Here are the things I learned while touring the San Agustin Museum (which is right beside San Agustin Church) in Intramuros. These tidbits of knowledge are not arranged in any particular order.
1) British raiders took the ivory hands of the 15-18th C statues, and according to our guide, rumor has it that these sacred ivory pieces are on display in some British museums.
2) Juan Luna, the genius behind the Spolarium, is entombed here. Hmmm … I wonder if he roams the adjacent San Agustin church at night ….
3) The ceiling design of San Agustin church was painted using a lost Italian technique. Yes, those designs were not really chiseled on there, and yet, they look like they were, right? How cool is that? You could see the same painting technique on some of the wall designs too.
4) The Zobel de Ayala clan, one of the most influential and powerful families in the entire archipelago since Spanish times, has their chapel inside the church proper itself. According to our guide, they believe that their souls will ascend into heaven faster this way.
5) The original vestments worn by the priests during the 18th C are also on-display here. These garments are so precious because they are embroidered with exquisite designs that were painstakingly created using real gold threads. Most of these historic garments were, again, unfortunately taken by British raiders. Our guide told us that these lost vestments even had precious gems sewn into them. Wow! Hey, shouldn't they return those to us?
6) Now, this information kinda made my jaw dropped — Miguel Lopez De Legazpi's earthly remains is enshrined inside the church. Legazpi is the first governor of the Philippines, and if I'm not mistaken, he had a blood compact with Datu Sikatuna. I knew he died of a heart attack, but I didn't know that his final resting place is inside San Agustin church.
7) There is an underground passage connecting the church to Fort Santiago. Our guide also tells us that most of the major structures in Intramuros are interconnected underground via these old passages. I took a peek through the bars and it made me feel kinda creepy. It felt like someone was staring back at me from the darkness. Okay, moving on now 😄
8) The 18th C bamboo organ is still working and is being kept in the balcony, the same place where the choir used to sing during mass. The whole area was closed off during the time of our visit, and so I was unable to take a picture of it up-close. If you look at the picture below, you can see the organ at the right side.
9) A couple of 15th C Bibles in Latin with illustrations are being preserved as part of the collection of this museum.
10) One enters and exits the museum via the "Door of Love". The guide pointed out the carved out heart in the middle of the door, which was impressive when you look at it closely. But wait, I just want to clarify though, I wasn't really paying attention here, because I was so busy looking at other stuff, but I do believe the guide called it the "Door of Love". If I'm wrong, pls don't call me a moron, and just kindly correct me on this ❤️❤️❤️ I mean, spread love, right? 😊❤️😊✌🏻
So there, those are the things I've discovered so far in the San Agustin Museum. I'm planning to go back there, because I want to learn about the treasures they have upstairs. My feet were killing me after an hour or so of touring the place. I've been told the whole church, including the seminary inside, measures 2.2 hectares. So wow, I definitely have to go back there again and check everything out. But for now, I think I'll just sit here and massage my aching feet.