Santa Ana, Manila

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Santa Ana, Manila

Location of Sta. Ana in Manila

City Manila
Population (2007) 178,769[1]
 – Density per km²
Area km²
 – Barangays 99[1]
 – Cong. Districts 6th District

Santa Ana is a district of the City of Manila in the Philippines, located at the southeast banks of the Pasig River, bounded on the northeast by Mandaluyong City, Makati City to the east, southwest is the Manila district of Paco, and to the west, Pandacan.

Santa Ana belongs to the 6th congressional district of Manila with thirty-two barangays from Zone 96 to 100, barangays 874 to 905. Based on the 2000 national census, the National Statistics Office reports that Santa Ana has about 34,694 households, and an approximate 83,306 registered voters based on the national elections of 2004.


The district was originally called Santa Ana de Sapa after its titular patroness Saint Anne, the mother of the Virgin Mary, and the Tagalog word Sapa ("creek" or "stream"), the local name of the main settlement in the area when the Franciscan Catholic missionaries first arrived, which was located beside a rivulet connecting to the Pasig River.[2]



Archaeological excavations of a pre-Hispanic grave site within the Santa Ana Church complex and its vicinities in the 1960s have revealed the antiquity of the district, which dates back to around 900 to 1000 years .[3][4] Chinese ceramics from the Sung and Ming Dynasties have been found associated with the burials, indicating the active participation of the early communities in Santa Ana in the extensive maritime trade around Southeast Asia and China from 12th to 15th century AD, as well as the elaborate mortuary practices of its inhabitants.[4]

Santa Ana was known as the ancient territory of Namayan. According to Felix Huerta, a 19th century Franciscan scholar and missionary, the original inhabitants of Namayan trace their roots to a ruler named Lacantagcan/Lakan Tagkan and his wife Bouan/Buwan ("moon"), who were said to have resided in this village. Other territories that were under the lordships of Lakan Tagkan and Buwan included the Manila districts of Malate, Paco, Pandacan, Quiapo, Sampaloc and San Miguel; the cities of Pasay, San Juan, Mandaluyong and Makati; and the municipality of Taytay in Rizal Province.[2]

Spanish Colonial Period[edit]

The Spaniards established settlements in Santa Ana that served as the seat of Namayan, with the area awarded to the Franciscan missionaries. They were the first to establish a mission beyond the walls of Intramuros, the Spanish colonial seat of power in Manila, in 1578. The church as it stands today was first built in 1720 and is known as the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Abandoned (Nuestra Senora de los Desamparados).[5]

Edmund Roberts visited Santa Ana in 1832, writing about it in his travelogue, Embassy to the Eastern Courts of Cochin-China, Siam, and Muscat.[6]


The Parish of Our Lady of the Abandoned in Santa Ana

The Parish of Our Lady of the Abandoned of Santa Ana ===[edit]

The Church of Santa Ana (Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados de Santa Ana) stands on the site of the first Franciscan mission established outside Manila in 1578. The church was built under the supervision of Fr. Vicente Ingles, OFM. The cornerstone of the present church was laid on September 12, 1720 by Francisco dela Cuesta, then Archbishop of Manila and Acting Governor General of the Philippines.

The church itself is among the List of Cultural Properties of the Philippines. In addition, the church convent's patio museum and the Camarin de la Virgen have been declared as National Cultural Treasures.

