Historic Places in Sta. An, Manila - www.thejerny.com

4 Historic Places You Can Visit When In Sta. Ana, Manila

Last updated on July 31st, 2018

After our visit in San Sebastian Church, next on our itinerary was the Parish of Our Lady of the Abandoned (Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de Los Desamparados), or widely known the Sta. Ana Church.

Historic Places in Sta. An, Manila - www.thejerny.com

1. Sta. Ana Church

Sta. Ana Church is located in Sta. Ana, Manila. The only town that wasn’t colonized during the Spaniard’s regime. The first church was created in 1578 and was only made of bamboo and wood. The present church was constructed from 1720 – 1725, made up of baroque architectural style utilizing adobe blocks as its wall finish. The church is now going to its 300 years of existence.

Historic Places in Sta. An, Manila - www.thejerny.com

Historic Places in Sta. An, Manila - www.thejerny.com

Upon entry on the right, at the base of the bell tower, is the Baptistery. Inside the small room contains the marble baptismal font and a Neoclassical retablo featuring the painting of the Baptism of Christ, framed by two Corinthian columns on each side.

The main altarpiece or the retablo is in churrigueresque style, according to the community guide. The tabernacle or sagrario occupied the central niche at the lower level and is flanked by Franciscan Saints. The central part of the second or main level is occupied by Our Lady of the Abandoned which came from Spain. At the top of the retablo is the image of Saint Michael the Archangel.

Camarin de la Virgen

Thru Fundacion Santiago, we were able to witness history and learn more about the church via their community guides. In Sta. Ana Church, two of the National Cultural Treasures were declared by the National Museum of the Philippines. One is the Santa Ana Site Museum located in the convent patio, and another one is the Camarin de la Virgen or most known as Dressing Room of the Virgin.

The Camarín de la Virgen is a chapel room located at the second level of the retablo where the image of Our Lady of the Abandoned is placed. Very notable in this structure are the paintings on the ceiling and on the entrance, which are believed to be as old as the Camarín and the church itself. The ceiling paintings contained an image of Heaven at the center surrounded by eleven segments of the painting depicting scenes from the lives of Mary and Jesus, from Mary’s betrothal to Joseph to the Baptism of Jesus. The central painting of Heaven portrays the Holy Trinity and the kneeling Virgin Mary, with cherubs and angels on both sides. After staying and praying for a while, you’d feel refreshed and anew.

Santa Ana Site Museum

In 1966, archaeological excavations have been conducted by the National Museum of the Philippines on the patio and the churchyard, uncovering 71 human burials dating around late 11th to 14th centuries from the associated Chinese ceramics recovered with the graves. The ceramics recovered were dated around more than 500 years of age and according to the archaeologists, each one costs more than $5000 dollars. Thus, declaring the site as a cultural treasure.

2. Pozo de la Virgen

Historic Places in Sta. An, Manila - www.thejerny.com

Located at the back of the Santa Ana Church is the Pozo de la Virgen (Well of the Virgin). It is believed to have contained healing powers. The water coming in from the well is unknown, it may have been a spring, but people and residents are referring it as an extension of the Pasig River. During the typhoid epidemic, the well was closed to the public due to sanitary concerns and was reopened in 2011 after 92 years of being hidden from the public. For now, the water is safe but it’s not advisable that you drink from it.

3. Taoist Temple

Historic Places in Sta. An, Manila - www.thejerny.com

The Taoist Temple is just across the street from the Pozo de la Virgen behind the Sta. Ana Church. It is an old Taoist temple dedicated to Pao Ong Hu. The temple is divided into two chapel rooms. The left chapel is dedicated to the Our Lady of the Abandoned while the right chapel is dedicated primarily to Pao Ong Hu. Aside from the Chinese saints, also venerated within the Pao Ong Hu chapel are other Taoist deities and the images of Santo Niño (Child Jesus) and Our Lady of Antipolo (Nuestra Señora de la Paz y Buenviaje).

4. Santos Ancestral House

One of the many heritage houses in Sta. Ana is the Amparo-Santos Ancestral House. It was built around 1931-1932. The original owners of the house were Amparo Lucero, who became Miss Cebu in 1907, and Valentin Santos Sr., who was the first Filipino manager of Manila Electric Company. Jon Santos, a Filipino comedian, impersonator, and entertainer, is related to the Santos family who owns the house.

This tour was made possible by Fundacion Santiago. Book your heritage tour for San Sebastian Church and Sta. Ana Church – A Tale of Two Churches by contacting them via their facebook page or website. Let’s help build heritage tourism and revisit history!

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Jerny Destacamento

Jerny is a full-time freelancer, an IT Specialist, a traveler, a dreamer and also a reading enthusiast. He loves to travel, climb mountains, swim and take beautiful photos. Together with his girlfriend, Jane, are currently traveling all over the Philippines and aspires to explore every corner of the world.


  1. The first photo, the interior of the church is astonishing. I rarely go to church because of personal reasons but visiting a church some how makes me calm. I think, this is also a great place to visit when doing a pilgrimage with its rich history as well as the mysterious well.

  2. Awesome! I love learning about historical Filipino culture. I’m a Filipino too but I lived in another country during my teen years so I don’t know much about these place. Will definitely have to pay a visit here and also Intramuros!

  3. What a beautiful church! The Taoist temple is also fascinating, and I’d like to see the museum too. I haven’t been to the Philippines but I’ll make sure I stop by Manila when I get the chance.

  4. I love historical places! I am not sure where Sta. Ana is, but I think I’ll be able to find it. It’s funny when the place wasn’t colonized by the Spanish yet the church resembled european architecture. The Taoist temple is interesting as well.

  5. My birthplace but I don’t know about it that much! But I am glad to know fun facts about it through your blog post. I’d love to visit Sta. Ana one day since we also have relatives staying there. So I guess, it wouldn’t be a problem in case I’d go there one day.

  6. I’ve never been to Sta. Ana, Manila, and I’ve never heard of a place like this before mentioned about Sta. Ana, Manila. The place transports you to a place somewhere in olden spanish time. The place is just picturesque. Hope we could do a feature on this soon Thank you for sharing!

  7. Beautiful photos guys! And what an interesting place. The cultural and religious syncretism in the Philippines has produced some incredible artifacts.

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