10 Historical and Picturesque Churches in Manila to Contemplate and Take a Breather

Words by Cathlyn Mae Botor

Featured Photo from brideworthy.com

Holy week is probably one of the most anticipated holidays every year. And while we’re all stuck in a rut, we all come to a point where we just feel tired from all our stress. On top of our busy schedules, sometimes, all we need is a time to rest and recharge our tired selves. Some people would want to go out of town, climb a mountain, or go to the beach. But for others, this is also the best time for contemplating and soul-searching.

Just in time for the Lenten season, we’ve rounded up 10 historical and picturesque churches for your next Visita Iglesia. You don’t have to go too far because these churches are just within Manila!

10. Our Lady of Remedies Parish (Malate Church)

Built in 1591, the Malate Church, also known as Our Lady of Remedies Parish was founded by the Augustinians. The Baroque-style church was designed with a solid compact stone structure ornamented with a flaming heart symbol on both sides of its entrance.

Photo credit: trover.com

Photo credit: lougopal.com

9. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Shrine, New Manila, Quezon City

Declared as a National Shrine last December 2015 and to be elevated as a Minor Basilica, the Our Lady Of Mt. Carmel Shrine has proven its sophisticated beauty and solemnity. It was back in 1954 when the Carmelites decided to build a church honoring the Marian statue of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. It took a decade before it was finally inaugurated on July 16, 1964, on the feast day of Mt. Carmel.

Photo credit: dioceseofcubao.ph

Photo credit: dioceseofcubao.ph

8. Nuestra Señora De Gracia Church, Makati

Inspired by the Renaissance and Baroque architecture, the Nuestra Señora De Gracia Church has a simple yet striking facade with an arched entrance, columns, and a rose window. The historic church is already 400 years old. It has surpassed earthquakes, fires, and even World War II.

Photo credit: theurbanroamer.com

Photo credit: theurbanroamer.com

7. Our Lady of the Abandoned, Marikina

The Our Lady of the Abandoned (OLA) is an iconic church in Marikina that was built in 1687 by the Augustinian friars. The stations of the cross are intricately painted on its ceiling. Statues of the apostles also stand on the outside pillars of the church. It’s historic because it was able to withstand natural disasters as well as the Philippine-American war in the early 1900s.

Photo credit: tripadvisor.com

Photo credit: tripadvisor.com

6. Sta. Clara de Montefalco Parish, Pasig

As early as the 19th century, the Sta. Clara de Montefalco Parish has become a symbol of passionate love for the people of Pasig. The intricate mural designs which are found on its ceiling are surely mesmerizing. The exterior is also impressive with its Grecian-inspired facade. The grandiose church is complete with stained glass windows and a wide balcony. If you wish to find inner peace, there is also a grotto where you can see the statue of Sta. Clara de Montefalco.

Photo credit: wazzuppilipinas.com

Photo credit: staclarademontefalcopasig.weebly.com

Photo credit: staclarademontefalcopasig.weebly.com

Photo credit: staclarademontefalcopasig.weebly.com

5. Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene (Quiapo Church)

The feast of the Black Nazarene is considered as one of the grandest Catholic celebrations in the Philippines. Black Nazarene devotees always go to the Quiapo Church, also known as Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene. The historic Quiapo church was spared from complete destruction during World War II. The famous streets of Quiapo are surrounded by several faith healers, tarot card readers, and the like.

Photo credit: lamudi.com.ph

Photo credit: pawnhero.ph

4. Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz (Binondo Church)

Located at the heart of the famous Chinatown in Ongpin, the Binondo church is remarkably historical and elegant with its Spanish Baroque design, colorful paintings, and octagonal five-tier Chinese-style bell tower. The maroon-bordered facade of the church is what makes it more distinct. The Dominicans were the ones behind the construction of the church. It was named after San Lorenzo Ruiz, the first Filipino saint who underwent canonization in 1987. The 250+-year-old church has surpassed the test of time including several earthquakes.

Photo credit: Andrea Guanco

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3. Basilica Minore de San Sebastian (San Sebastian Church), Quiapo, Manila

Have you seen the famous Paris’ Eiffel Tower? It was told that its engineer, Gustave Eiffel, also took part in designing and constructing the first and the only all-steel church in the Philippines, the San Sebastian Church. This Gothic-inspired church is located in the busy streets of Quiapo, Manila. It was originally made out of wood, but got burned down during the Chinese revolt in 1651. Its appearance is majestic with all of its pillars, crystal chandeliers, and stained glass windows. It is now over 300 years old, but the present structure is dated to be at 120 years old.

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Photo credit: therusticnomad.com

2. San Agustin Church, Intramuros, Manila

Deemed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the San Agustin Church is built with striking Baroque architecture. There are detailed murals on its walls and ceilings known as Trompe l’oeil. It was originally made to be two-dimensional art, but looking at it further, it has a 3D illusion. The church has stood the test of time since its reconstruction in 1607 after surviving series of earthquakes and World War II.

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Photo credit: arquitecturamanila

1. Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica (Manila Cathedral), Intramuros, Manila

This 430-year-old church has been a witness to key events in history, including famous Filipino celebrity weddings. Entering the grand facades of the Manila Cathedral puts you in a solemn and nostalgic mood. The interiors are certainly grand with its marble chapels, altars, and multi-layered arches. The picturesque church underwent reconstruction in 1958 and has also survived World War II.

Photo credit: philippines-hotels.ws

Photo credit: brideworthy.com

Have you already created a church itinerary for your Visita Iglesia this Holy week? Share it in the comments section below!


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