Minor Basilica and Metropolitan Cathedral of Immaculate Conception / The Manila Cathedral

After visiting the National Shrine of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we headed right away to Intramuros to visit the Minor Basilica and Metropolitan Cathedral of Immaculate Conception or better known to many as the Manila Cathedral. I have been in this church numerous times especially during the Grand Marian Procession (celebrated every December). The 445 year old Basilica is dedicated to Our Lady of Immaculate conception, the Patroness of the Philippines.
IMG_0212ttInterestingly, today’s Cathedral is actually the eighth church to be erected on the site. The Church of Manila was originally governed by friar orders until 1581 when Pope Gregory XIII created the diocese of Manila raising the the status of the church into a cathedral under the title of the Inmaculada Concepcion de la Virgen Maria under the governance of its first bishop , Fray Domingo Salazar. 20160724_113901tThe church underwent numerous restoration and renovation all through out its years as it was utterly damaged and destroyed several times due to natural calamity and during the world war. The church was mercilessly destroyed during the Battle of Liberation in 1945.  The ruins of the church remained on site and the restoration took place in 1954 under Cardinal Rufino Jiao Santosand under the supervision of the notable Filipino architect Fernando H. Ocampo. 20160724_122519_Richtone(HDR)tInstead of a new design, Ocampo decided to make the Cathedral’s appearance closely similar to its predecessor yet applying modern approach to it that makes the church a lot more spacious. “Ocampo’s cathedral was made more spatially and visually interesting by its striking Neo-Romanesque façade, Byzantine motifs, bronze doors, pineapple finials, and many other artistic ornamentations. It has a particularly eclectic character, brought about by the mixture of revival, renaissance, and modern styles with a dominantly Marian theme as a tribute to the Immaculate Conception, the cathedral’s titular patroness.”(ManilaCathedral.PH).


The Cathedral’s main door

The upper most portion of the main door or better called as the “Tympanum” has a  Latin inscription of it “Tibi cordi tuo immaculato concredimus nos ac consecramus” which means “To your Immaculate Heart we are entrusted for safekeeping and consecrated”20160724_113736tA marker placed outside the church signifying the issuing of Pope John Paul II of a papal bull Quod Ipsum on April 27, 1981, elevating the shrine to a minor basilica.20160724_110758_Richtone(HDR)tThe central nave and vaulted ceiling of the cathedral20160724_110816_Richtone(HDR)tA closer look of the altar and the decorated floors with images and symbols. These are actually the styles of the three former Archbishops of Manila which includes Rufino Cardinal Santos y Jiao (with motto – Caritas in Dilectione “Love in Love”) ; Jaime Cardinal Sin y Lachica (with motto – Serviam
“I will serve”) and Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales y Borbon (with motto – SI MORTUUM FUERIT FRUCTUM AFFERT (If it dies, it bears fruit). The coat of arms of the current Archbishop (Cardinal Tagle) is not yet displayed .20160724_110838_Richtone(HDR)ttThe high altar with the image of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception at the center.20160724_110852_Richtone(HDR)tThe view of the Choir loft from the altar. You can also see the Cathedral’s pipe organ which is said to be the biggest pipe organ in the country and possibly in South East Asia. The Pipe Organ was built in 1958 by the Flemish Organ-building Company Pels& Sohn (Bernhard Pels) and was erected by Mr. Jose Loinaz of Manila and P. Andriessen of Holland. It was later restored in 2006 by Diego Cera Organ Builders (the same team behind the restoration and preservation of the historic Bamboo Organ in Las Piñas)20160724_112035_Richtone(HDR)tAt the side of the alter is an intricately decorated pulpit. The canony of the altar also has a Latin inscription “Tota Pulchra es Maria et Macula Originalis Non est in Te “, an antiphon which means “You are all beautiful, Mary, and the original sin is not in you.”20160724_111140_Richtone(HDR)tBoth sides of the church are chapels dedicated to different saints. Some are being used for exhibits of some ecclesiastical items or anything alike. This one in particular will feature paintings depicting the “Way of the Kingdom” according to Saint Lukes20160724_111409_Richtone(HDR)tCrucified Christ20160724_111440_Richtone(HDR)tThe image of Ina Poon Bato (The Patroness of Zambales) also enthroned on the Cathedral 20160724_111648_Richtone(HDR)tThe marvelous replica of the La Pieta20160724_111741_Richtone(HDR)tInside the Saint John The Baptist Baptistry is this stunning bronze-finish baptismal font by Publio Morbiducci. 20160724_111820_Richtone(HDR)tA polychrome life-sized statue of the Immaculate Conception.20160724_111051_Richtone(HDR)ttStatue of Saint Peter (attributed to Arnolfo di Cambio)

For the activities you can do when visiting the church, kindly use your Pilgrim’s passport for your reference. Activities might include the recital of Year of Mercy Prayer, praying in Adoration Chapel, visitin Manila Cathedral crypt and pray for the souls of the Archbishops, giving donations for homeless and more.

