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As a continuation of the churches I visited during the observance of the Holy Week in the Philippines, San Agustin Church in Manila is the oldest stone church in the Philippines. Located inside the historic walled city of Intramuros in Manila and very near the Manila Cathedral.
It is one of the churches constructed during the Spanish colonial era and was designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site with three other under the title Baroque Churches of the Philippines. It is a Roman Catholic church and is run by the Order of St. Augustine.
It is also one of popular wedding churches in Manila, and I even attended one wedding of a close friend at this Church. I even was asking my other friend who was with me why our friend chose this church instead of the Manila Cathedral which is where most celebrities had their weddings and which is in the same vicinity. Though when I entered the church and saw the intricate designs, I understood why my friend and his bride chose this particular church.
For a church built in 1586 and completed in 1606, I am amazed that it is still standing, surviving the bombings of World War II and natural calamities like earthquakes. I think you can credit that to the design of the church, taking into account that Manila has frequent earthquakes.
Adjacent to the church is the monastery that was converted in 1973 to house religious artifacts and art treasures dating as far back as early 16th century. I plan on going back there one day and see these for myself. Hopefully they allow taking photos.
It was quite difficult to get a decent shot while I was there as the church was filled with people praying and also taking photos of the church as well using their cellphones, tablets, point-and-shoot and DSLRs.
Besides landscape photography, I like doing child photography because of the challenges that it gives me as a photographer. Unlike doing fashion photo shoots or even sexy photo shoots, a child will not hold a pose for the photographer or will have a pose ready to shoot. Instead it is the job of the photographer to have a keen eye, an accommodating outlook and a quick trigger finger to capture that shot, that perfect moment.
Just like the scene of the photo below, it might look staged but it was not as I have to follow the movement of these two and let them do what they would normally do to get this shot. Kids will be playful and they will have their tantrums and sometimes get sleepy during a photo shoot so as a photographer I have learned to be patient. So I parent would ask me how long will a photo shoot take and my reply would be I normally don’t set a time or how many hours a photo shoot will last as these factors are dependent on the child.
Another thing that I had learned with child photography is that the best time to have a photo shoot with a child is right after they awoke from sleep. Though this is easier when the shoot will be indoors but when it is done outdoors which I prefer, more planning on the part of the photographer is required as more factors are to be considered. A child will get easily irritated when it is already hot and as a photographer I don’t like doing a shoot when the sun is at its peak or almost at its peak as this gives a too harsh of a light and also produces very dark shadows on the subject.
Now after all that you might ask why I still like doing child photography and my answer would be the fulfillment of getting these kinds of shots. Shots that would capture these moments, moments that will not be repeated again. The satisfaction that I see on the parents faces when I deliver the photos to them is another bonus that I get when doing child photography. Knowing that they will have something to look back to when their kids are all grown up and has lives of their own is also one of the factors that drives me to get the best shots as possible.
The newly-renovated Manila Cathedral was opened to the public just in time for the observance by the Filipino Catholics of the Holy Week. It was worth the long wait.
It was difficult to get a decent shot of the cathedral as a lot of people are always in the shot, besides getting bumped while focusing. Since my usual practice is to compose the shot before hitting the button, just like a film photographer, it took me some time to get these shots. Though from the shots that I got, it was all worth it.
So if ever you are in Metro Manila or visiting the Philippines, don’t forget to visit this church. It is in Intramuros, Manila and if you are a tourist and this place is not in your itinerary, ask your tour guide to add this place as part of your tour. Besides it is very near Fort Santiago also in Intramuros, Manila which is a regular on any tour.
Photos taken with a Canon EOS 600D and Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5USM lens.