The Moveable Fiesta of San Miguel Archangel de Manila and the Village in Extramuros Dedicated to the Heavenly Soldier



I was born on a Sunday and according to tradition, San Miguel Archangel was the archangel assigned to watch over those who were born on the first day of the week. Following that tradition of naming children after angels and saints using the Catholic calendar as guide, my parents included Miguel to my lengthy four-word first name. 




Although, the Catholic calendar has dedicated September 29 to be feast day of celebrity angels namely; Gabriel, Raphael and Miguel, the warrior Señor San Miguel is highly venerated in Iligan City through a traditional dramatization of his triumphal battle over Lucifer called the San Miguel Comedia 


In Manila, the Prince of the Heavenly Hosts has become the patron of the Malacañang neighborhood. Its fiesta however is recognized on 29th of September although the celebration is moved on the next Sunday after the traditional feast day. Like in all fiestas in the country, novena mass is celebrated and sacraments of baptism and confirmation is also given to San Miguel parishioners.  The highlight of the moveable fiesta in Manila is the procession led by the Seven Archangels and the Virgin Mary.  



The original San Miguel District in Manila is one of six Villages of Extramuros or a series of settlements on the banks of the moat that surrounded the walls of Intramuros. The village of San Miguel used to stand on what is known today as the San Marcelino area. The original parish of San Miguel was established as a Jesuit mission to bring the growing Japanese community together in Manila. Nick Joaquin explained that since many of the refugees were samurai warriors fleeing from the prosecution of the Tokugawa Shogunate, the Jesuits hit on an idea of proclaiming the heavenly soldier Michael the Archangel as the patron of the Japanese community to attract the knights among the migrants.  



After winning a battle against the Moros during an expedition in Mindanao in 1631, Governor-General Sebastian Hurtado de Concuera fulfilled his vow of building a chapel in honor of San Miguel de Archangel. The provisional chapel of nipa and bamboo in Extramuros was replaced by Corcuera with a structure of hardier material.


After the British Invasion, Spanish authorities have decided to clear away all six villages including their respective churches. Of the six original settlements, San Miguel is one of the two that remain to this day. The new village of San Miguel was transferred across the Pasig River were the Malacañang neighborhood stands today. 


Related link: An Afternoon Stroll at San Miguel

Reference: Nick Joaquin’s San Miguel de Manila



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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. i really love this church actually its not too far from my house and beside this san miguel church is a school were i started from kinder – grade 4 this place brings back so much child hood memories and this were my parents also got married….

  2. Hi,
    Thanks for these article. I like this. I think that the devotion to st. Michael will be risen.
    By the way, I like to meet you on the church office I want to talk to you.thanks again ^^

  3. Hi,

  4. Hi! I really liked this article, because I have a special devotion to San Miguel Arcangel. No, my name isn’t any variation of Miguel, LOL! Keep writing, please, and thanks. 🙂

  5. thanks bernadette. Send my regards to your husband.

  6. My husband is German and tomorrow (Sept 29) is his namentag (or name’s day) as he is named after Archangel Michael. The name’s day seems to be something like the birthday too so German people greet each other during their name’s day. So, Advance Happy Name’s Day too, Traveller!

  7. Thank for adding me to your blogroll estan.

    I would suggest you visit San Miguel Pro-Cathedral during their fiesta this coming October 5.

  8. by the way, I’ve added you in my blog links

  9. if my parents followed the naming tradition, i might have been Escolastico? Hehehe…

    San Miguel is indeed Iligan’s patron saint and I’m still yearning to see their festival honoring the archangel. In Manila, it’s still one of the places that I still have to discover. Probably one of these days.

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