14 Magnificent Manila Churches for Visita Iglesia 2017

Visita Iglesia or Church Visit is an ancient pious of Roman Catholic Lenten  tradition to visit seven or more churches during Maundy Thursday.

During these Church Visitations or Visita Iglesia, the faithful visit several churches or chapel – normally seven but sometimes fourteen, one station of the cross is recited per church visit. There are no set number depending upon the particular practice – to pray before the Blessed Sacrament in each church.

Chapel

Visita Iglesia- UST Chapel
Visita Iglesia- UST Chapel ( photo credit: Santisimo Rosario FB page)

UST chapel is also known as Santisimo Rosario Parish is located within University of Santo Tomas compound .

How to get there: There are jeepney which ply the España Boulevard . Get off LRT station 1 Doroteo Jose station or LRT line 2 Recto station, there are jeepneys which ply Morayta or a short walk from the station .

Minor Basilicas

Manila is home to four Minor Basilica which are located near each other San Sebastian, Manila Cathedral , Binondo and Quiapo.  The first one in the country. This is known as Basílica Menor de San Sebastián, better known as San Sebastian Church. Completed in 1891, San Sebastian Church is noted for its architectural styles. The church is an all steel gothic revival style in the country . It is the only prefabricated steel church in the world.

Basilica Minore de San Sebastian
Basilica Minore de San Sebastian

Seven countries collaborated for its construction: Belgium, Britain, Germany, China, France, Spain, and the Philippines.

San Sebastian Basilica

There is an active FB page where one can book a slot to join a tour of this magnificent basilica, proceeds will go to the restoration .

How to get there: This is accessible and near LRT line 2 Legarda station. This can be reach by commuting RRCG and G-Liner bus, jeepneys ( Pasig-Quiapo route)

Manila Cathedral
Visita Iglesia- Manila Cathedral Basilica

Manila Metropolitan Cathedral Basilica or known as Manila Cathedral dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary or Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, the principal patroness of the country.

The cathedral also serves as the episcopal see of the Archbishop of Manila. The church is also the ” Mother of Philippine Churches “. The basilica has merited a papal endorsement from Pope Gregory XIII and three apostolic visits from Pope Paul IV, Pope John Paul 2 and Pope Francis.

How to get there: There are a lot of ways to go to the Cathedral, Get off LRT line 1 ( Central / Arroceros station ) then take jeepney ride going to South Pier via Liwasang Bonifacio.

San Agustin Church
Visita Iglesia -San Agustin Church interior

San Agustin Church was one of four Philippine churches constructed during the Spanish colonial era. The church and the complex is a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1993

religious statues
religious statues

One can marvel at the rich collections of Don Luis Maria Araneta and more than 400-years -old collection at the museum and its gardens.

How to get there: Get off LRT line 1 ( Central / Arroceros station ) then take jeepney ride going to South Pier via Liwasang Bonifacio. Few meters away from Manila Cathedral is General Luna street. Or take jeepney with round table Baclaran signage. There are also pedicab drivers from LRT line 1 station ( However , no fix rate apply )

Quiapo Church
Quiapo Church popularly known as Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene

The Quiapo church or Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene present day architecture underwent several changes to accommodate larger crowd.

The church was conferred the title Basilica Minor of the Nuestro Padre Jesús Nazareno in 1988.

How to get there: Get off LRT line 1 Carriedo station and walk for a few hundred of meters , There are jeepneys , AUV express which ply the Quiapo route.

Minor Basilica of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz
Visita Iglesia -Minor Basilica of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz

This church was founded by Dominican priests in 1596 and is popularly known as Binondo church or Minor Basilica of Saint Lorenzo Ruiz and Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary Parish. 

altar Binondo church
altar which resembles saint peter’s basilica

The church interiors were extensively renovated from 1940’s to the late 1980’s. The main altar resembles the Saint Peter church in Vatican City.

How to get there: Get off LRT line 1 Carriedo station and walk towards Ongpin street.