Taoist temple[edit]

The Taoist temple of Santa Ana

Across the street behind the Santa Ana church (Lamayan Street) is an old Taoist temple dedicated to Pao Ong Hu, a venerated Chinese historical figure whom people pray for justice, and to the Lady of the Abandoned (Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados), of which the temple referred to as the Mother of Santa Ana. The date of its construction has not yet been determined; however, records indicate its existence as early as the 1920s.[7] According to the oral tradition the temple, particularly the shrine dedicated to the Our Lady of the Abandoned, was built by a Chinese trader who was said to have been healed after making a pilgrimage to the Pozo de la Virgen in front of it.[8] Other local sources relate the construction of the shrine with the miraculous saving of the Chinese by the Mother of Santa Ana from a Sinophobic massacre in the past.[9] The temple is divided into two chapel rooms. The left chapel is dedicated to the Our Lady of the Abandoned while the right chapel is dedicated primarily to Pao Ong Hu. Aside from the Chinese saint, also venerated within the Pao Ong Hu chapel are other Taoist deities and the images of Santo Niño (Child Jesus) and Our Lady of Antipolo (Nuestra Señora de la Paz y Buenviaje).

Iglesia Ni Cristo Museum at Punta[edit]

The religious movement Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) was established in 1914 by Felix Manalo in the community of Punta in Santa Ana. However, the INC did not have its own place worship until 1937, when its first temple was built in the area. Unlike the modern temples of the INC, this structure does not bear a neo-Gothic design but is rather reminiscent of the architecture during the American era.[10]

Owing to the growing number of churchgoers, it was decided in the 1980s that worship services would be made to a bigger temple a few meters away. The old Punta temple was deemed by the INC as a historic property. It was renovated and was eventually converted into a museum.[10]

Ancestral houses in Santa Ana, Manila[edit]

Santa Ana is the only district in Manila which was spared from destruction during World War II. Civilians fleeing other parts of Manila sought refuge in this district during the war. Thus, many ancestral houses are still standing up to the present time. Dubbed as the "Forbes Park of Manila", some houses were owned by prominent personalities and wealthy families.[11]

Lichauco Heritage House[edit]

The Lichauco House

The Lichauco Heritage House is one of the surviving old house structures located along Pedro Gil Street. Built around mid-19th century, its general structure reflects the architectural style of houses common during the Spanish Colonial period.[11][12] In July 10, 2010, by virtue of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (then National Historical Institute) Resolution No. 5, the Lichauco House was declared a Heritage House,[13] the first to receive such distinction in Santa Ana.

Gawat Residential House[edit]

This two-storey villa was constructed in 1923 after Andres Gawat, a police captain, won in a lottery. It is located at 2307 Medel Street. The house is characterized by having a plain exterior, exhibiting walls made of hardwood and the traditional sliding capiz windows with iron grills. Board panels around the house were arranged vertically and horizontally. Repairs have been made to the walls to replace decayed panels. Galvanized iron sheets were utilized as main roof and canopies. Poured concrete was used on the floor on the first storey while hardwood board panels were installed on the floor on the second storey of the house.[14]

Pascual modernist house[edit]

The Pascual House is located in 2138 Dr. M.L. Carreon Street. Like a number of older, prominent houses in the district, this 3-storey structure enjoys the view of the nearby Pasig River which is located on the east, as well as the Estero de Pandacan farther up on the northeast.These riverside houses have verandas and wide opening to frame the river views as well as catch the breeze.[11]

The Pascual House is a modernist style house built in April 1948, using a mixture of reinforced concrete, masonry and wood. A notable feature of the exterior are the three reinforced concrete pylons on the façade of the house. The mirador or watchtower is also a notable feature of the exterior that adorns the corner mass of the whole house. Vertical and horizontal design elements complement the whole massing of the house. On the interiors, notable features are the built-in cabinetry, niches and the cove ceilings. All are in stylized geometric form. Granolithic flooring can still be found on the first three steps of the stairs and main entrance steps. The whole ground floor is covered in “Machuca” tiles. On the second floor, geometric stylized ventilation panels with the initials of the original owner (AV) embellish the wall partitions. Plumbing fixtures are all original from the 1940s.

