The Church of Sta. Cruz and the British Surrender of Manila to Governor Simon de Anda



Sta. Cruz Church in Manila is surrounded by three open spaces; in front is Plaza Santa Cruz where the Carriedo Fountain is reinstalled; Plaza Goiti, now known as Plaza Lacson at the rear and a wide street on the right leading to Santa Cruz Bridge.  



Escolta –the main business street during the turn-of-the-century Manila leads to this open space from across the bridge. It was also in this surrounding plaza that the British returned the city of Manila to Gobernador Simon de Anda y Salazar after 20 months of British Occupation.



Church of Sta. Cruz


The area surrounding the present of Sta. Cruz began as a Jesuit mission under Rector Antonio Sedeño, the person responsible in the fortification of Intramuros using blocks of adobe. Named after the Holy Cross, the church was built and administered by the Jesuits up to 1768. 



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.  



Tradition holds that when St. James the Apostle went to evangelize Spain, he had little success. One night on the banks of the River Ebro, the Blessed Mother appeared to him atop a pillar of jasper stone and promised him that his mission would be fruitful as he had a church erected in her honor on the site. Departing, the Blessed Mother left the pillar of jasper on which the original image still stands today in Spain. 



However, it was only in the middle of the 19th century that 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.



British Surrender of Manila to Governor Simon de Anda


When England declared war on Spain in January 1762, the British invasion of Manila took place eight months later. On September 24 a squadron of thirteen British ships and 6,830 men entered Manila Bay towards the beach of Malate. The acting governor of Manila, Archbishop Manuel Rojo, received news of the war but did nothing to strengthen the Spanish army. By October 5, the British had created a breached in Intramuros’ wall. They occupied the Palacio del Gobernador and Rojo hoisted a white flag over the deserted Fort Santiago. 



Don Simon de Anda, a member of the Real Audencia slipped out of Manila  and organized a provincial government in Bacolor, Pampanga. With the help of natives, he confined the British to the area around Manila.


With the signing of the Treaty of Paris on February 10, 1763, the Seven Year’s War in Europe ended. The Philippines and Cuba, under the provisions of the treaty were retuned to Spain. Only upon the death of Rojo that a new governor, Francisco de la Torre, arrived from Mexico that Anda turned over the governorship. It is said that in recognition of Anda’s valor who despite being outnumbered and outgunned and despite his age (he was in his 60’s) had refused to recognized British sovereignty and led a resistance against them, Governor dela Torre discreetly claimed illness in order that the Manila would be turned over to Simon de Anda by the British.  



On the evening of April 1, 1764 at the ground surrounding Sta. Cruz Church, British commander Blackhouse, surrendered over the keys of Manila to Governor Anda. A century later, the colonial government recognized Anda’s heroic stand and honored him with a monument on that stood at Malecon del Sur (Anda Monument not erected at Bonifacio Drive at the end of Aduana Street) and a marble plaque installed on the wall of Santa Cruz Church facing Escolta.




Related link:

Day of Downtown


 Information sources:

100 Events that Shaped the Philippines

Santa Cruz Church, A Living Heritage


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17 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Majority of the Spanish people in Cuba and the Philippines are of Basque ancestry. Columbus and Magellan’s sailors were mostly Basque who were considered the best men of seas during their time.
    I salute Don Anda for his bravery and loyalty to the Spanish Crown and for saving the Philippines from yet another colonial rule. Salud!

  2. This is a great Blog! And also, I am so glad that Simon de Anda is being recognized for the brave hero that he was. Can we consider him a Filipino hero? After all, he was fighting an invader.
    Congratulations, Traveler

  3. […] The Church of Santa Cruz and the British Surrender of Manila to Governor Simon de Anda, Traveler on Foot […]

  4. I am planning alSO to vist sta cruz parish but don’t know how to get there from quiapo to sta cruz? thanks.:)

    • You can walk from Quiapo Church via CARRIEDO STREET going to Sta. Cruz. As you reach Rizal Avenue at the end of Carriedo you’ll arrive at Plaza Lacson (landmarks would be the Roman Santos Building and Lanson Monument. Go straight and then turn right and you should see Escolta Street to you left and Sta. Cruz Church to your right.

  5. Nice post. It is indeed an informative one. Thanks for sharing this one.

  6. I really am learning a lot from your page.

    • Thank you Ivan Cultura.

  7. uhm…tanx for dis info…it helps me a lot in my report/research project…in Phil.History…

  8. it was kapamgpangan and zambal archers and infantry funded by
    chinese money that repelled the Brits
    the sepoys ( indian soldiers under the Brits )
    mutineed against the Brits and joined up with
    Spanish Filipino Forces and
    settled in cainta rizal ( a lot of the people in
    cainta are tall dark with high noses !! )

  9. The Parish Pastoral Council of Sta. Cruz Parish Manila would like to thank you for posting a blog about our parish in your site.

    Thank you very much.

    God Bless

    Imelda ‘Enda’ C. Baria
    Parish Information Officer
    Parish Pastoral Council
    Sta. Cruz Parish
    Sta. Cruz, Manila

    • Hi Imelda,

      I am planning to visit Sta. Cruz Manila Parish Church but don’t know how to get there. I am from Calamba Laguna.
      Can you help me on this? If I will ride on a bus from Calamba, what will I tell to the bus driver and what is the landmark?

      • hmm. This is the best I can think off Roda: I know that there are buses in Calamba that can take you to Araneta Center in Cubao. From Cubao, take the Purple Line LRT at the Araneta Center Station (you can pass inside Gateway Mall to the LRT Station) to Recto Station. From Recto, walk across Rizal Ave. (Avenida Rizal) then take a jeep. Ask the driver to drop you at Santa Cruz Church.

        Hope that helps.

  10. we share the same interest Pandabear. I think Manila has numerous of stories to share than any other city in country. Let’s keep blogging about Manila, particularly those that are unnotice yet it’s part of our heritage. Thank you.

  11. I agree with you Arnold. Don Simon de Anda was loyal in his duties as protector of the colony during his time.

    The battle under his command in Pampanga was said to be the finest moment of the Tagalogs. In fact, a British general was awed with the gallantry showed by the defenders in battle.

    Thanks for sharing.

  12. Nice! I also a avid fan of manila and I blog manila about our old city. Nice pictures and good research! kudos!

  13. I consider de Anda as the greatest Governor General of the Spanish Philippines, a Basque with an iron will and fearless disposition.

    What he did then was a display of loyalty and great leadership. he understood that he must fight and defend the country to keep it. Unfortunately much of what can be studied of him is in Newberry, Il. in the US.

    The British – was defeated in their advances towards Pampanga, they however did not surrender. The event that took place in Sta Cruz Manila was a ceremonlal hand over, later on the Govt of Spain recognized de Anda as the official Governor General.

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