“Explore the beauty and history of Manila Cathedral…”
Simply known as Manila Cathedral, the Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica is one of the most visited Roman Catholic churches in Manila. It is primarily dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary as Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. The cathedral is located at Plaza de Roma in the district of Intramuros, which happens to be a famous tourist destination in the country. Established in 1571 by Padre Juan de Vivero, the parish church was owned and administered by the diocese of Mexico. On February 6, 1579, the Manila Cathedral was separated forming a detached diocese after Pope Gregory XIII issued a Papal bull Illius Fulti Praesido. The church was consecrated in December 21, 1581 by the first Bishop of Manila, Bishop Domingo de Salazar, wherein it was formally declared as a cathedral.
Over time, the cathedral was destroyed and damaged for countless times. In fact, its most recent incarnation was completed in 1958. The first structure of the church was made from nipa, bamboo and wood. Unfortunately, it was destroyed by a fire in 1583. It was rebuilt in 1592 using stone for the new structure. In 1600, it was destroyed by an earthquake. The third construction of the cathedral was done in 1614 with bigger design consisting of seven chapels and three naves. But then again, it was shaken by an earthquake in 1645. For the fourth times, the cathedral was rebuilt from 1654 to 1671. Manila Cathedral was seriously damaged by several strong earthquakes as years pass by. Even if the church underwent numerous repairs, it remains a precious possession exhibiting a wealthy history.
Aside from the regular mass, the Manila Cathedral hosts special masses for wedding, baptism, feast, blessing and funeral. As a matter of fact, it hosted the funerals of two former Presidents of the Philippines:
- Carlos P. Garcia – 8th President of the Republic of the Philippines (1957-1961)
- Corazon C. Aquino – 11th President of the Republic of the Philippines (1986-1992)
The details of the shrine were meticulously crafted. Most of the artworks inside the cathedral were handcrafted by Italian artists. Sculptor Angelo Fattinanzi made the statues of Saint Rose of Lima. Meanwhile, sculptress Livia Papini crafted Saint Jacob, Saint Andrew and St. Anthony the Abbott. The statue of St. Francis Xavier and St. Polycarp was done by Alcide Tico.
The Manila Cathedral is open to public. Many tourists from different parts of the country and the world visit the basilica to witness how it surpass the test of time.