district of Manila, Philippines
Asia > Southeast Asia > Philippines > Luzon > Metro Manila > Manila > Manila/Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is a district in the northern part of the City of Manila on the right bank of the Pasig River near its mouth, bordered by the districts of Tondo, Binondo, Quiapo, and Sampaloc, and Grace Park (Caloocan City) and La Loma (Quezon City).



Prior to the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors to the Philippine Islands, the district of Santa Cruz was partly a marshland, patches of greeneries, orchards and partly rice fields. A Spanish expedition in 1581 claimed the territory and awarded to the Society of Jesus whose members are known as 'Jesuits'.

The Jesuits built the first Roman Catholic church in the area where the present Santa Cruz Parish stands in 1619. The Jesuits enshrined the image of the Our Lady of The Pillar in 1643 to serve the pre-dominantly Chinese residents in the area. The image drew a lot of devotees and a popular cult grew around it.

During World War II, the Japanese occupational forces, caught unaware of the fast approaching liberation in 1945 by the combined American & Filipino soldiers from the north, abandoned the northern banks of the Pasig River including Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz and much of the northern portions of Manila were spared from the artillery bombardment and many pre-World War II buildings and houses still stand in Santa Cruz.

Get inEdit

Map of Manila/Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is connected to both LRT lines 1 and 2 and the PNR. Fare: ₱12-15.

Jeepneys ply Rizal ("Abenida"), Recto and Abad Santos avenues, and routes link the district with the rest of the city as well as Pasay, Parañaque, and Caloocan.


  • 1 Manila Chinese Cemetery. The second oldest cemetery in Manila after La Loma Cemetery and was designated as the resting place for the Chinese citizens who were denied burial in Catholic cemeteries during the Spanish colonial period.    
  • 2 Manila North Cemetery, Blumentritt Road. Manila's largest cemetery. Notable people buried includes Philippine presidents Sergio Osmeña, Manuel Roxas, and Ramon Magsaysay, and actor Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ). Other landmarks inside is the Mausoleum of the Veterans of the Revolution, dedicated to Filipino revolutionaries who were killed during the Philippine Revolution and the Philippine-American war, and the Bautista-Nakpil pylon, an Art Deco grave marker designed by the architect Juan Nakpil    
  • 3 Santa Cruz Church, Bustos Street (Around Plaza Santa Cruz). One of the well known landmarks of Santa Cruz district, named after the Holy Cross, the church was built and administered by the Jesuits up to 1768.    



  • 1 SM City San Lazaro, Lacson Avenue (Nearby train stations: LRT-1 Tayuman and Blumentritt, and PNR Blumentritt. Jeepney route: PITX/Baclaran-Blumentritt). 10AM-9PM daily. Redeveloped from the San Lazaro Racecourse which has moved to Cavite, it is the only large mall in the district, with more than 300 shops, boutiques and outlets. Has a food court, 6 cinemas, and a department store.     -
  • Blumentritt street market. Just below the LRT. this street is full of small stalls selling all kinds of cheap products. Some products include: shoes, baking materials, beauty products and clothing. Although patrolled by police, it is still full of pickpockets.


  • SM San Lazaro Mall - Has a lot restaurants and fast-food chains to choose from. Some include: Yellow Cab Pizza, Sbarro Pizza, Jollibee, McDonald's, KFC, Karate Kid, and Congo Grille.
  • Laguna St. - There are small 'carienderia' (local canteens) located in this are that sells locally cooked foods. Although these are clean, please take extra pre-caution as these foods are home-cooked foods and not closely monitored by any government agency.
  • Blumentritt Street Market - Also sells street food. Please choose the food which you think is clean. Unlike other countries in Asia, street food in the Philippines is not closely monitored by any government agency.
  • Goldilocks, Rizal Avenue - Sells different kinds of cakes and Filipino delicacies.
  • Jollibee, Blumentritt - Philippines' number one fast food chain, famous for its fried chicken.
  • Chowking, Blumentritt - Philippine fast food that sells Chinese foods like dimsum and noodles.
  • Mang Boks Manok (Chicken), Blumentritt - As the name implies, this stall is famous for its Lechong Manok (Filipino Style roasted chicken). Whole chicken costs around ₱200.
  • 7th Eleven Convenience Store, Blumentritt - If you are up to a quick snack, 7th Eleven sells hotdog buns and some other instant rice meals/ noodles.



  • Fersal Hotel, 1455 A. Mendoza Street, corner Alvarez Street, , Sta. Cruz, Manila, +632 912-2691, fax: +632 912-2693, . A 4 storey 3-star hotel with 48 rooms. Air conditioning, non smoking rooms, satellite/cable TV. Rates start at ₱1300.
  • The Red Carabao Hostel, 2819 Felix Huertas Street (From any point in Manila, simply head to the Line 1 Abad Santos Station), +632 740-3211. Opened in July 2009 as a social venture, one of Manila's newest hostels is located next to the historic Chinese Cemetery. the Red Carabao offers a free-use kitchen, free internet access, 24-hour check-in, and squeaky clean, modern facilities. In addition to the proceeds donated to local charities, the hostel organizes dinners with locals. Rates start at ₱370 for air-conditioned mixed dorms and ₱800 for private.
  • Sring Hotel, 880 Rizal avenue (next to Line 1 Doroteo Jose station). Big air-conditioned double rooms with own bathrooms and cable TV. 8PM till 6AM=₱395 2nd night and on ₱795. first night ₱880.
  • Novela Lodge, C M recto (2nd floor.). Air-conditioned double rooms with own bathrooms. ₱550.

Go nextEdit

  • Alabang - 40 minutes away from Blumentritt via PNR. Fare costs around ₱20.
  • Quezon City - 20 minutes away from Blumentritt via Line 1. Hop down at Roosevelt Station. Fare costs around ₱15. 30 minutes away from Blumentritt via jeepney. From Rizal Avenue, take a jeepney bound for "Munoz Frisco" and ask driver to drop you off at Frisco. Fare costs around ₱11.
  • Tondo - 10-30 minutes away from Blumentritt. From Rizal Avenue, take a jeepney bound for "Divisoria", hop-off at Tutuban Mall.
Routes through Quiapo (by car)
Tondo  N   S  San MiguelSampaloc
ErmitaQuiapo  S   N  TondoCaloocan
Tondo  S   N  Binondo

Routes through Quiapo (by rapid transit)
PasayQuiapo  S   N  TondoCaloocan
Divisoria  N   S  SampalocMakati

This district travel guide to Santa Cruz is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.