We’ve previously mentioned some of the old, historical churches in the Philippines. One of these churches is the Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica (also known as Basilica of the Immaculate Conception).
In front of the Manila Cathedral is the Plaza de Roma. The posted information reveals that it was formerly called Plaza Mayor during the Spanish period, renamed Plaza McKinley during the American occupation, then Plaza de Roma in 1961 to honor the Sacred College of Cardinals in Rome following the elevation of the first Filipino cardinal, Rufino J. Santos. At the center of the Plaza is a fountain, reported built in 1886, and a bronze monument of Spain’s Carlos IV, erected in 1824.
See the white statues at the main façade of the Manila Cathedral? These are famous saints: St. Rose of Lima (patroness of the Philippines by Angelo Fattinanzi), St. Jacob the Great, St. Andrew the Apostle (patron of saint of Manila, by Livia Papini); St. Francis Xavier (apostle of the Indies, by Alcide Tico), St. Polycarp and St. Anthony Abbot. If that trivia gave you a mental indigestion, get ready for another round.
The marker placed by the Philippines Historical Committee (which uses “Roman Catholic Cathedral of Manila”) also reveals some interesting information — the Cathedral was destroyed six times, then rebuilt (first Cathedral built in 1581 but damaged by typhoon in 1582; second Cathedral built of stone in 1592 but partially destroyed by earthquake in 1600; third Cathedral built in 1614 but destroyed by the earthquake of 1645; fourth Cathedral built in 1645-1671 but destroyed by the earthquake of 1863; fifth Cathedral built in 1870-1879 but destroyed during the Battle of Manila in 1945; sixth Cathedral reconstructed in 1954-1958.
It’s noteworthy that the Manila Cathedral’s official website mentions a seventh and eight cathedral, in addition to the elevation of the Manila Cathedral to a Minor Basilica. But, hey, these are details that we’re not going to dig deeper into.
We’ve been here three times. First was during the time I served as a best man in a wedding. Second when we checked it as a possible venue for our wedding. We went there more than a year ahead of our agreed wedding date, yet we found out that the date, as well as the nearest dates, were already fully booked. No wonder because the Manila Cathedral happens to be one of the most favorite venues for weddings (see also Nuestra Señora de Gracia Church, Malate Church and Church of Sta. Ana). This is safe choice among brides and wedding planners/ coordinators, so better book early.
The Cathedral is found in the walled fort Intramuros (Manila City). Directions on how to get here? Click and see the directions for these locations: Luneta Park, Manila Ocean Park, Manila Hotel and the Manila City Hall. The Cathedral is near these locations.