The Church That Gave Birth to a City: The St. Peter and Paul Church in Makati

Makati

While the Nuestra Señora de Gracia Church is considered as Makati’s oldest structure, it was actually not in that location where the Makati that we know today was born. In fact, during the time the aforementioned church was built, Makati as a settlement had not been established yet and was still considered part of the thriving Santa Ana settlement which used to be the site of the pre-Hispanic Kingdom of Namayan.

The beginnings of Makati can be traced in 1608 (or 1607 as said in the marker), when the Jesuits received a donation of land from Captain Pedro de Brito, a military officer of the Spanish Crown who originally bought what was then a vast hilly swampland along the Pasig River. The Jesuits would proceed to build a Catholic church in the estate, right near the highest point of the newly acquired estate, hoping not only to evangelize the people to the Catholic faith but also to entice people to settle in what was then a barren landscape.

Work began in 1620 to build a stone church which was to be dedicated primarily to Saint Peter, one of Jesus’ 12 Apostles who would later be known as the first “Bishop of Rome.” Since in the Catholic calendar, he shared the same feast day as Saint Paul the Apostle, the church was dedicated to him as well as a secondary patron saint of sorts. So while officially it is known as the St. Peter and Paul Church (Iglesia de San Pedro y San Pablo), it was popularly known as the Church of San Pedro de Macati (Iglesia de San Pedro de Macati).

The church and the community around it would form the nucleus of what was to become the Makati we know today. The growth of the old settlement made it necessary to make the parish a town of its own. Thus, in 1670, the town of San Pedro Macati was officially established. And over time, its name was shortened and localized to how we identify the city today.

Sadly, the original church was destroyed during the British Occupation of Manila in 1762. Restoration would not begin until 1849, using the stones from the nearby Guadalupe Quarry, among other sources. Fortunately, the church did not suffer the same fate as the Nuestra Señora de Garcia Church during the Philippine Revolution. Instead, it was utilized by the American forces as a hospital and temporary barracks that housed some of its men.

While the church remains to be a significant landmark in Makati’s history, its significance seems to be overlooked and overshadowed by the progress and urbanization that has made the city what it is today. Nowadays, it would not be easy to spot the church as it is located at a now busy, sometimes traffic-laden P. Burgos Street with all the commercial activity around the area. Not to mention the taller buildings that surround it as well as those in the horizon.

Today

Nevertheless, its significance as the birthplace of what was to be the hub of commerce of a bustling metropolis remains. And we pay tribute to its important contribution in shaping the landscape of Makati and the greater Metropolitan Manila as a whole.

3 thoughts on “The Church That Gave Birth to a City: The St. Peter and Paul Church in Makati”

  1. 1620 the Sampiro church was opened to the Public for worship thus making it the Mother Church the Yglesia Parroquial de San Pedro de Macati. In 1630 the works at the Monasterio de Guadalupe was finished thus making it thr second oldest religious structure.

    1. Actually, the present church we see today is not the original church built in 1620. It was completed by 1849. As it stands, the Nuestra Señora de Gracia in Guadalupe is Makati’s oldest structure.

      1. the Monasterio de Guadalupe was shattered during the Second World War and was left as is until the late 90’s. There is no record that the Church of Sampiro has been destroyed by any natural or man-made calamities. Minor repairs and the facade was restored maybe because of the earthquake of the 1800’s but was not raised again from its foundation. Sampiro or San Pedro de Macati pertains both to the Yglesia Parroquial and the Pueblo thus Sampiro is considered the Mother Church and the Oldest religious structure of Makati. This historical fact has been overlooked quite a long long time and thus Sampiro is claiming the glory of the Mother Church as it will celebrate its Quadricentennial in 2020.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *