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The San Andres Church also known as Masinloc Church in Zambales | Colonial church architecture in the Philippines

The San Andres Church also known as Masinloc Church in Zambales | Colonial church architecture in the Philippines

This article features the colonial church architecture introduced by the Augustinian Recollects during the Spanish colonial period in Zambales. The San Andres Church also known as Masinloc Church in Masinloc, Zambales is considered an architectural built heritage in the province.  


Historical chronicles by Fr. Manuel Buzeta and Fr. Felipe Bravo (1851) state that the Augustinian Recollects arrived in Manila in 1606 and founded their first convent in Bagumbayan. They founded their province under the patronage of San Nicolas de Tolentino.  The town of Masinloc was founded in 1607 by the Augustinian Recollects during the conversion of Zambales. The church under the patronage of San Andres Apostol, was built in the 18th – 19th centuries. The stone masonry church is considered as the best example of a colonial church complex in the province. The church had major structural damage caused by the magnitude 6.8 earthquake on December 12, 1999, in Zambales.


Interior San Andres Church also known as Masinloc Church in Zambales


The church structure is L-shaped in plan and oriented with its length in east-west axis, its main portal on the west and the altar on the east end.  It occupies the central part of the land, with its rectory and parish office on a separate two-story building on the southwestern part of the land.  The remaining part of the land is used as a school currently under the administration of the San Andres School of Masinloc, Inc.  


The architectural exterior of the church features a modestly ornamented west façade.  Decorative moldings and friezes divide horizontally the façade into three levels, with a triangular pediment on the third level.  Triglyphs adorn the frieze between the pediment and the second level. Pilasters rising to the second level divide the façade vertically into six bays.  The first level has a central bay with an arched door or main portal, flanked by bays with pedimented niches adorned with sculptures of saints. The second level or the choir loft level has three grilled rectangular windows on the central bays. The pediment on the third level features medallions, and an intricately carved central niche for the patron saint.  


Belfry Interior San Andres Church also known as Masinloc Church in Zambales


The belfry rises from the two bays south of the façade, or on the epistle side of the church. 


unique architectural interior feature of the church is the arched doorway

decorative relief images rendered in polychrome


A unique architectural interior feature of the church is the arched doorway from the choir loft on the north masonry wall.  The arched doorway is framed by a pair of pilasters supporting an arched pediment, with decorative relief images rendered in polychrome. 

decorative keystone has an image of a partridge on a dish


The decorative keystone has an image of a partridge on a dish. The pediment has images of stars, lilies, book, and miter.  The images are associated with the religious symbols of the Augustinian Recollects under the patronage of San Nicolas de Tolentino.


In 2001, the San Andres Church in Masinloc was one among the 26 Spanish colonial churches declared as National Cultural Treasures by the National Museum of the Philippines for their outstanding historical, cultural, and architectural value.  The National Museum marker was installed and unveiled in the church in 2012.


The church complex is in fair to good state of conservation.  After the 1999 earthquake, the national government spearheaded the restoration of the built heritage property from 2004 to 2007 with funding assistance from both the national government and the church community.  The church underwent major site and building interventions involving structural repair and consolidation of the foundation, the masonry walls, and the roof.  With funding assistance from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the arched doorway was restored and completed in 2012.


The San Andres Church in Masinloc, apart from being a testament of the Augustinian Recollects’ missionary zeal, exemplifies Philippine built traditions of our National Cultural Treasures that is worthy of preservation and care. 



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Credits

Text and photographs by NMP AABHD

© National Museum of the Philippines (2021)

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