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See Manila's Most Iconic Churches this Holy Week – #7 is the most historical! Edit

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Michelle Tobias  • Contributor
Opinions expressed by Explora.ph Contributors are their own.

What is Visita Iglesia?

Regardless of your religion or irreligious beliefs, joining a religious procession in the Philippines gives you a glimpse of Filipino culture and, in some extreme cases, a glimpse of its religious fanaticism. Visita Iglesia is a religious procession that was adopted from Spain. While masses of people join this pilgrimage, you can draft your own, at your own pace and time.


The list features some of the most iconic churches in Manila. Just plot them on a map and start wherever is most convenient for you. This tour would take approximately 3 to 5 hours by bike, kalesa, or car. Walking is also possible, like a pilgrim should be, and may take about 5 to 8 hours, depending on your pace and stopovers.


These are 7 out of the 14 featured churches during Visita Iglesia:

Binondo Church

Plaza Lorenzo Ruiz, Manila


Binondo Church is also known as the Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz, named after the Filipino-Chinese sacristan who was tortured and executed for refusing to renounce his faith. The church was built in 1596 and has undergone several renovations since then.

Binondo Church

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Sta. Cruz Church

Plaza Sta. Cruz Street corner Bustos Street, Sta. Cruz, Manila


Sta. Cruz Church was constructed in the early 17th century by the Jesuit Order. Its design was greatly influenced by Baroque architecture. Its patroness, Our Lady of Pillar, can be seen atop the church's facade.

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The main entrance of the church.

Aba Ginoong Maria #thisismanila #shotoniphone #streetphotography

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Quiapo Church

Quezon Boulevard, Manila


This well renowned basilica is the site of the biggest religious procession in the country, the Feast of the Black Nazarene. Interestingly, peddlers of herbal remedies and spiritual paraphernalia can also be found in the vicinity.

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Quiapo church gets filled with devotees from different parts of the metropolis during weekends.

[#FacebookLive Schedule] Pebrero 16, 2018 ✫ BIYERNES kasunod ng Miyerkules ng Abo ✫ ✫ [Philippine Standard Time] ✫ ►►►►► ✫ 1st SET of Facebook Live ✫ ☑ 4:00 a.m. ✞ Rev. Fr. Genie Diwa ☑ 5:00 a.m. ✞ Rev. Fr. Albert Flores ☑ 6:00 a.m. ✞ Rev. Msgr. Hernando Coronel ☑ 7:00 a.m. ✞ Most. Rev. Teodoro Bacani, Jr., D.D. ►►►►► ✫ 2ND SET of Facebook Live ✫ ☑ 8:00 a.m. ✞ Rev. Fr. Fernando Carpio ☑ 9:00 a.m. ✞ Rev. Fr. Douglas Badong ☑ 10:00 a.m. ✞ Rev. Fr. Joseph Matitu, SSS ☑ 11:00 a.m. ✞ Rev. Fr. Raul Salgado ►►►►► ✫ 3RD SET of Facebook Live ✫ ☑ 12:15 p.m. TV Maria Misa Nazareno ✞ Rev. Fr. Mark Munda / ✞ Rev. Fr. Leo Ignacio ☑ 1:15 p.m. NOBENA Para Sa #NuestroPadreJesusNazareno ✫ Ang Rosaryo sa Mabathalang Awa (#DivineMercy Chaplet) ►►►►► ✫ 4TH SET of Facebook Live ✫ ✫ TV Maria - #Katesismo Tuwing Biyernes “Ang Tunay Na Kagalakan Ay Matatagpuan Kay Poong Hesus Nazareno” ☑ 2:00 p.m. - Tagapag-Salita: ✞ Rev. Fr. Raul Salgado ►►►►► ✫ 5th SET of Facebook Live ✫ ☑ 3:00 p.m. ✞ Rev. Fr. Marlon Reyes, SSS ☑ 4:00 p.m. ✞ Rev. Fr. Paul Medina, O.Carm. ☑ 5:00 p.m. ✞ Rev. Fr. Rey Adalid, O.P ►►►►► ✫ 6th SET of Facebook Live ✫ ☑ 6:00 p.m. ✞ Rev. Marvin Cruz ☑ 7:00 p.m. ✞ Rev. Fr. Robin Custodio, SSS ☑ 8:00 p.m. ✞ Rev. Fr. Benny De Guzman ►►►►► ✫ MGA PAGBASA ✫ ☑ Unang Pagbasa - Isaias 58: 1-9 ☑ Salmong Tugunan: D’yos Ko, Iyong Tinatanggap Pakumbaba’t Pusong Tapat ☑ Mabuting Balita - Mateo 9: 14-15 #TVMaria #QuiapoChurch #MinorBasilicaOfTheBlackNazarene

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San Sebastian Church

Claro M. Recto Street, Quiapo


San Sebastian Church holds the distinction for being the sole neo-Gothic church in Asia that's entirely made of steel. It was declared a National Historical Landmark by former President Ferdinand Marcos in 1973 and a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines in 2011. 

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The church's all-steel structure is constantly threatened by the sea breeze from the nearby Manila Bay, which is why in 1998, the World Monuments Fund placed it in the Endangered Sites Watchlist in 1998.
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Despite its sheer size, San Sebastian Church can rely on natural daylight to illuminate it during daytime.

St. Vincent de Paul Church

Across Adamson University, San Marcelino Street, Manila


The concrete church was built in 1912 in honor of the Vincentian Sisters of Charity's 50th anniversary in the country, replacing the chapel that was constructed in the same site in 1883. Japanese soldiers wreaked havoc to its interiors in 1945, just before the end of the war. In 2010, St. Vincent de Paul Church underwent a full renovation to become the architectural icon that it is today.

Malate Church

M.H. del Pilar Street, Malate, Manila


Malate Church was built in 1588 in honor of Nuestra Señora de los Remedios. A nearly 300-year-old statue of the Virgin Mary as Our Lady of Remedies stands tall at the altar.

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Pasko parin sa malate.

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Thank God it's Sunday 😇🙏🏻

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San Agustin Church

General Luna Street, Manila


Situated within the walled city of Intramuros is the oldest stone church in the country. San Agustin Church was built some time in the 16th century and iss a witness to the Spanish rule in the Philippines that lasted for almost 400 years. In 1993, it was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

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The vaulted ceiling of the church is ornately decorated with trompe l'oeil paintings to make the structure seem higher than it really is.
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San Agustin Church houses hundreds more of artifacts that are of great cultural and historical importance, including this 7,500lb bell sitting at its museum the entrance.

For a list of Explora-approved accommodations you can stay in during your Visita Iglesia in Manila, click here



Text by Michelle Tobias


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