For the second year in a row, I’d have to cancel my Visita Iglesia tradition. But if there’s a will, there’s a way, and my way is to revisit them virtually. Here are some of my favorite churches (in no particular order) that I’m looking forward to visiting as soon as it’s safe to go back out again.
Basílica Menor de San Sebastián (San Sebastian Church)
I really love this church from the first time I stepped into its doors. It’s completely made of steel and we don’t see that many Gothic Revival architecture in the Philippines. The exterior is relatively modest but inside it looks like you’re immediately transported to Europe.
Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene (Quiapo Church)
This is one of the churches that I visit more often because of my mother’s influence. She used to bring me along here and queue at the stairs leading to the revered Black Nazarene to rub her handkerchief on it for blessings. Whenever I ask for something important or something good happens, this was my go-to.
Minor Basilica and Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (Manila Cathedral)
This is simply one of the most beautiful structures I’ve ever seen! This is also the only fully air-conditioned church in the Philippines that I’ve been to or know. Needless to say, this is one of the most historic and significant churches in the country.
Immaculate Conception Parish Church of San Agustin (San Agustin Church)
This is the oldest standing stone structure in the country and it also introduced me to the term, “trompe-l’oeil.” The ceiling is just gorgeous and even in person, it’s very hard to distinguish which is paint and which is actually sculpture. It’s also interesting that you’re stepping on tombs as you enter the church.
St. Pancratius Chapel (Paco Park)
A tiny chapel surrounded by tombs in the middle of a park. This is the only religious building that I actually haven’t been inside of, but the surrounding area is just so peaceful.
The Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes (San Jose del Monte City, Bulacan)
This is in a way the Philippines’ own version of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain, in the sense that it’s been under construction for decades and don’t seem like it will get completed soon as it’s fully funded by donations. I really like walking the stations of the cross here located behind the church. It is also known for the spring waters you can get here that is said to be miraculous. I hope to be back soon as my last visit was way back 2014.
Basílica Menor del Santo Niño de Cebú (Santo Niño Basilica, Cebú)
This is the oldest church in the country and the current structure is one of the oldest. It was damaged badly from a strong earthquake in 2013 but has since been restored. This was always packed with devotees with the inclusion of tourists. I hope to return to see the restored church.
Iglesia de San Agustín de Paoay (Paoay Church)
This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the collective group of Baroque Churches of the Philippines and for good reasons. The current structure was completed in 1710 and looks really amazing! For it to withstand all the earthquakes for the past three centuries is a testament to its strength. I was last here way back in 2009 so my return is long overdue!
Our Lady of the Atonement Cathedral (Baguio Cathedral)
This is definitely one of my must visit places when in Baguio City. Aside from its spiritual value, this is one of the nicest churches I’ve been to. The combination of being atop a high vantage point and cool weather makes visiting it truly a unique experience.
The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary Parish Church (Baclayon Church)
One of the oldest churches in the country, this was one of the worst damaged structures in Bohol during the 2013 earthquake. I was lucky enough to have visited it before the destruction and was heartbroken to see it in its collapsed state in 2014. I hope to return to see how the church was restored since then.
This Lenten season, I hope we all find peace and solitude despite the hardships that the pestilence has brought us. I hope that you enjoyed this virtual tour and stay safe!
If you plan to follow my Visita Iglesia route in the future, see this page for my routes per year: runningpinoy.com/tag/visita-iglesia.