6 Churches in Manila You Should Visit

When you think of traveling to Manila, you probably think of museums, public parks, and the oldest Chinatown. But the City of Manila is home to many ancient churches characterized by their style and history. Here are six churches in Manila you should visit on your next trip.

Quiapo Church

Quiapo Church is perhaps the most notable church in the City of Manila. The church is found in Plaza Miranda, a square that houses many peddlers selling candles, amulets, and herbal remedies. Many locals go to Quiapo Church to adore its architectural style and pray to the Black Nazarene enshrined in the High Altar. Devotees of the Nazarene go to Quiapo Church every January 9 in the hopes of being blessed by the patron’s procession.

Santa Cruz Church

This Baroque-style church lies a few blocks behind Quiapo Church in the Santa Cruz district. You can recognize Santa Cruz Church through its Earth-colored facade held by three Ionic pillars. Inside the church, you’ll see a Celtic-style window at the center adorned by smaller semi-circular windows on the side. Relics of saints Peter Julian Eymard and Charles Lwanga are taken care of at the church.

Santa Cruz Church is a centuries-old treasure that witnessed various period changes. Binondo Chinatown, Quiapo Church, and Intramuros are ancient siblings to the church. On the other hand, the LRT Line 1, Amaia Skies Avenida, and the Manila Grand Opera Hotel are some of the contemporary structures close to Santa Cruz Church.

Santo Domingo Church

While not precisely in Manila, Santo Domingo Church is a few minutes away from the Welcome Rotonda, a roundabout linking Quezon City and the City of Manila. Santo Domingo Church has experienced remodeling and rebuilding six times due to being damaged by fire, earthquake, and war. It was initially in Intramuros before the Dominicans decided to rebuild the church for the sixth time in Quezon City. Inside the church, you will see the enormous mosaic of St. Dominic at the main altar and St. Martin de Porres’ altar on the right side. The Bas-reliefs of St. Dominic adorn the belfry while La Naval adorns the church’s facade. If you live in Grass Residences or nearby developments in Quezon City, it’s imperative that you pay this church a visit. 

The Manila Cathedral

The Manila Cathedral is a stone church in Intramuros that has served as the Archbishop of Manila’s episcopal seat since 1594. The basilica is different from the Baroque theme of most Philippine churches. It has a Neo-Romanesque architectural style, a revival of the medieval design of 11th-century European churches. Inside, you will see the cathedral’s marble floors, vaulted ceilings, and the cathedral dome, where underneath is the resting place of previous archbishops.

Binondo Church

The oldest Chinatown in the world is home to Binondo Church. Dominican priests founded it in 1596 to cater to the Chinese who converted to Christianity. Binondo Church was loosely modeled after St. Peter’s Basilica of The Vatican, with elements borrowed from Spanish and Baroque styles. At the right side of the main altar, you will see the graven image of San Lorenzo Ruiz, the first Filipino saint.

San Sebastian Church

Like the Manila Cathedral, San Sebastian Church breaks from the usual Baroque-style of most Philippine churches because it has a Neo-Gothic architectural theme. The church’s design is often attributed to Gustave Eiffel’s work due to its similarities to the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty. Think of your trip to San Sebastian Church as you walking down the romantic Parisian streets and seeing the colossal basilica tower over you.

These six churches aren’t just pieces of real estate that give you the perfect photos for your blog or social media. Their centuries-long life witnessed many events that happened in the past and hold artifacts that echo history. Likewise, these churches are a part of the religious identity of the Philippines.