The church in San Francisco del Monte was an old settlement that is now a thickly populated district in Quezon City. Known as the Santuario de San Pedro Bautista, it became the mother church of the Franciscan order in the Philippines since the destruction of the San Francisco Church in Intramuros during the 1945 Battle for Manila.
The site was donated in 1590 to the Franciscans by Governor-General Santiago de Vera in the name of King Philip II.
The church’s patron, San Pedro Bautista established the foundation of the church in 1590 when he was elected Cutos or Superior of all the Franciscans in the Philippines. The old convent and church towers above a cliff, surrounded by a creek and with eight water springs.
The first convent and church was made of bamboo and nipa and was dedicated to Our Lady of Montecelli. The chapel was replaced by a wooden structure in 1593, then by adobe in 1599. The last was badly damaged by the Limahong-led uprising of 1639 and completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1645.
In 1699, a church made of stone was built and the convent was restructured. This was dedicated of the newly beatified Blessed Pedro Bautista and his companion martyrs. This church has now become the sanctuary with the Baroque altar still preserved today.
In 1895, the friars abandoned the place and the Revolutionary forces occupied the church.
The chapel was in typical Spanish colonial architecture. A cloister was attached to the nave around a small courtyard with a well at the center.
In the 1960s a decision was made to enlarge the church to accommodate the increasing number of parishioners. As described by Dr. Jaime Laya, one side of the old building was demolished and the new church, some six times the size of the old, was erected perpendicularly. The old church therefore became the sanctuary and transept of the new church.