During the Spanish period, towns in the Philippines were planned in the manner decreed by Philip II of Spain. At the town’s centre were located important cultural and administration institutions such as the church, the convent, the plaza and the town’s municipal hall or tribunal. Many of the Spanish period towns either evolved into modern day cities and towns, or died and were then reclaimed by the dense Philippine jungles.

East wall of the old church of San Juan. Credit: Archie Tesoro

Although voluminous historical information about these ancient towns exists, there is a lack of archaeological data. To address this, Dr Grace Barretto-Tesoro and her team from the University of the Philippines Diliman’s Archaeological Studies Program have been studying ruins discovered in the town of San Juan, located in the province of Batangas.

Dr. Tesoro aims to study the church ruins and identify cultural artefacts related to Philippine life during the Spanish period. The project also hopes to find clues that could help explain the abandonment and eventual transfer of the town to its current location.


For further information contact:

Dr. Grace Barretto-Tesoro
Archaeological Studies Program
University of the Philippines Diliman
e-mail: mdbarretto@up.edu.ph