How to Get Here:

From Monumento, take the LRT, get-off at Doroteo Jose station then take a jeepney with the signboard Sta. Cruz/Pier. That route will pass by the Manila Cathedral/Fort Santiago.

or from the Monumento LRT station, you can take the Sta. Cruz/Pier jeepney at once. This option will take a longer time, but you won’t have to transfer vehicles.

You can also take the EDSA route (by bus or the colorum vans), get off at the Quezon Ave., and from there you can take Quiapo/Pier jeepneys.

22 thoughts on “Minor Basilica and Metropolitan Cathedral of Immaculate Conception / The Manila Cathedral”

  1. Ivana J says:

    Such a nice photos, interior of the cathedral is so stunning xoxo


  2. This cathedral is really stunning. Especially the main door. I love exploring cathedrals throughout Europe. Portugal has some really stunning ones. The sculptures and artwork are always so incredible.

  3. ROBERT LEE says:

    Going to Intramuros, you get to visit the two churches which are close together. I have only been to the Manila Cathedral due to weddings pero more at San Agustin.

    Did you also see the museum? they have lots of paintings and merong libingan ng cremated sa likod. My lola is there.

  4. Tiina A says:

    So much gorgeous details! I like the idea having an exhibition in a church. There are several topics that could be exhibited, hopefully other churches would do the same.

  5. Lizelle Cruz says:

    Manila Cathedral is really beautiful!! I have been there many times but I still remain in awe every time

  6. This cathedral is really beautiful. I love the picture quality. The design is incredible! The idea of exhibition is really nice. Thanks for the wonderful post!

  7. I am glad that the church was restored. It is so important to take care of one’s cultural heritage. I also find Neo-Romanesque churches to be very beautiful. There are some in the south of France that I like very much.

  8. Joanna says:

    If I wouldn’t have read your entire blog post and just look at the photos I would have thought it is a cathedral in Italy, Florence maybe. It’s nice to see this type of architecture in Manila.

  9. You’re officially the go-to blog for Philippine churches! I loved Manila Cathedral the moment I laid eyes on it. I wonder why it’s not UNESCO Heritage Site. It really has unique architecture

  10. Madz says:

    I haven’t been to this church but I love the interiors.It looks majestic based on your pictures.It reminds me a bit of our Lady of Manaoag.

  11. theresa says:

    Oh my gosh! I’m speechless. They were so nice you would think the sculptures are made with the highest class. It is really indeed one of the breathtaking church spots in the country.

  12. Lester says:

    Back at it again with the awesome churches man. The decorations on the floor looks so ornate. The work put into these churches are amazing. Hispanic architecture is topnotch!

  13. Nica says:

    Great photos! The church decor inside is lovely I haven’t visited this church yet and I surely will next time. Nice info you have here keep it up! 🙂

  14. These churches you capture are so beautiful. Especially love the pictures inside the church.

  15. This basilica is full of divine energy and spiritual balance.I can fill the love of god and I would like to visit this serene and wonderful place for prayers and blessing.

  16. Franc Ramon says:

    I was able to visit this church and its really majestic from the inside. It’s always nice to visit the cathedral.

  17. I have noticed that you have a thing for architecture?! Me too and the best ones are usually in religious buildings.

  18. Kathy Kenny Ngo says:

    I’ve been here before and it was a great experience with my son. I can still remember how we got lost just to go there. And we even took a 30min walk because of this. But overall, it is such a wonderful experience and I will surely treasure it.

  19. Jojo Vito says:

    I really like to structure of this Church. It’s so beautiful 🙂

  20. lex says:

    am a catholic and going through this post brings alot to mind and faith.. thanks Dreammer for this one.

  21. liz cleland says:

    I have always wanted to venture here! I also enjoy your watermark on your photos, lovely!

  22. Martine says:

    I love going to these types of old and restored churches, no matter where in the world. I’ve only been to Manila Cathedral and the San Agustin Church in this area; I like intramuros in general because of the history. You should check out San Sebastián, also within old Manila! It’s the only gothic, iron church here in Asia.

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