Take Me to Church "Manila Cathedral" - Beautiful Sunday

in beautifulsunday •  2 years ago  (edited)

My Share for #BeautifulSunday initiated by @ace108

Religious architecture captivates me and always takes my breath away everytime I visit churches. Every column, the bricks used, the history, painted glass, artwork all plays a part in the grand orchestra which makes up the design of the cathedral. Located at Intramuros, Manila built in 1851 this cathedral has been destroyed numerous times and is on it's eighth design.

Manila Cathedral


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Often visited by tourists I have been wanting to visit this cathedral for some time now. Ever since my fascination with religious architecture has been ignited this church has been on my list. My grand plan is to visit all the magnificent churches in our country to quench my fascination. My wife has always been telling me that I am like enchanted whenever I step inside a church and start shooting. I do not notice the time that passes whenever I let myself loose with my passion.

After hours of shooting I would just feel that my back is beginning to ache but still I go on until I have covered everything. Although that is not always the case it is always best when the church is empty as you won't be disturbing anyone. You could move around easily and explore your creativity.


The cathedral has gone thru a lot of major reconstructions and renovations.

  • 1581 - Made from bamboo, nipa and wood the church was constructed. Due to a typhoon it was badly damaged in 1582.
  • 1583 - A fire started from San Agustin Church during the funeral of the Governor General. The fire burned a large portion the city including this church.
  • 1592 - The church was rebuilt with stone but in 1600 and earthquake destroyed a portion of the church.
  • 1614 - The third transformation was done but in 1645 it was again devastated by an earthquake.


  • 1654 to 1681 - The fourth transformation into a cathedral materialized but was demolished in 1751.

  • 1760 - The fifth reconstruction and inauguration as a cathedral. In 1850 was again renovated but was once again destroyed by and earthquake in 1852

  • 1954 - 1858 - The reconstruction of the sixth version and in 1863 was destroyed by another strong earthquake.

  • 1879 - The seventh transformation and was re enagurated in 1879. Adding a dome as a reference to astronomical longitudes. In 1945 it was bombed and destroyed during the Battle of Manila in World War 2. The cathedral was reduced to ruins after the bombing.

  • 1953 to 1958 - This is the present cathedral today which was named Basilica of the Immaculate Conception by Pope John Paul II in 1981.


The church has been thru a lot of disasters but now still stands as one of the magnificent churches in our country.


The tympanum which is the wall just above the entrance to the church has Latin inscriptions.

Tibi Cordi Tuo Immaculato Concredimus Nos Ac Concecramus

The English translation
To Thy Immaculate Heart, Entrust us and Cincecrate us


The holy water front is in the image of an angel with one wing bearing a cloth.


The floors and columns are paved with Carrara marble which was fabricated in Italy. Along with the altar, pulpit and throne which is also made from Italian marble.


In the center is a bronze statue of the Immaculate Conception created by an Italian artist named Vincenzo Assenza from 1915- 1981.


The two columns beside the life sized statue are made from green Carrara marble.


Painted glass are one of my favorite parts of a church. A depiction of Saints and stories are told by this art form which are dramatically illuminated by sunshine. It always takes me a few moments just to appreciate the painted glass.


The prayer box which every church has a place for confession. It is indicated with the number 3 which tells that there are a couple more around the church. I noticed a green bulb just above each door to indicate if it is occupied but I think there is a specific time for confession.


The design on the arches and columns are magnificent which are dramatically lighted up to leave you in amazement.


There is a mass on going but on the side there is a line where visitors could still explore the place without disturbing the church goers. No flash photography and discretion is advised when taking photos.


At the balcony is a grand pipe organ which unfortunately I was not able to take a closer look. It was said that this pipe organ it the largest in the country. The sound of the pipe organ gives a gothic feel that echoes within the church.


The statue of Saint Peter who sits on a throne is dedicated and in remembrance of our late president Sergio Osmenia (1878-1961). He was the fourth president of the Philippines from 1944 to 1946.



