The Iglesia de Sto. Domingo of Pre-War Intramuros, Manila, was a cultural and architectural gem that bespoke grandiosity, rigid religiosity and European taste in an archipelago in Southeast Asia. Designed by the highly-esteemed Don Felix Roxas, the Church of Santo Domingo was constructed in the Neo-Gothic fashion and was a site that really caught the attention of both locals and foreigners. It was said to be a cavernous church, complete with high-arched Gothic windows and columns that spiral their way up to the high ribbed ceiling of the church. According to the famous Quijano de Manila, Nick Joaquin, who was also a devotee of the Dominicans and la Nuestra Senora del Santissimo Rosario – La Naval de Manila, the church had the biggest crystal chandeliers among all of Intramuros churches (the crystal chandeliers of San Agustin can attest to the beauty of such chandeliers) and on solemn feasts, would have its main altar adorned with roughly 1,600 candles. It was a church that caught all the senses and sent shivers down countless spines.
Sadly, at the outbreak of World War II, Sto. Domingo would be the first casualty of Intramuros, being directly hit by a Japanese bomber. Good thing though, the 400 year old image of La Naval was kept then in a safe and was spared the atrocities of men.