History and Culture

Seven Churches In Manila That Were Built To Last

Metro Manila

Gari Sy Rivera
Gari Sy Rivera | Nov 05, 2019

Photos by the Author

The city of Manila is known for its rich, historical culture. With the many renowned places to visit such as national monuments, museums, libraries, and zoos, don’t forget to include these churches built on beautiful pasts on your to-go-to lists. Check the photos above and the list down below for a glimpse of each!

1. Quiapo Church

Though its first and previous constructions, built by friars and leaders of the Catholic church throughout the late 1500s until the 1800s, were torn down by fires and natural calamities, this basilica remains on the same foundation today in Quiapo, Manila, being rebuilt in 1933. This Minor Basilica serves as the home of the Black Nazarene, a statue of Jesus Christ that Filipino Catholics believe to be a source of miracles.

2. San Agustin Church

Also known as the Archdiocesan Shrine of Nuestra Señora de Consolacion y Correa, the San Agustin Church is the oldest stone-built church in the Philippines. Its first two structures were built in the latter years of the 16th century. These were burnt down and rebuilt a decade later in 1586 into the structure on General Luna St., Manila today. The church has lived throughout many events in the country, serving as site for Spanish preparation of Manila surrender to the United States of America, a concentration camp for a hostage of Intramuros locals during the Japanese occupation, and many more, standing strong throughout multiple major earthquakes that damaged many structures in Manila throughout the last four hundred years.

[related: One Sunny Afternoon Spent At A Local Crafts Market in the Heart of Manila]

3. San Sebastian Church

Located in Quiapo, Manila, the Minor Basilica of San Sebastian has always been in the care of the Order of the Augustinian Recollects friars and nuns. It had four previous structures built but destroyed during the 17th to the 19th centuries, until its final and current design was finished in 1891. Its architecture has one of the most interesting gothic aesthetics, composed of foreign materials such as steel and stained glass from Belgium and Germany.

4. Santa Cruz Church

Designated as the Archdiocesan Shrine of the Blessed Sacrament, the Our Lady of the Pillar Parish Church was built by the Jesuits in the 1700s. This original structure was damaged by a couple of earthquakes throughout the 1800s, eventually reaching complete destruction in 1944 during the Battle of Manila. Rebuilt in 1957, the structure today symbolizes the Spanish period of Manila's history.

[related: 5 Manila Spots ASEAN Dignitiaries Can Visit And Enjoy During Their Stay]

5. Manila Cathedral

Minor Basilica and Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Concepcion, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, originally served as the Church of Manila of Intramuros in 1571. It was later reintroduced as a cathedral in 1581 and was reconstructed by the first Manila Bishop, Domingo de Salazar. Experiencing numerous destructions by fire and earthquakes throughout the 16th to 19th centuries, it was rebuilt in 1958 into the current structure it is today. Reaching nearly 60 years of existence, it was renovated for two years in 2012, reopening in 2014 with modern fixes and improved interior. 

6. Binondo Church

Being an area of many Chinese residents before and during Spanish colonization, the Minor Basilica of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz was founded by Dominican priests in 1596 to cater to Chinese Christians. It was considered as one of the most beautiful churches in its time. It experienced several reconstructions, after fires and attacks by the British in the 1800s, including an American bombardment during the Battle of Manila during World War II. Post-war efforts saw the basilica's renovation to continue its purpose. Today, masses here are held in Filipino, English, and Chinese dialects.

[related: 5 Churches That are So Beautiful It Will Get You Excited For Simbang Gabi]

7. Malate Catholic Church

The Our Lady of Remedies Parish was built in 1588 in dedication to Nuestra Señora de los Remedios. It went through several reconstructions due to earthquakes in the 17th and 19th centuries, including repairs conducted after the brief British occupation when they used the church as headquarters. After rebuilding the parish through the efforts of then Fr. Francisco Cuadrado and local fishermen who raised the funds for the reconstruction, the church was burned down during World War II. With yet another destruction, Columban fathers decided to reconstruct the church, finishing by 1978. Today, an honored statue of the Virgin Mary stands at its alter. The church is located in Malate, Manila, beautifully overlooking the Plaza Rajah and Manila Bay.

ALSO READ: Mixing Tourism and Piety, Here Are 7 Must Visit Churches In Naga City

Add to your: Wishlist Done That

Be a Pinoy Wanderer!

Choose Philippines encourages writers, photographers, travelers, bloggers, videographers and everyone with a heart for the Philippines to share their discoveries and travel stories.

Share Your Journey

Other Stories by Gari Sy Rivera

Tell Us What You Think