I continued my second day of Visita Iglesia only yesterday (Black Saturday). This Holy Week I decided to stretch my practice by going a little bit out of my territory (which is Quezon City). So with the help of my friend, I finally decided to take a tour of the Manila churches.
Why Manila? For one, it is home to some of the most important historical churches in our country – the San Agustin Church and the Manila Cathedral. Churches here in Manila was able to maintain it’s structural and architectural beauty. I observed that churches here in Quezon City have been influenced by modern and contemporary architecture. In Manila (even in Iloilo as well as Ilocos, and actually to several Philippine provinces), churches have maintained the Spanish or Castillian architecture which is evident both in the interior and exterior edifices and design. Just take for example, Intramuros, the ‘Walled City’, within its wall are two of the long-standing churches we have – the San Agustin and Manila Cathedral.
THE MOTHER OF ALL CHURCHES – SAN AGUSTIN CHURCH
Inside the church is an amazing experience, I told Martin my friend that it is my first time to go inside San Agustin, and it was a beautiful sight. The exterior of the church doesn’t show the longevity of its existence (the church was completed in the year 1604), but you can feel that this church was able to withstand wars, earthquakes, storms and it is indeed the ‘mother of all Philippine churches’. The facade may be perceived by many as lacking in charm, but just take a look at the ornately carved door of the church and you will have a glimpse of the beauty of the church inside.
THE MANILA CATHEDRAL – A TOURIST DESTINATION
I can’t help but be awestruck by the façade of the Manila Cathedral. No wonder why this church has been the top church destination of foreign tourists. Almost everyday you will witness flocks of Koreans, Chinese and other nationalities trying to take pictures of the wonderful exterior of the cathedral.
Also known as the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, the current standing cathedral has been built between 1954-1958 under the tenure of Manila Archbishop Rufino Jiao Cardinal Santos.
Considered as one of the biggest church in Manila, Manila Cathedral is a beauty. The Neo-Romanesque architectural type is an inviting charm not only for the locals but for the faithful tourists.
THE CHURCH OF STEEL – SAN SEBASTIAN
Completed in 1891, this Neo-Gothic Style Basilica is a sight to behold. The towering heights, the all-steel materials, the steel columns, and the intricacy of the designs makes San Sebastian church an instant favorite.
What made San Sebastian church a beauty is its marble works and the stained-glass features. I was so unfortunate to arrive at the church with all the light’s turned off, I didn’t bring my DSLR and so, I have to rely on a minimal ISO set-up of my digicam. The stained-glass works is absolutely beautiful, it is intricate, marvelous and artistic. The stained-glass windows were even imported from Germany and the pre-fabricated steelworks are from Belgium.
A work of art and a national shrine for Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, San Sebastian church has been declared a National Historical Landmark by the late President Ferdinand Marcos.
BINONDO CHURCH – INSIDE THE HEART OF MANILA’S CHINATOWN
Just located at the end of the famous Ongpin Street in Binondo, the Binondo church was completed in 1852 to serve Chinese converts. Under the Patronage of the first Filipino saint – San Lorenzo Ruiz, who was of a Chinese-Filipino descent.
It is probably one of the church where you can feel the history inside and outside.
We had a quick stroll inside the Chinatown afterwards and took a noodle trip to Lan Zhou La Mien.
It was an amazing experience. Aside from these four churches, we were able to go to Quiapo church (quite unfortunate that we were not allowed to take pictures inside, and I wonder why) as well as in St. Jude Church in Mendiola Manila, Sta. Maria Della Strada in Katipunan QC, St. Clare also in Katipunan QC and of course Padre Pio chapel in Libis QC/. That is nine all in all.
I had fun and I was able to reflect and pray in all the churches I went to. It was a spiritual journey and I recommend you to do the same also next year 🙂