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Baroque Churches of the Philippines

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(Narration Text)
The explorer Ferdinand Magellan arrived in the Philippines in 1521. His name was Ferdinand Magellan, known for his voyage around the world. He claimed the islands of the Philippines as a Spanish colony. Missionary priests came to spread the Catholic faith.

Many churches were built throughout the country. Four of them were inscribed as World Heritage in 1993. The churches have survived several earthquakes and wars, and are known as "Earthquake Baroque" due to their strong quake-resistant structures.

This pyramid-like building is the Church of San Agustin in Paoay in the Northern Luzon. Construction started in 1694. It incorporates many architectural features from Latin America, which was also colonized by Spain at the time. Typical Latin American motifs such as the sun are used as decoration.

As The Philippines are affected by earthquakes, the buildings have some unique features to cope. These 2.5 meter-thick supporting buttresses were built around the church as protection. from the impact of an earthquake. The material used to make the wall is also unique. Pieces of coral were used along with regular brick for construction. Coral is said to be twice as strong as brick.

This church has been hit by two giant earthquakes in the last 300 years but owing to its quake-resistant structure has remained intact."Architectural techniques brought from Mexico and Spain bloomed in the Philippines, making great buildings like this church. By combining different techniques this church stood strong in the earthquake of Intensity 7." There is another church in Manila whose quake-resistant structure saved it from wartime bombing.

This is the Church of the Immaculate Conception of San Agustin in Manila, one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. Japanese and American forces clashed here in 1945, and most of the buildings in the town were destroyed. Remains of walls from destroyed buildings are left in ruin around the church. The Church suffered a direct bomb blast which left holes in the wall but the building itself survived. The secret behind the buildings bomb resistance can be found inside. Inside the church building there are many buttresses supporting the building and placed to absorb impacts from outside.

These are the churches known as "Earthquake Baroque". Different cultures from Spain, Latin America and the Philippines met here during the colonial era and created a remarkable cultural heritage." (World Heritage)


on this subject: Baroque Churches of the Philippines

Place/region: Philippines, Asia and the Pacific
Series: NHK World Heritage 100
Type: Documentary
Duration:
Production and personalities:
Publisher: NHK; UNESCO TV Sponsor: UNESCO WHC
Rights: NHK; UNESCO TV

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