Originally the house was owned by Mr. Alejandro Velo, the house is occupied by its second owner, Mr. Rodolfo C. Pascual who bought the property in 1984. According to its present owner, the house was sometimes used as a location for some movies during the 1950s and has managed to survive even as many neighboring older structures, mostly vacation houses built in other Architectural styles, eventually decayed through the years and are now being demolished to give way to modern developments.[15]

San Juan Ancestral House[edit]

Detail of Window, San Juan Ancestral House

The San Juan Ancestral House is one of the old structures located along Patino Street. Constructed in 1937, the two-story wood-and-stone house became the home of the San Juan Clan after Pablo San Juan, Sr and his wife got married. The ancestral house is listed in “The Architectural Heritage of Manila Project 1571-1961: Inventory List District of Santa Ana, City of Manila” by the Institute of Philippine Culture of the Ateneo de Manila University in May, 2012. One can hardly notice this old house because of a big Alagao Tree that stands in front of its facade. Generally, most of the components of the house were kept untouched from renovation. However, several portions of the back part of the house were damaged by a fire that occurred in December 23, 2006. These remained unrepaired up to this day.

Nerecina Ancestral House[edit]

Staircase, Nerecina Ancestral House

The Nerecina Ancestral House is located in Old Panaderos Street corner Embarcadero Street. The house is listed in “The Architectural Heritage of Manila Project 1571-1961: Inventory List District of Santa Ana, City of Manila” by the Institute of Philippine Culture of the Ateneo de Manila University in May, 2012. Built in 1930 by Julio G. Nerecina, MD, the house is a mixture of masonry and wood following the typical bahay-na-bato fashion of the American Period houses. Notable features of the exterior are the staircase of adobe stones and its veranda. The house has a plain exterior, showing walls made of masonry and hardwood on its first and second levels respectively and the traditional sliding capiz windows with ventanillas and iron grills.

Cobangbang Ancestral House[edit]

Another prewar structure in the district is the house built by Aurelio Cobangbang on Syquia Street. The two-storey ancestral house was spared from destruction during World War II.

Perez Ancestral House[edit]

The Perez House is a two-storey apartment-type structure, built between 1931-1932 located in Plaza Hugo.[16] It was originally owned by Jaime S. Perez, an en kargador or tax collector during the pre-war. It is within near proximity to the Santa Ana Church (Manila) and Plaza Hugo, the former center of main activity in Santa Ana, Manila. The ground floor was utilized before as a commercial space, exhibiting ecclesiastical sculptures and art. The second floor was utilized as a residential space for owner/s and bed spacers. At present, the ground floor was still used as a commercial space (sari-sari store) while the second floor was converted into one-room bedroom. This utilization of spaces was an example of Adaptive Re-use, least option in Heritage Conservation.

De La Merced - Panis Ancestral House[edit]

De La Merced - Panis House

The De La Merced - Panis House resembles the architectural style of Perez House because of its near proximity to Santa Ana Church (Manila) and Plaza Hugo. It was built during the 1920s. The present owner of the house was a relative of Ernest Panis, one of the members of Santa Ana Heritage Tourism Association (SAHTA).

Just like the Perez House, it served as an apartment-type house. It utilized its ground floor as a commercial space before, and its second floor as a residential space. As compared to Perez House, its original features remained intact such as iron works at the ventanilla, G.I. canopy roofing along each window, accentuated with concave designs, and carvings at the eaves, which also serves as openings for efficient cross-ventilation within the house.

Santaromana Ancestral House[edit]

The Santaromana House was built at around 1920s along the Plaza Hugo. It gained recognition before as a famous bakery within Santa Ana, Manila. At present, the ground floor was still used as a bakery while the second floor was used as a residential space.

