Manila Churches

Manila is known for its old churches because of the Spaniards' influence on Catholicism. The intricate architecture that most churches have attracts not only locals but also foreign tourists that are fascinated by the details, sometimes life-sized statues of saints, old facade, and aged paintings hanging on the walls. The churches in Manila have a great and interesting historic background that tells not only the important events that shaped Philippine history but also gives the church a depth to it. The tour includes famous churches namely Malate Church, Nuestra Senora de Garcia (Guadalupe Ruins), San Agustin Church, Manila Cathedral, and Binondo Church.

Malate Church

Malate Church

The Malate church is located near Manila Bay and is facing the Rajah Sulayman Park which is in Roxas Boulevard. It was formally known as Malate Catholic Church and it is dedicated to Nuestra Senora de Remedios (Our Lady of Remedies). It is one of the oldest Baroque-style churches that were built outside Intramuros during the sixteenth century by Augustinian friars.

The church was built to look like a cross from an aerial view. During the British occupation of Manila, their soldiers took refuge in the church while the attack in Intramuros was taking place. The place was in need of repair after the British soldier’s occupancy. The church yet again was destroyed by a typhoon that occurred in 1868 but then was rebuilt. The Malate Church was badly damaged during the World War II but was again restored after the war.

Nuestra Senora de Garcia

Nuestra Senora de Gracia Church

The Nuestra Senora de Garcia is considered as one of the oldest churches in Metro Manila that was built during the sixteenth century and is now administered by the Augustinian friars of the Province of Santa Nino de Cebu. The once pure Baroque style church became a mix of different architectural styles because of the repeated restorations due to a natural disaster and the war against the Americans and Filipinos.

Inside Nuestra Senora de Gracia Church

It is an amazing venue for weddings and the monastery which has a vast garden is perfect for receptions. The church might look familiar because it is a popular set for advertising shoots and television soap operas. It is also near Loyola Memorial Chapel and the Our Lady of Guadalupe Minor Seminary.

San Agustin Church

San Agustin Church

The San Agustin Church which was originally known as Inglesia de San Pablo is located inside Intramuros. The church was built in 1589 and it is known as the oldest church in the Philippines. In 1976, the Philippine government named it as a National Historical Landmark. And in 1993, UNESCO declared it to be as one of the World Heritage Site under the collective title of Baroque Churches of the Philippines. The founder of the city of Manila, Miguel Lopez de Legazpi or also known as El Adelantado, was buried and has a tomb in the easternmost chapel of the transept.

Inside San Agustin Church

The church was rebuilt for several times but the Augustinian's decided to use stone for the construction of the church and an adjacent monastery that was designed by Juan Macias. The hewn stones were quarried from San Mateo Rizal, Meycauayan and Binangonan. Due to few stone artisans during those times and also the lack of funds and materials the construction was slow. On 1604, the monastery was already operational and on 1607, the church was declared complete and named St. Paul of Manila. But unfortunately, Macias, who designed the church and monastery died before the completion of the church. The Augustinian's acknowledge him as the builder of the edifice. Like any other old churches around Manila, this church was looted and damaged by foreign occupants and natural disasters.

Due to the major damage that the monastery received from the war against the Japanese occupation during the World War II. The adjacent monastery was rebuilt as a museum that was designed by architect Angel Nakpil in the 1970's. The most recent renovation done in the church was this year which includes the replacement its colorful facade with stone-colored ones.

Manila Cathedral

Manila Cathedral

The Manila Cathedral or formally known as the Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica is located at Plaza de Roma in Intramuros, Manila. This church serves as the seat to the de Facto Primate of the Philippines, Cardinal Luid Antonio G. Tagle, the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila, Cardinal. The principal Patroness is Blessed Virgin Mary. The original cathedral was built in 1581. The cathedral was completed in 1958 with its eighth and current reconstruction. It was the Church of Manila before it was named as Manila Cathedral.

The location of the church was Miguel Lopez de Legazpi's choice. Padre Juan de Villanueva was the first parish priest and the church was placed under the patronage of Santa Potenciana. The church underwent some major renovations due to strong earthquakes that even made the bell tower collapse. The rehabilitation and retrofitting of the church was recently done so further damage and safety will not be at risk. An amazing life-size solid bronze statue of The Immaculate Conception that was painted gold until 1988. It was made by renowned Maestro Enzo Assenza, who is an Italian sculptor. It is not only foreign artists that contributed in the beautification and adding sublime statues inside and outside the church but also our fellow Filipino, Gale Ocampo, who made the 134 modern stained glass windows in 1964 that was funded by Cardinal Rufino Jiao Santos.

Some of the prominent burials are of the first Filipino Archbishop of Manila, Gabriel M. Reyes and one of the prominent leader of the 1986 People Power Revolution, Cardinal Jaime L. Sin. The church only permits Archbishops of Manila to be accorded of the honor to lie in state but the two exceptions were former presidents Carlos P. Garcia and Corazon C. Aquino.

Binondo Church

Binondo Church

Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz or famously known as Binondo Church. The beautiful old facade and the famous Octagonal bell tower which has features that depicts the Chinese culture of the parishioners. The church was known as a big contributing factor of San Lorenzo Ruiz's journey to Sainthood, as it was where he trained. He was canonized in 1987. A large statue of San Lorenzo Ruiz stands in front of the church.

During the Spanish times, Chinese were not allowed inside the walled city that is called Intramuros. Those times there were Chinese merchants who were converted to Christianity, since they can't enter the city, the community decided to build a church that will be suitable for Chinese Catholics. The church being close to the walled city, it sustained damages from the war during the British occupation. Another factor that gave the church certain damages were the earthquake that happened on 1863. The renovation happened between 1946 and 1971.

The glorious site of this church will definitely leave you awestruck and fascinated by the appearance and story that it has to tell. Well crafted statues of saints and the intricate details of the altar will surely interest you.

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