon access to materials and some constructions are recorded as taking up to 20 years to complete. The result was, apart from timing issues, that the structures were simple, some described as '' barn like '' and used local motifs.
  • The best example of Augustinian churches is San Augustin in Intramuros Manila. This is a world heritage site and comparable to what one can expect to see in Spain.



Entrance To Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral