Sta. Cruz Church
The first Santa Cruz Church was erected in 1608 by the Society of Jesus, better known as Jesuits, as a parish church for the swelling ranks of Chinese immigrants to Manila, many of whom had converted to the Catholic faith. The original structure was twice damaged by earthquakes, and totally destroyed in World War II. The present building, completed in 1957, is essentially Baroque and somewhat reminiscent of the Spanish-built mission churches in southern California. Shortly before the expulsion of the Jesuit in the Philippines, a replica of the venerated image of the Nuestra Señora del Pillar was brought over to Sta. Cruz Church from Zaragoza, Spain. In the middle of the 19th century, the Our Lady of the Pillars was declared patroness of Sta. Cruz district, replacing San Entanislao Kostka. For next centuries up the present, she was the object of veneration among devotees of the Blessed Virgin.