Santa Cruz Church
Santa Cruz Church with Carriedo fountain replica

Santa Cruz Church is located within the Chinatown district of Manila. It was built when the arrabal (suburb) of Santa Cruz was established by the Jesuits in the early 17th century. St. Ezekiel Moreno also served as parish priest.

Our Lady of Pilar
Our Lady of Pilar

The Jesuits enshrined the image of Our Lady of Pilar in 1643 to serve the predominantly Chinese residents in the area. The face and hands are made from carved ivory. A small bust of Simon de Anda is located beside the church near the grotto which commemorates the handover of British army to the Spanish government.

How to get there: Get off LRT line 1 Carriedo station and walk towards Ronquillo street and Plaza Santa Cruz. There are also several jeepney route which traverses Plaza Santa Cruz.

Archdiocesan Shrines

Espiritu Santo Parish
Visita Iglesia – Espiritu Santo Parish

Espiritu Santo Parish Church is also called Archdiocesan Shrine and Parish of Espiritu Santo located just a few meters from LRT line 1 Tayuman station . There used to be a public cemetery which was closed down due to health concerns. Espiritu Santo Parish was established on December 19, 1926, and placed under the administration of the Divine Word Fathers (SVD). Fr. William Finneman, SVD was its first parish priest.

Espiritu Santo church organ
Espiritu Santo church organ

The marble altar at the middle of the sanctuary was completed and blessed in 1968. At the same year, the pipe organ costing seventy-two thousand pesos was acquired and installed by Rev. Fr. H. Schblitzki, SVD and was solemnly blessed by the Most Rev. Bienvenido M. Lopez, DD on November 24, 1968.

How to get there: Get off LRT line 1 ( Tayuman station) and the shrine is just a about 10 meters away. There are several jeepney routes which ply the Tayuman street.

Our Lady of Loreto and Saint Anthony Shrine
Visita Iglesia -Our Lady of Loreto and Saint Anthony Shrine

Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Loreto and St. Anthony Shrine. They are known as twin churches of Sampaloc.

Te first church on the Sampaloc site in 1613. It was made into a parish that same year, along with the enshrinement of the Marian image of Our Lady of Loreto.

Our Lady of Loreto metal sculpture
Our Lady of Loreto metal sculpture

The first church was reconstructed twice, first in 1640 as a result of a 1639 Chinese revolt that burned down the church, and again in 1666 after damage from a 1645 earthquake and because of the needs of a growing community in Sampaloc. The church was also affected by the 1880 earthquake, after which its toppled steeple was reconstructed.

historical marker
Our Lady of Loreto historical marker installed in 1935

St. Anthony Shrine, a church administered by the Venerable Third Order of the Franciscans.(Spanish: Venerable Orden Tercera) The church traces its origins in 1794, when the Third Order proceeded to build its own church near the premises of the Loreto Church upon the invitation of their Franciscan brethren who were administering Loreto at that time.

Saint Anthony Shrine organ
Visita Iglesia -Our Lady of Loreto church organ

The church was originally dedicated to the Our Lady of the Pilgrims (Nuestra Señora de la Peregrina), but it was destroyed along with the original Loreto Church in the Battle of Manila of 1945. Both churches were rebuilt after the war, but somehow Saint Anthony Shrine maintained the facade. Overall, the twin churches attracts devotees from all walks of life.

How to get there: Get off LRT line 2 Legarda station and just walk towards Bustillos street. There are several jeepney routes which ply Tomas Earnshaw Street (Bustillos) , Balic-Balic (Sampaloc ), Quiapo.

Visita Iglesia Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat
Visita Iglesia -Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat

Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat is located along Mendiola street within San Beda College. The monastery was founded by monks from Spain in 1895 and is dedicated to Our Lady of Montserrat . The architecture is a combination of  neo-gothic with neo-baroque interiors.

How to get there: Get off LRT line 2 Legarda station and walk for about 250 meter to 300 meters . There is also jeep which ply the route Quiapo-Santol which traverses Mendiola.

