Building Churches Out of Egg Whites

The Holy Rosary Church in Angeles City in the Philippines dates back to 1877 and the Spanish colonial era, a period when Local churches were built with egg whites. As evangelizing Spanish colonists built churches across the islands, laborers used egg whites as an emulsifier in the concrete. The egg whites were needed to form a sort of mortar, known as argamasa, which binded and protected the building materials used to construct the churches. Egg whites were meant to make the mixture more durable, and historical records attest to this widespread practice. Records show that the dome of the Manila Cathedral was sealed in 1780 with a layer of lime, powdered brick, duck eggs, and bamboo sap. It wasn’t just duck eggs, though; eggs from chickens and other poultry were solicited from the community, combined with lime, sand, water, and some special ingredients to make mortars.