Sculpture of an Apostle
Recovered from the ruins from the 7th version of the cathedral
Artist Unknown


More painted glass adorn the room where some of the sculptures are housed.


On another area there is a statue of Jesus Christ which is crucified. People also come by this area to pray.


La Pieta

An exact replica of one of the famous creations of Michelangelo Buonarroti's "Pieta". A scene of the Virgin Mary cradling the body of Jesus which is full of sorrow and very moving. This is the closest I could get to the actual work of Michelangelo which is at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City.

This exact replica is made from the mold that was produced from the original. There are two of these replicas one is before us and another one is at a memorial park called Loyola in Marikina. The original is made from Carrara marble in which the replica is also made from.



This section is also decorated with painted glass windows which adds to the beauty of the cathedral. Unfortunately there is no mention to the artists.


It was a breath taking scene and experience inside the cathedral but could not explore any further due to the ongoing mass. I believe that there is still so much to see and learn from the inside. Instead we went out thru the side door and explored the outside area.


Here is a statue of Our Lady of Fatima a gift from the Catholic Women's League.


From below the bell tower can be observed. The architect who re designed the cathedral is Fernando Ocampo with a Neo Romanesque facade, details were added like bronze doors and decorative ornaments like the pineapple on the ledges.


The bell tower clock is spot on with the time and perfectly matched the time on my phone. It is a beauty and I wish I could see more of the tower.


As we leave thru the side exit there is a stall that sells souvenirs and if you are not from around here. It would be nice to get something to remember this church with.


It was an amazing time spent at this church and I could truly say that it was a beautiful experience. Seeing and learning how it went thru disasters. Still stands before us going thru transformations and echoes remnants from the past. It breathes and whispers telling us to have faith and believe even when times are rough. Earthquakes and typhoons of life may break us but we could always come back up and evolve into something stronger and beautiful.

Thanks for joining me and have an #beautifulsunday everyone.

If you would like to check my other works on Church architecture under Take Me to Church

San Agustin Church

Immaculate Heart Convent

Our Lady of the Pillar Cathedral

St. Mary Magdalene Church


Photos are original shot from
Manila Cathedral

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All photos are original and taken with

Lumix GX85 Olympus 40-150 mm and 12-32 mm

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The church is so peaceful that everyone gets in there will stay calm and emotionally refreshed.

There were actually a lot of visitors and tourists that time. There was a cordon where we could go in order not to disturb the church goers. But it was quite and you could only hear the ongoing mass.

Such a historic building with a great recovery from fire and earthquake

It has been thru a lot but we are glad it still stands. Now it is earthquake proof. Thanks @ace108

Wow. I think it's interesting how half a world apart, the structure/architecture of churches is quite similar (I mean, religion is global afterall, but architecture isn't). This church has been through a lot.

I find it interesting that in the middle, the statue is of Mary and not of Christ. I think here, in Malta, most churches I've been to have a statue of Jesus on the cross.

I have to agree with the stained glass being the favourite. It is artistic and it sometimes tends to take a non realist approach, which I appreciate a lot more. I find them fascinating!

Every church has its own charm we have a lot that I still need to visit. Hopefully soon. Whenever I shoot it brings me to dizzying heights. Especially when no one is around the last one that I did that was empty was Our Lady of the Pillar Cathedral my heart was beating faster. I can't imagine what I would feel if I ever visit other churches from around the world. Not to mention the stained glass glad to hear you love them too. It gives me a medieval feel to it. I spoke to much already lol sometimes I get carried away lol.

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Have a nice day and sincerely yours,

The stained glass windows are awesome. I liked the statue of the apostle. Thanks for sharing this magnificent church photos.

The stained glass are really beautiful. There were still a couple which I was not able to shoot. I'm glad you liked the photos.

Absolutely stunning @watersnake101

Old architecture really is quite inspiring and the religious based architecture; being the ruling factor of yesteryear, had some of the most amazing.

Great images.


Thank you very much. Your words means a lot. Now I just need to go out more.

You're welcome