by Joel V. Ocampo
Photos from Fr. Jun Sescon
Last July 6, 2021, His Eminence, Jose F. Cardinal Advincula, Jr. D.D., the new Archbishop of Manila had his first visit to Villa San Miguel, his second home. In his Facebook post, Fr. Rufino “Jun” C. Sescon, Jr., Administrator of Villa San Miguel said, “Welcome!!! Cardinal Joe at Villa San Miguel, his second home…” In the Facebook post, Cardinal Advincula was seen kneeling in deep prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament, the image of Sto. Niño, and the crucified Christ. Truly he is a shepherd that listens to the Chief Shepherd.
Villa San Miguel, also called “Archbishop’s House”, located at Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong City is the other residence of the Archbishop of Manila. Inside the house, portraits of the previous and present Archbishops of Manila were displayed, as well as the coat of arms of Cardinal Advincula. Though it is sometimes called “palace,” the main house in Villa San Miguel is very simple. Cardinal Advincula will still reside at the Residencia del Arzobispo (Arzobispado de Manila) in Intramuros but will occasionally stay at Villa San Miguel.
Back during the World War II (1942-1945), when Most. Rev. Michael J. O‘Doherty was the Archbishop of Manila, the Archbishop’s Palace in Intramuros, Manila was heavily damaged because of bombings and strafing. Thus, the Arzobispado was transferred to Tayuman Street (now Manila Cathedral School), then to the parish compound of San Miguel, Manila.
To address the need for a new residence for the Archbishop of Manila, the then Vicar General, Msgr. Rufino J. Santos bought Villa Grimault in Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong. The villa was renamed Villa San Miguel in honor of Saint Michael the Archangel, the Archbishop’s Patron Saint.
Archbishop Gabriel Reyes, the first Filipino Archbishop of Manila also stayed in Villa San Miguel. In 1960, a major renovation was made because the old house made from wood was infested by termites. Only the chapel was left of the original structure. This chapel now houses a precious silver altar retablo which dates back to 1766-1787, during the time of the Spanish Archbishop of Manila Basilio Sancho y Santa Justa y Rufina. The present house was designed by Architect Jose Ma Zaragoza.
Rufino J. Cardinal Santos, the first Filipino Cardinal permanently transferred the Archbishop’s residence from Intramuros to Mandaluyong. Further improvements were done by Jaime L. Cardinal Sin who live in this place from 1974 to 2005 (31 years).
Villa San Miguel has welcomed two Supreme Pontiffs: Pope Paul VI in 1971 and Pope John Paul II in 1981. Villa San Miguel has also witnessed the prelude and preparations to many historic church and national events like EDSA 1 and 2, World Youth Day 1995, the great Jubilee 2000, and World Meeting of Families in 2003.
Under St. Michael’s Wings
According to Church’s tradition, from the time of the apostles, Saint Michael has been invoked and honored as the protector of the Church. Cardinal Advincula’s stay from time to time in Villa San Miguel also places him under the protection of St. Michael; in addition to the maternal protection of our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, and the paternal protection of St. Joseph.