The choirloft of San Agustin is another notable part of the church that should be seen and visited not only for a closer look of the trompe l’oeil and the organ but, more importantly, a peek of the original colors of the church that was fortunately preserved and the exquisite and very detailed carvings of, circa 17th century silleria or choirstalls and lectern (18th century).
The gran escalera or the main stairway is the access path connecting the ground and second floors and it is one part of the monastery complex that always awes. Maybe it is because of the impressive brick vault atop, said to have special acoustical characteristics, the solid and wide granite slabs and everything in it that gives one a feeling of being transported to some bygone era.
How the original ceiling paintings of the nave of San Agustin is not known, or I haven’t come across a document that details it, yet. Galende and Trota in their book San Agustin Art and History 1571 – 2000 however included a photo (left) of a portion of a corinthian capital in bright greens, yellows, reds and oranges that the authors wrote is reminiscent of baroque Mexico.
The cloister of San Agustin conforms to the design found in Europe as well as the Americas prevalent during the colonial period. The four corridors in the cloister have at each corner ornately carved baroque retablos with reliefs/paintings of saints believed to have been added in the 18th century. Here, processions as well as the friars used to pass and stop for prayers and rituals.
The Chapel of Legazpi was originally dedicated to St. Faustus which was sold in 1594 as the final resting place of Sargento Mayor Juan de Morones and his family. On the other hand, the remains of Legazpi and that of Juan de Salcedo were already interred here. During the British invasion of 1762, the various tombs were despoiled in search of hidden treasure. When the Augustinians returned a year later, they gathered some of the bones scattered in the various chapels and placed it in one common tombstone.