Santa Ana

Just outside the northwest limits of Makati, at the east end of Herran Street, in a bend of the river Pasig near Lambigan Bridge is the church of Santa Ana.

The church, founded in 1578 by Franciscans, was the first to be built outside the walls of Manila. Rebuilt in the 1720s after its destruction in an earthquake, the church had to be restored again after the battle for Manila in 1945. The facade has two tiers of pilasters and a four-storey hexagonal tower on the right-hand side; the interior, with lateral aisles, has a beautiful retablo and a wooden ceiling.

The adjoining convent housed monks who were old or frail. Excavations carried out in the gardens since 1960 have brought to light 200 burials dating from the l3th-l5th century and some from the 12th. There is a small museum containing numerous items of pottery.

Although Manila no longer appeals to the visitor with its old-world charm, it offers instead the no less powerful attractions of its gaiety, its pulsating life and its wide range of entertainments the lively and cheerful activity of the streets, the youthfulness of the crowds, the beauty of the women, the riot of colour and decoration on the jeepneys, the picturesquely ornamented minibuses which are truly a symbol of the city’s good-humoured attitude to life. Manila’s celebrated night life has revived, and the evenings are enlivened by the music of innumerable combos (orchestras).

The Filipinos are passionately keen on all kinds of sports and entertainments. Modern, classical and folk dances are all equally popular, and the Bayanihan troupe has given performances all over the world. Other very popular activities are the officially organised beauty contests, gambling in the floating Casino and the game of jai-alai, the Filipino version of the Basque pelota.

Visitors to Manila who manage to get away from the usual tourist circuit, make contact with the local people and enjoy their passion for fiestas and their generous hospitality may be sure that time will not hang heavy on their hands.

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