They say Metro Manila is the best place to be in during Holy Week: it’s quiet, it’s peaceful, and there’s less traffic.
But the city of Manila in particular is a gem: On top of all those, you’ll see how history and religion intersect. Beautiful, historical structures, iconic churches, lighted candles, honest people on their knees, praying.
Make the most out of your Visita Iglesia—driving, parking, gas, and all—and visit seven eof Manila’s most iconic churches. They are as steeped in history as they are in faith:
1. San Agustin Church
Inside Intramuros, San Agustin Church can be found on General Luna Street in Manila. Built in 1586 and completed in 1607, it is believed to be the oldest church in Metro Manila. It was declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1993.
2. Manila Cathedral
More formally known as the Minor Basilica and Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, the Manila Cathedral is located at Plaza de Roma along Cabildo corner Beaterio Street in Intramuros. Its present form was put up in 1958 after it was rebuilt six times due to fire and earthquake damage and the Second World War.
3. Binondo Church
The Minor Basilica of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz is so named because it was in this church where the first Filipino saint Lorenzo Ruiz worked as an altar boy before becoming a missionary. It is in Plaza Lorenzo Ruiz, Binondo.
4. Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene
The Quiapo Church as it is also known, is in Plaza Miranda, Quezon Boulevard, Quiapo. It is home to the Black Nazarene that many people believe has miraculous powers.
5. Basilica of San Sebastian
Located in Plaza del Carmen on Claro M. Recto Avenue in Manila, San Sebastian was designated as a National Historical Landmark by the Philippine government in 1973. The two spires exemplify Gothic architecture and it stands as the only all-steel church in the Philippines.
6. Sta. Cruz Church
This one is on Carriedo Street in Binondo, Manila. Its current form comes from the 1957 reconstruction after it was damaged in the Battle of Manila.
7. Malate Church
Our Lady of Remedies Parish, at 2000 M.H. Del Pilar Street in Malate, is the oldest Philippine church that honors Mary, the mother of Jesus. It was established in 1588.