San Agustin’s Chapel of Legazpi

Chapel of Legazpi From a marker placed at the chapel:

Capilla de Legazpi

Here lies a Basque Captain and Mariner, a Spaniard whom destiny made a Conquistador, although his calling was that a man of peace. Spain pays homage to the memory of Legazpi and to the Order of Saint Augustine which in this historic temple has preserved through the centuries the validity of the mission which brought Legazpi and Urdaneta to these Isles.

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.

During World War II in the Battle for Manila, 1945, a bomb tore through the wall of this chapel but was then repaired. In 1965, as part of the celebrations of the Quadricentennial of Christianity in the Philippines (that is 400 years), the chapel was rededicated to Legazpi and the the founders of Manila. The bronze statue of the Adelantado in repose was cast by the Spanish sculptor Juan Manuel Uriarte and donated by the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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Above, the exquisite retablo donated by Governer Cruzat in 1702 used to be in the chapel now dedicated to Legazpi. It can now be found in the antecoro together with the Sacristy frontal. The crucifix at the center of the retablo was brought to the monastery by the Augustinian Fr. Alonso de Mentrida in 1602.

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