Saint Jude Thaddeus Archdiocesan Shrine
Saint Jude Thaddeus Archdiocesan Shrine

Saint Jude Thaddeus Archdiocesan Shrine was created on  October 13, 1954, Father Provincial Hermann Kondring, SVD appointed Fr. Henry Windges, SVD as the first parish priest of the Espiritu Santo Chinese Parish, as the parish was known initially. Fr. Windges was installed by Manila Archbishop Rufino J. Santos on November 14, 1954. Fr. Peter Tsao, SVD was subsequently appointed assistant parish priest on December 7, 1954.

National Shrine of Saint Jude Pastoral Center
National Shrine of Saint Jude Thaddeus Pastoral Center -This used to be part of the hospital and was converted into a school before becoming a pastoral center

In January 1955, the parish set up its first rectory by renting part of the premises of a former hospital (now St. Jude Catholic School) in San Miguel, Manila. The next month, Archbishop Rufino J. Santos made St. Jude Thaddeus the patron saint of the parish as proposed by Father Provincial Herman Kondring, SVD.

Saint Jude Thaddeus Shrine interior
Visita Iglesia – Saint Jude Thaddeus Shrine interior

The present site of St. Jude Parish was donated by Archbishop Rufino J. Santos. The blessing and laying of the cornerstone of the church was held on September 28, 1958. The completed church was blessed on October 23, 1960.

pabasa
pabasa

The weekly novena to St. Jude started in June 1959 and has been held every Thursday since then. For Holy Week, there is also a pabasa for those who wish to participate.

devotees light candles
devotees light candles

The devotion spread over the years and has become very popular in Metro Manila. Thursday is always a busy day, with preaching, confessions, and counselling forming an important part of the work. With the overflowing of devotees and people from all walks of life visiting the shrine.

The parish was conferred the title of Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Jude on June 21, 1994.

How to get there: Get off LRT line 2 Legarda station and walk for about 700 meters to 730 meters. There is a PSG guard sentry at the College of Holy Spirit which check your baggage.

Visita Iglesia San Miguel Pro-Cathedral
Visita Iglesia – San Miguel Pro-Cathedral with Archangel

San Miguel Pro-Cathedral is also known as National Shrine of Saint Michael and the Archangels . Its present location is on the corner of Jose P. Laurel Street and General Solano Street in San Miguel district near the the former site of La Fábrica de Cerveza de San Miguel ( San Miguel Brewery ).

Tombstone of Doña Margarita Roxas de Ayala near the main altar
Tombstone of Doña Margarita Roxas de Ayala near the main altar

The church was rebuilt in 1913 at its present site through the generous assistance of Doña Margarita Roxas de Ayala.

The church served as the pro-Cathedral in Manila . It was given the title from 1946 to 1958  while the cathedral was being rebuilt. The church was elevated to the rank of national shrine in 1986.

main altar
main altar

The church follows a European Baroque architecture, and features its symmetrical bell towers.

Former President Ferdinand Marcos and Imelda Romualdez  were married in the shrine (then the pro-cathedral) on May 1, 1954. Their wedding was tagged as the Wedding of the Year.

How to get there: Get off LRT line 2 Legarda station and walk for about 850 meters or take a jeepney from Quiapo with San Miguel signage.

 

Pandacan church
Pandacan church

Pandacan church is also known as  Sto. Niño Parish Pandacan parish . The church is located at Jesus street . There is a popular street dancing festival named ” Buling-Buling festival ” held every third saturday of January.

Santo Nino de Pandacan
Visita Iglesia -Santo Nino de Pandacan

How to get there: One can ride PNR train and get off at the Pandacan station , a short walk towards Jesus street . Another way are jeepney route from Sampaloc with Pandacan signage. There is also a mini-bus which ply the SM Manila to Pandacan.

One can complete these 14 churches within 1 day of Visita Iglesia around Manila .

 

Rence Chan

writer and contributor

social media writer, food lover, heritage advocate, philatelist , deltiologist , numismatist , notaphilist , toy collector, key chain collector, bibliophile , orchid fancier , plant lover , environmental advocate, freshwater aquarium fish hobbyist, tour consultant, memorabilia and art connoisseur.