Being the only predominantly catholic country within Asia, the Philippines has an abundance of beautiful churches you can visit. Churches also gives insight on the dominant architectural concepts during its time of construction. Whether you are visiting for a pilgrimage or just appreciating the architecture this guide has got you covered with the most beautiful churches around Philippines.
The churches in our list are easily accessible from Manila by public transportation. You can also choose to go for a car rental for greater flexibility in your travel routes. To get to Manila, we at Skyscanner offer you a simple way to compare multiple travel sites and airlines to find the cheapest flight deal to Manila. Check out the flight deals here!
San Agustin Church
Located within the walls of the historical Intramuros, the San Agustin Church is the oldest church in the country. With its Baroque architecture and its trompe l’oeil murals, no wonder it is a UNESCO World Heritage site, the only one in Manila.
There is also the San Agustin Museum nearby that you can visit to get a glimpse of the past. It features various religious works from the Spanish Colonial Period in the former monastery of the church.
Because it is less than 30 minutes away from the airport it can be a quick stop before going to the place you are staying in while in Manila.
Another gem within Manila is the Manila Cathedral. The seat of power of the Archdiocese of Manila this massive 3,000 square meter church features multi-layered arches in the outside and marble altar inside. This is also within walking distance from the San Agustin Church so you can hit both places in one trip.
This church has withstood many tribulations from when it was originally built in 1581. It was destroyed by many fires and earthquakes until its current form was completed in 1958 after it was bombarded in World War II.
Home of the famous Black Nazarene this church is a basilica in the Mexican Baroque style. A novena in honor of the Black Nazarene is held every Friday that is attended by thousands of devotees. The Black Nazarene is said to be miraculous therefore there are many people that kiss the image’s foot or wipe it with their handkerchief.
It is also iconic for its celebration of the translacion every Feast Day of the Black Nazarene every January 9. Many devotees flock the streets of Manila to fulfill their panata to either repent their sins or give back for the blessings they receive all year.
Known as the shrine of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage, the Antipolo Cathedral is a must for people who travel a lot. People would often visit this church to wish for safe travels and was even visited by the national hero Jose Rizal as a boy.
Its current form was completed in 1954 after being destroyed by a bombardment in World War II. Nonetheless, this shrine remains to be the most iconic churches near the metro for its beautiful architecture.
Being one of the top pilgrimage spots in the country, there are many people that visit Antipolo Church around Holy Week. Especially during Maundy Thursday when the penitential walk towards the church is done.
Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Tagaytay
If you’re tired of the hustle and bustle of Manila you may want to visit a Tagaytay church for a quieter and slightly cooler church visit. Located along the Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway it is only a couple of hours away from Manila. It features a beautiful front yard and a water fountain right at the entrance. Inside you are greeted with a wide aisle and a spacious interior. It is no wonder that this is one of the top spots for weddings and renewal of vows.
The most interesting part of the church is its Candle Chapel. The visitors can light a candle with a different color depending on their petition.
Divine Word Seminary, Tagaytay
Another noteworthy one of the churches in Tagaytay is the Divine Word Seminary. A place where you can feel the solemnity of prayer. Its lush greenery together with the cold breeze of Tagaytay makes it an ideal place to reflect and contemplate about life.
Simala Church, Cebu
Going further south to Cebu we have the Simala Church also known as the Monastery of the Holy Eucharist. Located on an isolated hill in Brgy. Lindogon, Sibonga it is a popular pilgrimage site for people to pray to the Blessed Virgin Mary. To get to the church you have to climb the hill it is on as a penitence before entering the church.
Inside the church you will see the colorful artwork on the ceiling and a glorious altar in front. There is also a museum where different statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary are displayed. You can also write letters and prayers to the Blessed Virgin Mary in the prayer station.
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Starting our exploration of churches to the north we start with the Barasoain Church. Located 42 kilometers away from Manila this Baroque style church is known as the “Cradle of Democracy in the East”. It earned this name from being the site of the First Philippine Republic when President Emilio Aguinaldo decided to move the capital from Cavite to Malolos.
Historical importance aside, you can feast your eyes on its beautiful façade and the intricate carvings on its doors. Inside you are greeted with several paintings and the regal altar in all its glory. Beside the church there is also the Barasoain Museum that goes into the details of the historical events that took place in this church much deeper.
Five hours from Manila is the Manaoag Church also known as the Minor Basilica of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary of Manaoag. Our Lady of Manaoag has countless tales of miracles and healing, some of which are depicted in the artwork inside the church. There are also many icons including the Black Nazarene and several statues of the Virgin Mary.
Aside from the church itself, there are also many activities that can be done around the vicinity. If you want a spot to meditate and reflect you can visit the Rosary Garden where you can make your way to the statues that represent the mysteries of the rosary. You can even plan for a side trip to the Sunflower Maze Farm in Tayug if you plan your visit within the month of May.
Located in Ilocos Norte, the defining feature of the Paoay Church are the 24 massive buttresses that line the church’s side and back. This was adaptation made to prevent the possible destruction of the church because of earthquakes. Aside from its baroque architecture, the façade also has motifs similar to those found in Javanese architecture. Considering its history and beauty it is no wonder that UNESCO declared it as a World Heritage Site in 1993.
Aside from the beautiful Paoay Church, you can also visit the windmills in Bangui or explore the Paoay Sand Dunes for an exhilarating ride. You can also make a side trip to another UNESCO World Heritage Site in the historic roads of Vigan, Ilocos Sur.
The Philippines truly has a myriad of beautiful churches to visit whether you just want to appreciate the history and architecture or just want a repose from the hustle and bustle of life. Flying across the Philippines could be a travel nightmare, but we could help ease it out without multi-city flight search tool available in Skyscanner. Visit our site, we could help you use the multi-city tool, starting city to your next city destinations and finally, departure dates.