The Cathedral: Enduring and Standing
Is there any other city in the world whose cathedral has been rebuilt as
many as seven times?The first cathedral was constructed in 1581,
damaged by a typhoon in 1582, and destroyed by fire in 1583. The
second cathedral is rebuilt using stone, 1592, destroyed by earthquake
damage in 1600. The third cathedral is constructed in 1614, destroyed
by earthquake damage in 1645.
The fourth cathedral is constructed
between 1654 and 1671 by Bishop Miguel Poblete. Juan de Uguccioni
built the new fifth version of the cathedral in 1750, achieving a
harmonious construction upon the remains of the old cathedral, which had not the
least symmetry or decoration.
The new cathedral was: admired by all who
contemplate it; they never tire of wondering how in this distant land it has
possible to apply the exact rules of such a stringent architectural form.
(Fray Miguel Lino de Ezpeleta,
The fifth cathedral was heavily damaged by the 1863
earthquake, and plans for the construction of the sixth version were
undertaken between 1870 and 1879, in accordance with the project drawn up by
Serrano Salaverri. This new cathedral was the fruit of eclecticism at
its purest, reproducing the Romanic style which was so in vogue in Europe during
those 19th century years.
Designed to withstand earthquake damage, its
author was to have no inkling of the destructive power that mankind was to hold
in the palm of its hand, and which would be used just seven decades later to
destroy his work. Today, the seventh version of the cathedral still
||The cathedral tower after the 1880 earthquake.
Francisco van Camp. SHM The 1880 earthquake caused considerable damage
in the city of Manila, and particularly to the octagonal, four-section
structure of the cathedral.|
|Preliminary project for the ground plan. 1870.
AHN Drawing made by Luciano Oliver of the works being undertaken on
the cathedral in a preliminary project incorporating two naves with
||Condition of the ground floor of the cathedral in
1863, according to Vicente Serrano Salaverri. 1872. AHN The 1863
earthquake caused serious damage to the old cathedral. Its ground plan
with three naves was designed by Salaverri when he took charge of the
reconstruction works in 1871.|
|Ground plan of the cathedral in 1753. AGI The
cathedral was first built in 1581 of cane and nipa palm, and was destroyed
by fire in 1583.
||Drawing of the oldest picture of the cathedral still
preserved. 1750. AGI Manila cathedral was reconstructed on several
occasions as a result of damage caused by earthquakes, cyclones, fires and
other causes bringing ruin to the
|Preliminary project for the main façade. Vicente
Serrano Salaverri. 1872. AHN The architect proposed for the cathedral
reconstruction works the use of granite for the ashlars and base, volcanic
rock for the foundation bed, cast iron for the framework, and hollow
blocks for the upper section of the façade, the arches and the wall
||Main façade and ground plan. Vicente Serrano
Salaverri in Colección de planos... 1876. BETSICCP, Madrid Salaverri
drew up the project for a building in the neo-Romanic style, with oriental
influence geometric decoration reminiscent of
|Main façade. Vicente Serrano Salaverri. 1872. AHN
This was the condition of the main façade, built in the classical style
with heavy Doric columns, after the 1863 earthquake, according to a
drawing made by Salaverri for the purpose of restoration works.
||General ground plan of the cathedral in the project
drawn up by Vicente Serrano Salaverri. 1872. AHN In this ground plan
the architect extends the choir and changes the shape of the transept arm
extremities from square to
|Timber framework for the reconstruction of the roof
for the preliminary project drawn up by Vicente Serrano Salaverri. 1872.
AHN Rising from the cathedral roofing is an octagonal dome with groups
of three large windows on each of its sides; it is topped with red copper
laid in fluted laminas.
||Cross-section. Vicente Serrano Salaverri. 1872.
BETSICCP, Madrid Project for the roof over the naves, with twin round
arch canted groined vaulting supported on groups of four columns and twin
|Longitudinal section. Vicente Serrano Salaverri.
1872. BETSICCP, Madrid An endeavour was made to maintain the same
style on the interior of the naves as on the exterior with a profusion of
gilt and distemper murals by the Italian artist Giovane Dibella.
||Main façade. Signed by Francisco de Castro Ponte,
chief engineer. 1894. AHN Project for the construction of two twin
towers for Manila Cathedral.|
|Ground plan of the cathedral. Signed by Manuel
Ramírez Bazán, the inspector general, in 1882. AHN After Salaverri,
the work was continued by the engineer Eduardo López Navarro, and after
this by Manuel Ramírez Bazán, who presented another solution with a
project in which the tower was free-standing.
||Main façade with the modifications incorporated
during its reconstruction. Eduardo López Navarro. 1877. AHN Plan
showing the change made to the second section of the façade and to the
type of roofing, which are reminiscent of those used in iron
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2004 Robert S. Gardner