Taal Basilica. Photograph by Junsierra from Wikimedia Commons
Travel Best Lists

10 of the most beautiful churches in the Philippines

If you're doing the Visita Iglesia this week, wouldn't it be nice to stop by one of these lovely structures?
ANCX Staff | Apr 18 2019

The Philippines is a predominantly Catholic country due to the influence of the Spanish colonial era. For over 300 years, Spain did not only mold our religion and ethnic history but influenced many of our country’s churches. If you’re thinking of going out of town this Holy Week, we suggest including at least one of these beautiful churches in your Visita Iglesia itinerary.

 

Betis Church

Guagua, Pampanga

Photo by Judgefloro on Wikimedia Commons

The Baroque-inspired church was built back in 1660. Betis Church is tagged as the Sistine Chapel of the Philippines due to its outstanding European-styled murals and carvings. The interior is hand-painted with frescoes and trompe l’oeil artwork originally done by Macario Ligon. Because of its exquisiteness, it is declared as a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum and the NCCA.

 

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Caleruega Church

Bgry. Caylaway, Batulao, Nasugbu, Batangas

Photo by Devinceoy on Wikimedia Commons

Caleruega’s name is inspired from a town in Spain, which was the birthplace of St. Dominic de Guzman, father of the Order of Preachers. The Caleruega Church is rested on top of a hill. The church is enclosed with vibrant greenery and lovely gardens that never fail to fascinate visitors. The Caleruega is known as a place for reflection and relaxation. One of its features is a retreat house.

 

Callao Cave Chapel

Peñablanca, Cagayan

Callao Cave Chapel is a limestone cave made of seven enormous chambers: Chapel, Column, Skeleton, Elephant’s Head, Praying Angel, Rocket, Lion’s Head and Dog’s Head Formations. Hence, to be able to witness Callao’s full beauty, you need to power through an uphill trek. Out of all the chambers, the chapel is the most captivating. When the light is cast upon the hall through the opening of the cave, the effect is magical.

 

The Episcopal Church of Saint Mary the Virgin

Staunton Rd, Sagada, Mountain Province

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The church of St. Mary The Virgin in Sagada, also known as the “Angelican Church,” is said to be the oldest church in Cordillera. It was founded by Rev. John Staunton in 1900s and even survived World War II. The native residents of Sagada were able to restore and preserve its original structure. Aside from the typical altar with a cluster of rocks as its base, there are no photographs, or murals or artworks that can be seen, which gives the place not the appearance of plainness but an air of mystique.

 

Miag-ao Church

Zulueta Ave, Miagao, Iloilo 

Photo by Rachel Leyritana on Wikimedia Commons

Well-known for its artistic sculptural relief carved on its facade, the church was completed in 1797. The church served as a stronghold against Muslim raiders back in the old days. Miag-ao Church is considered an architectural beauty due to its extraordinary construction and exceptional design. The yellowish hue of the facade is attributed to the construction resources used such as adobe, egg, coral and limestone.

 

Paoay Church

Marcos Ave, Paoay, Ilocos Norte

Photo by Daryl Refuerzo on Wikimedia Commons

Paoay Church, also known as the St. Augustine Church, was completed in 1894 under the leadership of Fr. Antonio Estavillo. The structure of the church is called “Earthquake Baroque” due to its distinctive combination of gothic and oriental designs. Its facade evokes a Gothic style: the gables show Chinese elements, while the niches on the walls suggest a Javanese influence. Another factor that makes Paoay Church a perfect example of “earthquake baroque” is its outrageous sized buttresses that outline the building.

 

Mt. Carmel Chapel

Basco, Batanes

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Mt. Carmel Chapel is truly a picturesque icon atop the hill of Tukon and against the northern winds that Batanes is famous for. Architects Joven Ignacio and Tina Torralba together with the local artisans constructed the chapel and was inspired by the traditional Ivatan stone houses. One can have a beautiful panoramic view of the West Philippine Sea and the Pacific Ocean from the chapel.

 

St. Andrew Kim Parish

Project Pangarap, Bocaue, Bulacan

Photo by Judgefloro on Wikimedia Commons

Inspired by a Korean and European structural design, the parish was built to pay tribute to the first Korean Catholic priest who studied and sought refuge in Bulacan. Because of its clean, minimalist treatment dominated with white, black and gold motifs, the parish gives out a beaming luminosity underneath a clear bright sky. In addition, aside from its distinct architecture, the landscaping is notably inspiring.

 

Daraga Church

Sta. Maria Street, Daraga, Albay

Photo by Dexbaldon on Wikimedia Commons

Located in a serene hill in the town of Daraga, the church of Nuestra Señora de la Porteria (Our Lady of the Gate) is a marvelous gift from the Franciscan missionaries to Daraga. With an overlooking view of the Mayon Volcano and the sea, Daraga Church is said to be one of the architectural and cultural gems in the Philippines. It is definitely a blend of architectural styles: Renaissance Gothic and Mexican baroque. Also, the church’s richly ornamented facade was carefully engraved from volcanic stones.

 

Basilica of San Martin de Torres (Taal Basilica)

Taal, Batangas

Photo by Bluesgnt 30 on Wikimedia Commons

Acknowledged to be the largest church in the Philippines and in Asia, standing 96 meters long and 45 meters wide, Taal Basilica is one astonishing landmark that sits on the crest of a hill right at the center of town. The church’s most noticeable feature is its facade that consists of a single mass of stone shaped into rich and complex designs. The historical baroque church is made of coral stones and adobe.

 

This article originally appeared on Metro.style