Archives of the Archdiocese of Manila

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(From the archive's website:) "The Archdiocesan Archives of Manila is the repository of our Catholic history. Its documents and holdings provide us with information about the Church’s colorful past. However, at some point in our history, it suffered the tragedy of neglect. Fortunately, and just in the nick of time, some persons with the vision and know how for the preservation of the past, have combined resources and directed efforts to arrest the ravages of neglect, conserve and organize the bulk of what remained of the collection for the benefit of today’s researchers."

Brief History

History of the Church in the Philippines is tied up with the history of the Spanish colonial period since religion was at the very core of the colonial lifestyle.

Record collection of the Church provides historical materials for writing. Record keeping was part/parcel of the colonial lifestyle of early missionaries

Archiving antedated the organization of the Diocese of Manila in 1579 as seen in the Manila’s earliest chuch record kept at AAM dating back to 1573. The Pope elevated Manila into an Archdiocese in 1595

Ecclesiastical organization remained unchanged throughout the Spanish colonial period but the gaps in the church records may be attributed to the losses during the 20th century transfers from the Arzobispado in Intramuros

to the University of Sto Tomas in España St. in Manila before the war to the Archbishop’s Villa in Mandaluyong after the war

to the San Carlos Major Seminary in Makati in 1969 and to the original home in Intramuros, in the reconstructed Arzobispado de Manila in 1987.





121 Arzobispo St., Intramuros, Manila



527-7631 to 36 loc. 222; 527-5838



Schedule & hours

The Archdiocesan Archives of Manila is open for research only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 8:30am to 11:30am and 1:30pm to 4:30pm. Once your application is approved, please arrange a schedule for research with the AAM staff in-charge. Submit the subject or topics of research to the AAM staff in-charge, who alone is authorized to have access to the Stack Room and bring out the documents to the Search Room.

Working language(s)

Spanish, Tagalog, English

Directions to the archive


Archival Collection

The Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines was juridically established in 1579 with the organization of the Diocese of Manila as a suffragan to the Archdiocese of Mexico. In 1595, Manila was elevated into an archdiocese, consisting of three suffragan dioceses, namely: Nueva Segovia in the Ilocos, Nueva Caceres in Southern Luzon and Cebu. Later in 1865, the Diocese of Jaro was also erected.

Most of the Archival Holdings at AAM are Spanish manuscripts. Although the Spaniards were very good at record keeping, the gaps in our Archival Holdings may be attributed to the losses during the 20th century transfers and the destruction of documents due to poor storage conditions.

In 1976, Sr. Ma. Rita Ferraris, RVM prepared a Summary inventory of the Archival Holdings. This classification is based on provenance and the functions of the Archdiocesan Office.

Arranged into 4 main record groups totaling some 600 cu. ft.

General Administration consisting of records pertaining directly to the functions of the Archbishop of Manila and of the administration of the archdiocese with 7 series

Archbishop’s Council and auxiliaries, other ecclesiastical units, office of the economus and the financial aspects of the administration consisting of 6 series

Personnel consisting of series on diocesan clergy and another on religious clergy

Asuntos Generales as a miscellany to cover varied items outside the 3 main record groups

Valuable collection includes the following:

Cedularios (from 1573) which are orders from Spanish monarchs

Obras Pias (from 1615) which is money dedicated to pious works

Capellanas which are donations by families to the church for their intentions

Anales Ecclesiasticos de Filipinas (1681) which deals with the history of the Church in the Philippines, specifically on the life, powers and activities of the metropolitan archbishops of Manila and the suffragan bishops of the colony

The Archival Holdings are arranged into four main Record Groups. Each Record Group is divided into several Series. Under each Series is a group of Sub-series. Under each Sub-Series are Folder File units, and under each Folder File are the archival documents.

The documents are carefully placed in folders, which in turn are stored in non-acidic archival boxes. The boxes are housed on metal shelves at the AAM Stack Room that provides an environment with controlled temperature, humidity and lighting. The total AAM collection is about 700 cu. ft.

The four main Record Groups and Series are as follows:

General Administration (RG.I) – divided into 8 Series (i.e., S.01 to S.08) Sacraments (RG.II) - divided into 6 Series (i.e., S.01 to S.06) Personnel (RG.III) - divided into 2 Series (i.e., S.01 to S.02) Asuntos Generales (RG.IV) - divided into 3 Series (i.e., S.01 to S.03)

Research procedures

To facilitate research, Finding Aids are readily available the Archives. A researcher, who wishes to consult any available Finding Aid may simply request an AAM staff for assistance.

Some of the more important and commonly used Finding Aids are as follows:

Archives of the Archdiocese of Manila: A Summary Inventory by Sr. Maria Rita Ferraris, RVM. Manila. AAM, 1981

Archdiocesan Archives of Manila: A Catalogue of Archival Documents, Testimonies and Holdings by Rev. Fr. Ruperto Santos. Manila. RCAM, 1994.

Anales Ecclesiasticos de Philipinas (1574 – 1862) : Ecclesiastical Annals of the Philippines. Edited by Rev. Fr. Ruperto Santos and translated to English by Professor Andres Pelingo. 2 Volumes.

AAM Indices

Title Index (Abjurations – Youth Issue) Date Index (1573 – 1926) Name Index (Abad – Yusi) Place Index (Abucay – Vigan) Subject Index for AAM prepared by Paolo Colabres in 1999. This is available in *.PDF format and is downloadable from this site.

Title Index based on box titles or Record Group – Series prepared for AAM by Sr. Ma. Rita Ferraris, RVM. AAM Microfilm catalogue in 3 volumes.

Vol. 1 – Non-genealogical Records (1573 – 1959) Vol. 2 – Genealogical Records (Archives: 1615 – 1955) Vol. 3 – Genealogical Records


Who May be Admitted to the Archives

Researchers from institutions of higher education and those pursuing scholarly research may be admitted into the Archives. Graduate and Postgraduate students, who are currently enrolled. University students are not admitted except those researching for their thesis. A letter of recommendation from proper university officials is required from them.

Permitted and prohibited items

(if possible, account for laptop computers, cameras, scanners, phones, pens and pencils, loose papers, and so on)

  • Permitted:
  • Prohibited:

Document ordering and delivery

(how do you request documents? how many can you order at a time? how are documents delivered?)

Photocopying, photography, microfilming

(what are costs, permits, and page limits? how long do you have to wait?)

Key individuals

Fr. Albert Flores, Director


(details on food, coffee, lockers, washrooms, transportation, internet access, and the like)

See also

(links to relevant websites and resources)

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