Bernardo Ancestral House (Jardin de Isabel at present)[edit]

Bernardo House, now known as Jardin de Isabel

The Bernardo House was originally built in 1928 along Isabel Street. The two-storey house underwent series of restoration works. This could be observed with the replacement of capiz windows into colored glass, re-painting works, and re-assessment of wooden structural members. At present, the house was converted as one of the main amenities of the events place, Jardin de Isabel. Auxiliary facilities were added such as bahay-kubo- inspired club house and covered car park.[17]

Amparo-Santos Ancestral House[edit]

The Amparo-Santos House was built around 1931-1932, along Isabel Street. The original owners of the house were Amparo Lucero, who became Miss Cebu in 1907, and Valentin Santos Sr., who was the first Filipino manager of Manila Electric Company or Meralco. One of the famous personalities related to the Santos family was Jon Santos, a Filipino comedian and total entertainer.

Letter "A" carvings were eminent within the house, specifically at the entrance porch and into the doorways of each bedrooms inside the living room. Circular amulets of St. Benedict could also be noticed at each doors, windows, and eaves of the house. The house was 2nd Transition, Post 1860s, Bahay na Bato, wherein the ground floor was made out of masonry, second floor was made out of wood, and the roofing is in G.I. sheet, with very thick gauge.

Areopagita Ancestral House[edit]

A two-point view of Areopagita Ancestral House

The Areopagita Residence was built by Leopoldo Areopagita during the early 1900s. Built in the typical bahay na bato fashion, the house has survived the war and a fire. It retained its original wooden windows with capiz shells, as well as the wooden carvings in the interiors. Original large wooden planks with wooden pegs remained intact as flooring in the dining room. GI sheets form the roof. The lower exterior of the house is covered with linoleum with brick designs.

Bautista-Rodil Ancestral House[edit]

The Bautista-Rodil Residence front design

Built in 1929, the Bautista-Rodil Residence's original design is reminiscent to a typical Bahay na Bato elevated flooring in which the original owners used to keep their livestock at the silong or the lower portion of the house. However, the house has undergone a drastic change by having a concrete foundation to accommodate the growing Bautista family. Its most prominent owner is Feliciano Bautista, a medical surgeon from Santa Ana who was acclaimed to be one of the first 100 licensed physicians in the country after the Physician Licensure Exam was introduced in the Philippines during the early 1900s. He later practiced his profession in his hometown of Santa Ana during 1926. The Bautista Residence is one of the oldest houses in Santa Ana which survived the war. In the present time, it now stands as a private residence to Feliciano's grandchildren. The house has retained most of its original materials and furniture because of the family's desire to retain its pre-war history. Prior to its renovation, its most striking features are the arch-shaped arcade situated at the facade, its style borrowing heavily from Mission-styled house common during the Commonwealth period. It is also characterized by ornamental eaves of each of the house's window. In its early years, the house is raised on stilts with a hallowed space under it. Two decades later, the house was extended to the right side and the original silong became a habitable part of the house. It is located inside a compound at the Tejeron Street in Santa Ana.

Morales Ancestral House[edit]

The striking appearance of Morales House

This chalet-type two-storey house was built in 1932. Unlike any other houses, the facade has a striking appearance, showing its walls and pediment with geometric designs. A variety of windows can be seen. There is a glass on wood sliding frame window, wood ventanilla w/ metal grills and diagonal metal window grills on the facade with "GM" initials; and capiz on sliding wood frame and metal window grills on the lateral part of the house. Its exterior walls are made of wood panels on the front and horizontal clapboards on the sides. The house is located at 2233 Dela Rosa Street.[16]

Cahayon Ancestral House[edit]

Facade of the Cahayon-Lopez House

The Cahayon – Lopez Ancestral House is an American-era ancestral house built in 1937. Much of the two-storey structure, with its furniture, is still intact save for some windows on the first level that were replaced with jalousie windows.

Leiva-Syquia Ancestral House[edit]

A few steps away from the Cahayon Ancestral House is the Leiva-Syquia Ancestral House built also in the 1930s. The two-level house of the Syquia family, according to oral history, used to house the clinic of Dr. Pio Valenzuela while on his stay at Santa Ana, Manila. The house was occupied by the Agham Theater Company sometime during the late 1990s to early 2000s before moving their headquarters to the University of Makati.

