A visit to Paco district in Manila is incomplete without a short visit to the famed San Fernando de Dilao Church or popularly known as Paco Church. The church also served as a pro-Cathedral of Manila from February 7, 2012 to April 9, 2014, when Manila Cathedral had undergone retrofitting and some restoration works. This was the second church that was designated as pro-Cathedral after San Miguel of Archangel Church in San Miguel , Manila .
Paco Church during the Filipino-American war destroyed around 1899 ( photo courtesy : Mr. Dennis Maturan )
I have visited this church several times whenever i visit some of our distant relatives , cousin or friend within the vicinity.
Paco Church around late 1930’s during American commonwealth ( photo courtesy : Mr. Dennis Raymond Maturan) notice that there were no clock
Paco is one of the old districts of Manila. I would recall that we would also pass the old neo-classical Paco railway station, Paza Dilao , Philippine -Columbian Association and the Paco market.
San Fernando de Dilao Parish Church post war period around 1960’s with its clock ( Photo courtesy : Mr. Dennis Raymond Maturan )
” Dilao ” or ” Dilaw” is a Tagalog word for yellow , in reference for turmeric or Curcuma longa which used to be found or planted within the area. Paco is also the site of the Japanese settlement in the country when about 3,000 to 3,500 Japanese resided in the district. The settlement also one of the oldest known recorded Japanese town in the world.
entrance to the church
The highest known Daimyo ( Feudal Lord) was Dom Justo Takayama (born Hikogorō Shigetomo) (1552 – 3 or 5 February 1615) was buried within the district.
Most of the original Japanese immigrants have gradually assimilated into the local population, a lot of them have intermarried local people. Some have changed their surname while some have settled in nearby provinces by the mid-17th and early 18th century.
The church inside is notable for its Romanesque-Byzantine interior with recently renovated Italian Baroque styled Altar, most notably the Latin inscriptions.
Historial marker installed in 1936
Historical marker installed in 1999 which marked the 400th anniversary of the parish
dome of the church with latin inscriptions
side altar –right
sacred heart of mary and jesus statue -left side
Saint Ferdinand III
King Ferdinand III – born around 1198/ 1199/1201 – 30 May 1252. Ferdinand was canonized in 1671 by Pope Clement X and, in Spanish, he is known as Fernando el Santo, San Fernando or San Fernando Rey.
Santo Entierro is a life sized sculpture of dead Christ . Parishioner would call the dead Christ as Nuestro Señor Padre de Santo Sepulcro also known as Señor de Paco. The dead Christ was encased in an elaborate carved wooden casket with glass and glass lantern.
The devotion started in the late 19th century. The dead Christ is normally paraded during Good Friday celebration with the district.
When we visited the church , the main altar is fully decorated with white orchids and flowers. There seems to be a wedding ceremony.
Address : 1521 Paz St. , Paco, Manila City
How to Commute:
There are many ways on how to visit San Fernando de Dilao church , Fastest way is to ride LRT line 1 and hop off from Pedro Gil station ( formerly known as Herran Street ) there are jeepneys with Paco , Santa Ana signage and just drop-off at the Paco market or Paco Catholic School.
Paco PNR station – a short walk or one ride ( jeep) from the station will lead to the church