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7 Churches for Visita Iglesia around Manila


Visita Iglesia, which means "Church Visits" in Spanish, is observed during Maundy Thursday of the Lenten Season or Holy Week practiced by the Roman Catholics.

Being a newbie in the metro, I was not really familiar with the churches around the city. So when a friend of mine invited me to join their Visita Iglesia last year, I eagerly agreed.

Here's the list of the churches we've been to:

Twin Churches. 

Also known as Twin Churches of Bustillos: Church of Our Lady of Loreto and the Church of St. Anthony of Padua

The Franciscans built the Church of Our Lady of Loreto in honor of Nuestra Señora de Loreto in a land donated by Don Pedro Chaves who, along with his wife Doña Ana de Vera, financed the construction of the church in 1613. The Our Lady of Loreto Church was rebuilt after World War II on the foundations of the old one destroyed by fire and earthquake.The Church of St. Anthony was originally built in Paco in 1619, but was relocated in Sampaloc in 1783.Despite their close proximity, the two churches have had harmonious relations. Instead of competing for the patronage of churchgoers, they continue to work together to serve their parishioners’ spiritual needs.

Twin Churches of Bustillos

San Sebastián Church

Also called as Basilica Minore de San Sebastián is a Roman Catholic minor basilica in Manila, the Philippines. It is the seat of the Parish of San Sebastian and the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Completed in 1891, San Sebastián Church is noted for its architectural features. An example of the revival of Gothic architecture in the Philippines, it is the only all-steel church or basilica in Asia and claimed as the only prefabricated steel church in the world. In 2006, San Sebastian Church was included in the Tentative List for possible designation as a World Heritage Site. It was designated as a National Historical Landmark by the Philippine government in 1973. San Sebastián Church is under the care of The Order of the Augustinian Recollects, who also operate a college adjacent to the basilica. It is located at Plaza del Cármen, at the eastern end of Claro M. Recto Street, in Quiapo, Manila.

San Sebastián Church

San Sebastián Church

San Sebastián Church

Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica 

Also known as the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception and informally as Manila Cathedral is a prominent Latin Rite Roman Catholic basilica located in Manila, Philippines, honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, the Principal Patroness of the Philippines. Located in the Intramuros district of Manila, it was originally a parish church owned and governed by the diocese of Mexico in 1571, until it became a separate diocese on February 6, 1579 upon the issuance of a Papal bull by Pope Gregory XIII.The cathedral serves both as the Prime Basilica of the Philippines and highest seat of the archbishop in the country. The cathedral was damaged and destroyed several times since the original cathedral was built in 1581. The eighth and current incarnation of the cathedral was completed in 1958.
Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica 

Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica 

Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica 

Binondo Church

Also known as Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz is located in Binondo, Manila. Founded by the Dominican priests in 1596, Binondo Church is one of the oldest places of Christian worship in the Philippines. It was administered by the Secular Priests in 1768, returned to Dominican Administration in 1822 and back to Secular Priests in 1898. The maintenance is largely funded by the Catholic Chinese community, many of whom reside or operate businesses in neighboring Chinatown. Masses are held in Filipino, in Chinese dialects (Mandarin, Hokkien), and in English. 

Binondo Church

Binondo Church
San Agustin Church 

It is a Roman Catholic church under the auspices of The Order of St. Augustine, located inside the historic walled city of Intramuros in Manila. Completed by 1607,It is the oldest church still standing in the Philippines; no other surviving building in the Philippines has been claimed to pre-date San Agustin Church. In 1993, San Agustin Church was one of four Philippine churches constructed during the Spanish colonial period to be designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, under the collective title Baroque Churches of the Philippines. It was named a National Historical Landmark by the Philippine government in 1976.

San Agustin Church 

San Agustin Church 

San Agustin Church 

UST Chapel

Also known as Santisimo Rosario Parish Church serving as spiritual haven for the Thomasian community, the UST Chapel is the most appropriate place for the Thomasian practice of faith. This has become the venue for various university religious activities which include the annual Misa de Apertura, a decades-old tradition of officially opening the academic year with a Mass of the Holy Spirit and the delivery of the academic lecture called the Discurso de Apertura; the annual novena to Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary for the La Naval celebration; and the Heritage Christmas Concert. Manila Archbishop Michael O’Doherty canonically inaugurated the UST Chapel into the Santisimo Rosario Church on April 26, 1942.

UST Chapel

Saint Jude Parish and National Shrine

Also known as National Shrine of St. Jude Thaddeus is located in J.P. Laurel St., San Miguel, Manila.
Saint Jude Parish and National Shrine
Descriptions taken from wikipedia, mb and ust.

Elal of The Shades of Grey Travel and Photography
Elal is a traveler, student of life and photography enthusiast who wants to experience and capture what is raved and not raved about. For more about her travels, subscribe here, email at, or visit her portfolio.


melandria's musings said...

i remember my high school days where me and my friends goes out for visita iglesia. it was indeed a fun way and a good time to reflect.

visiting from prayer- why do you pray?

Robi Marapao said...

Your pictures are pretty impressive. One of my objectives is to take pictures of the Churches once I get home in the Philippines.

Have a blessed holy week.

Gil Camporazo | RandomThoughts! said...

Churches are places for worship, for communion with the Lord.

Ivan Saldajeno said...

I have been to UST, but I haven't seen their church. I like the design.

Simplymarrimye said...

I never had the chance to do this pilgrimage but I hope I can do this next year.

gracefool said...

our churches are unique attractions because most of our neighbor countries are either buddhist, muslims, or hindus.. hmm makagawa nga rin ng similar post xD

MheAnne said...

good for you to have visited all these Churches in Metro Manila. I am very familiar with San Sebastian because that is where I studied law and San Agustin because I always passed by there on my way home while I was studying in Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila in Intramuros. I attended several weddings in the two churches so your photos of the inside made me reminisce!

maritel (merlmd) said...

really good pictures. No Visita Iglesia for us this year...we were physically not up to it :(

Gemma|My Dailies said...

you take beautiful pictures!!! I miss our churches though :(

redamethyst said...

thanks for sharing this lovely photos. I wish I can visit those churches too.

ralph said...

ang ganda talaga ng architectural design ng mga simbahan. never got a chance para sa visita iglesia. nice photos. Yahweh bless.

Shirgie Scf said...

You had a busy Holy week ah. I wish I could do visita iglesia too someday

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