Fernandez Ancestral House[edit]

The Fernandez House, along Revellin street, was built sometime between the 1890s to the 1900s. The two-storey house is undergoing renovations. The house, reminiscent of a typical bahay na bato in the Philippines, has a first level of wood and bricks and a wooden second floor. Other note-worthy features of the house is its original piedra china pavement on its driveway.

Batungbacal Ancestral House[edit]

Facade of the Batungbacal House

Across the Fernandez Ancestral House is the mission-style Batungbacal Ancestral House built in the 1930s.

Other old structures in Santa Ana[edit]

American Eagle Club[edit]

This old building, which stands at the corner of Mabuhay and Tejeron Streets, used to be an entertainment club or restaurant bar that catered to most foreigners after World War II. The exterior wall at the ground is made of adobe and concrete, while the second floor is made of horizontal clapboards. The window has glass on a wooden frame with decorated metal grills. The building was never renovated since then. The ground floor is being used as a garage.



  1. ^ a b Final Results - 2007 Census of Population
  2. ^ a b Huerta, Felix de. 1865. Estado Geográfico, Topográfico, Estadístico, Histórico-Religioso de la Santa y Apostólica Provincia de San Gregorio Magno. Binondo: Imprenta de M. Sanchez y Ca.
  3. ^ Locsin, Leandro V. and Cecilia Y. Locsin. 1967. Oriental Ceramics Discovered in the Philippines. Vermont: Charles E. Tuttle Company. ISBN 0804804478
  4. ^ a b Fox, Robert B. and Avelino M. Legaspi. 1977. Excavations at Santa Ana. Manila: National Museum of the Philippines
  5. ^ Visita Iglesia: 8 Old Manila Churches
  6. ^ Roberts, Edmund (1837). Embassy to the Eastern Courts of Cochin-China, Siam, and Muscat. New York: Harper & Brothers. p. 60. 
  7. ^ Laya, Jaime C. (July 5–18, 2011). "The Virgin’s Well, the Temple to Pao Ong Hu and to the Mother of Sta. Ana". Tulay: Chinese-Filipino Digest. Retrieved 31 March 2014. 
  8. ^ Austria, Jose Alain (2013). "Virgen de los Desamparados/del Pozo: Sacred Space, Syncretism and the Geopolitics of Healing Water". MANILA: Selected Papers of the MSA 21st Annual Conference. 
  9. ^ See, Teresita Ang (July 5–18, 2011). "Culture, Tradition or Religion". Tulay: Chinese-Filipino Digest. Retrieved 31 March 2014. 
  10. ^ a b "Iglesia Ni Cristo Museum (Punta)". VistaPinas. July 27, 2014. 
  11. ^ a b c Francisco, Katerina. "Fighting to preserve heritage in Santa Ana, Manila". Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  12. ^ Gamil, Jaymee T. (December 20, 2010). "Pre-war Sta. Ana home now a heritage house". Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  13. ^ "2010 BOARD RESOLUTIONS". National Historical Commission of the Philippines. February 3, 2014. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  14. ^ "The Architectural Heritage of Manila/Metro Manila Project, 1571-1961". Retrieved 28 September 2014. 
  15. ^ Villalon, Augusto. "Good old Filipino values in Sta. Ana, Manila". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  16. ^ a b "The Architectural Heritage of Manila/Metro Manila Project, 1571-1961". Retrieved 11 October 2014. 
  17. ^ "Home". Jardin de Isabel. 


  • "By Sword and Fire: The Destruction of Manila in World War II, 3 February-3 March 1945" by Alphonso J. Aluit (1994) Bookmark, Inc. © 1994 National Commission for Culture and the Arts ISBN 971-569-162-5

Coordinates: 14°34′48″N 121°00′43″E / 14.580°N 121.012°E / 14.580; 121.012