Manila having been the capital of a country that was for several centuries under Spanish domination abounds with historic churches. Now as a predominantly Catholic country the city has many new additions. The old and the new are both popular places of worship and are noted for their cultural and historic value.
Manila Cathedral or the Cathedral –Basilica of Immaculate Conception is the predominant church of the country. Constructed sometime in the late 16th century it was destroyed several times by war and earthquakes and the present structure was put up between 1954 and 1958. It is currently undergoing earthquake retrofitting and subsidence prevention and is scheduled to open in 2014. The cathedral still retains part of its historic exterior and soaring interior.
Among the Baroque churches in the Philippines, now designated as UNESCO heritage sites, is St Augustin Church in the heart of Intramuros Manila, constructed in the late 16th century. Its squat monumental and massive appearance was in response to the unstable socio-political situation of the time and unstable geologic conditions. The church is an outstanding example of the Baroque style interspersed with local touches. Its interior features trompe l’oiel murals on walls and ceiling.
The Minor Basilica of St Lorenzo Ruiz constructed in the early 17th century by Dominican priests was meant to serve the Chinese community of Manila. Its roof was destroyed during WWII but its distinctive octagonal bell tower and walls survived. It underwent extensive reconstruction between 1946 and 1971.
The Santa Cruz Church a popular wedding venue was erected in 1607 by the Society of Jesus. This too was destroyed in WWII and reconstructed in 1957.
One of the most eye catching churches in the city is the all steel Basilica Minore San Sebastian with its soaring spires. Constructed in the Gothic Revival style in 1891, it is reputedly the only such building in Asia. Its parts were manufactured in Belgium and assembled on site.
The Redemptorist Church in Metro Manila is one of the largest ecclesiastical buildings in the Philippines. Consecrated in 1958 thousands of devotees come here to venerate the icon of Our Mother of Perpetual Help. The church has an impressive façade executed in the Neo Romanesque style.
Our Lady of Remedios Parish Church is one of the oldest churches in Manila outside Intramuros. This Baroque style church was built by the Augustinians in the 16th century. Destroyed in a typhoon it was reconstructed in the 19th century.
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Nigel Walters is a travel writer, who writes under the pen name, Free Spirit. His content is based on the myriad of experiences and indulgences that the world has to offer travellers across all walks of life. Google+