Churches, Temples, and Edifices: Top 10 Must-see Religious Structures in the Philippines
Religion acts as one of the prime movers of the Philippine Society. There are quite of these, each with their varying beliefs and tradition. There’s the Christian groups, which is further subdivided into its respective sects, The Muslims, The Buddhist, The Taoists, and among others.
San Agustin Museum Manila Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikipedia
With the relentless number of followers of each group comes an edifice that’s built to attest to the fervent faith of each believer. Each of these edifices have their very own stories, from the time they were built, to the staggering stories that each walls tell. Listed below are the most notable, and perhaps the Top 10 must-see Churches and Religious edifices all around the country.
1. San Agustin Church in Intramuros, Manila
San Agustin Church in Intramuros by Fmgverzon – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Built around 1571, this church is considered as the oldest in the country. This church has surely witnessed every single event in Manila from the day it was built, from the rise and fall of the Spanish regime, the British Invasion, the American Occupation, Japanese Intrusion, to the modern-day period. People on tour and those passers-by in Intramuros would definitely stop over the church to take pictures or perhaps go in if they catch it open. The rich stories that it’s walls have seen through the years is profound. The church is so iconic both in history and heritage that UNESCO declared it as one of the Philippine’s Heritage Sites along with the 3 other churches here in the country.
General Luna St., Intramuros, Manila
Mass Schedule: Saturday – 7 am, 5:30 pm
Sunday – 8 am, 10 am-6 pm
2. Paoay Church in Paoay, Ilocos Norte
You have just seen one of the Heritage Sites here in the country, but did you know that there’s another church up in the north which bears the same name as the first church mentioned here and is also included among the Baroque Churches of the Philippines list of UNESCO? You guessed right- The Saint Augustine Church of Paoay. Built in 1694, this church painstakingly took more than a decade to get completed. It’s glorious façade still stands at it is. There have been several reconstructions made but the church still maintains that old and classic vibe.
Currimao-Paoay-Suba-Balaco Road Paoay, Ilocos Norte
Mass Schedule: Everyday 6:30 am and 8 am
3. Miag-ao Church in Miag-ao, Iloilo
Santo Tomas de Villanueva Parish Office / Miag-ao Church
Otherwise known as the Church of Saint Thomas of Villanueva, Miag-ao church is also reputable for its age. Like the Paoay Church, Miag-ao is also a Baroque Style Church. It’s façade still remains as is, with its meticulously carved design and antique vibe. It also has two belfries each with a different style. The architectural design of this church never fails to awe any visitors both from the country and from the foreign lands. Like Paoay Church and San Agustin Church, it is also listed in the World Heritage Sites of UNESCO.
Mass Schedule: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday – 5:30 am
Wednesday, Saturday, and 1st Friday – 5:30 am, 5:00 pm
Sunday – 5:30 am, 7:15 am, 9:00 am, 5:00 pm
4. Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Masjid in Cotabato City
Cotabato Grand Mosque
The Philippines not only boasts of grandiose churches but also of splendid Masjids (Mosques). One of which and probably the greatest of them all is the Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Masjid in Cotabato City. Its white structure is intricately designed with a touch of golden color. It is tucked away from the heart of the city so it would be really great for devotees as well as tourists to have a piece of serenity while admiring the sheer beauty of this mosque. Thanks to the generous gift of the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam, this magnificent temple has been erected and it has been astonishing a lot of people from all around the country.
Barangay Kalanganan Dos, Cotabato City
5. Largest Rosary in Tagum City
Largest Rosary at Christ the King Parish of Tagum City photo from Tripadvisor
85.5 meters long of linked beads adorn the pathway to the statue of the Risen Christ at Christ the King Cathedral of Tagum City. The beads are made from ironwood and are carefully linked together by chains. It is thought to be the largest rosary in the world beating the record of Brazil with its 35-meter rosary. Although the records hasn’t been set yet, people who come visit this magnanimous structure would often call it the World’s Largest.
Christ the King Church, Tagum City
6. Taoist Temple in Cebu City
Taoist Temple Cebu
Looking for a privy place where you get to indulge in history and religion while you are in Cebu? Look no further, because The Taoist Temple is the place to be. This colorful temple is inside a subdivision so it would be best to have your cabs or cars waiting for you while you take pictures around the place. Enjoy admiring the architectural design of the temple and the top-notch view of Cebu City. Just bear in mind that you need to follow some of the restriction for some places for photo ops.
Beverly Hills Subdivision, Cebu City
7. Monastery of Transfiguration in Bukidnon
Monastery of the Transfiguration
Meditation and praying would always be great to do while in the Monastery of Transfiguration. The simple pyramid-shaped shape of this church and the chaste interiors are all quite inviting for all those soul seekers out there. The place is safely tucked away from all the noise of the of the busy cities and towns. You can only get here through a habal habal ride, or through driving to the place with your cars. If you’re in dire need of a retreat, then this is a definite hit.
San Jose Hill, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon
8. Tamayong Prayer Mountain in Davao City
Prayer Mountain photo from The Garden of Eden Restored
Picture hectares of well-maintained garden, serene environment, beautiful flowers, and mesmerizing scenery, and you will get Tamayong Prayer Mountain. Just when you thought you’ve already had a full grasp of Davao City, dropping by this place would surely make your trip here even more unforgettable. Just be mindful of the dress code, as well as the authorization letter you need to secure first before planning to get there, and also don’t forget to bring 100 pesos pax entrance fee as well.
Calinan District, Davao City, Davao del Sur
9. Basilica of St. Martin de Tours in Taal Batangas
“The facade of the St. Martin Of Tours” by Eric Jam. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
A trip to Batangas would never be complete without dropping by to pray in the Basilica de Minore de Tours. This magnanimous church has a reputation for being one of the oldest church in the country and the largest in Asia. It’s simple but elegant façade is perfectly matched with its magnificent interior. Built in 1575, the original church was located somewhere in San Nicholas, but it was destroyed by the eruption of Taal thus it was reconstructed sometime in 1775 in it’s current location today.
Calle San Martin, Taal, Batangas
Mass schedule: Daily – 6:00 am
Wednesday and Saturday – 5:00 pm
Sunday – 5:30 am, 7:30 am., 9:30 am, 5:00 pm
10. Seng Guan Temple in Manila
Seng Guan Temple photo by Elle’s Wanderland
Seng Guan Temple is also known as the Temple of Ten Thousand Buddhas and it is located at Narra St. Tondo Manila. Its large stupas is among the structures you would easily spot while strolling around Divisoria. Seng Guan Temple is thought to be the most important Buddhist temple in the Philippines. It’s superb golden Buddha statues are a must see. Marvel at the wonders of Buddhism while you observe proper decorum inside one of the most beautiful Buddhist Temple in the Philippines.
Narra St. Tondo, Manila
Fill your fascination for antiquity while strolling around these marvelous religious edifices. These structures have tested time and witnessed the changes in the country. Other than this, their very existence all over the country serves as the physical embodiment of the faith of the Filipino people, their relentless faith, their colorful belief, and unwavering souls.
The places listed above also shows the different cultures present in the country, all trying to work to coexists peacefully towards a common goal.