Visita Iglesia (Seven Church Visits) is an annual Holy Week tradition from a lot of Catholic folks. Whether you're in Rome or Macau, Cebu or Ilocos, there's always a lot of churches to visit. Below we're offering you a list of seven architecturally unique churches to visit in Manila if you're planning to stay here this Holy Week.
Parish of the Holy Sacrifice
University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City
Designed by National Artist for Architecture Leandro Locsin in 1955, this church is unique for its dome and a central altar. The centerpiece of the parish is yet another unique sculpture which was designed by Napoleon Abueva. The cross has two sides which features both the crucified and risen Christ. If that doesn't pique your interest, pay close attention to the Stations of the Cross paintings, one of which was by Vicente Manansala. Parking is available in the side streets.
Church of the Gesu
Ateneo de Manila University, Loyola Heights, Quezon City
This uniquely tetrahedral church was designed by Jose Pedro Recio and Carmelo Casas in 2002. The church looks awesome from many different perspectives and the triangular structure is said to signify the three points of the Holy Trinity. Parking is available in the campus.
St. Andrew the Apostle Church
Bel Air Village, Makati City
Another beautiful church from Locsin is St. Andrew which was completed in 1968. The giant cross dividing the church in the middle symbolises how St. Andrew how was crucified on an X-shaped cross. Apart from this feature, the wavy entrances and roof, combined with the cross, makes the church look like a giant tent which makes it very difficult to miss. Parking is available.
St. John Bosco Parish
Barangay San Lorenzo, Makati City
Built in 1976, this Parish in the Southern part of Makati was designed by National Artist for Architecture, Jose Maria Zaragoza. If the name doesn't ring a bell, one of his famous works is the iconic Meralco Building in Pasig. The parish, features a half dome roof which let's in light through a beautiful stained glass. The interior ceiling is criss-crossed with lattices making it look like a big beehive. Parking is available.
St. Alphonsus Mary Liguori Parish
Magallanes, Makati City
People passing by the SLEX or the Skyway will never miss this weird church in Magallanes. This structure with 13 giant arches acting as a ceiling was designed by Dominic Galicia in 2007. According to him, "the interior, becomes emblematic of redemption, of the new light that comes after darkness, of grace that comes after the tragedy of circumstance." For a little bit of history, the original church which was designed by Leandro Locsin burned down in 2004. The altar and crucifix used today survived that fire and was made a focal point of the new parish. If you're done doing the way of the cross at the garden, take a moment to reflect that it was created by National Artist for Landscape Architect Ildefonso “I.P.” Santos. Parking is available.
Baclaran Redemptorist Church
Baclaran, Paranaque City
The National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help is one of the more typical churches we have on our list. This Modern Romanesque church was designed by Cesar Concio and completed in 1958. Concio is a University of the Philippine alumni and designed several buildings in the UP Diliman campus including the Church of the Risen Lord, Melchor Hall, Palma Hall, and another iconic building in Makati, the Insular Life Building. Enjoy the attention to detail to this church specially the stepped roof design. Parking is available.
Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal National Shrine Parish
Sucat, Muntinlupa City
Our last church on the list was also designed by Zaragoza. Completed in 1980 (which makes it a millenial), this church has a uniquely prominent feature: the church's tall steeple is in the center instead of the side. In fact, the spire appears to flow down into the sides of the church making it look like a giant inverse ice cream cone. Once you're done with your Way of the Cross take a look East and you should be able to see Laguna Lake. Parking is available.