Halfway through December, the much awaited tradition of Simbang Gabi (the yearly 9-day Christmal vigil celebrated with dawn masses) begins.
Aside from being a fun opportunity for the family to hear mass together, Simbang gabi is a great way to get in touch with the real reason for the season.
Here are the most magnificent Catholic churches around Metro Manila where you can find solemnity amid the hustle and bustle of the holidays.
Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica
Right in the heart of Plaza de Roma in Intramuros in Manila stands this regal structure of Neo-romanesque architecture. More commonly known as the Manila Cathedral, it was founded in 1571 and has seen many milestones.
San Agustin Church
It is one of the oldest structures in the country that withstood two world wars and countless natural calamities.
It is one of four churches to be named a UNESCO world heritage site.
Immaculate Conception Cathedral – Cubao
The seat of the diocese of Cubao was founded in 1950. Its Italian-Romanesque style is apparent in its stunning columns and ceilings.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Shrine
A relatively new addition to the beautiful churches in the Philippines, having been built only in 1954, this church in New Manila, Quezon city has charmed many churchgoers with its Modernist architectural style and massive structure.
photo: lakad pilipinas
San Sebastian Church
Known for being the only all-steel church in the country, this architectural gem in Plaza del Carmen, Manila has already been declared a National historical landmark.
It has also made it to the list of possible UNESCO World Heritage sites. Its Gothic twin spires complement the equally stunning interiors of the church.
St. Joseph Church
Commonly known as Las Piñas Church, St. Joseph church houses the world-famous Las Piñas bamboo organ, the only known oldest and largest bamboo organ existing in the world.
The beauty of the church and the bamboo organ has made this a popular tourist destination in Las Piñas.
In 2003, the Las Piñas bamboo organ has been declared a National Historical Treasure.
Minor Basilica of St. Lorenzo Ruiz
Better known as Binondo church was built in 1596 and was once considered as one of the most beautiful churches in the country, until it was destroyed during the wars.
It has undergone many reconstructions but it was first reconstructed in 1852.What remains of the structure is the five-story, octagonal belfry. The colorful paintings on the ceiling make Binondo church a festive yet solemn place for Simbang Gabi.
Cathedral Parish of St. Andrew
Located just a few kilometers away from Las Piñas Church stands this seat of the Diocese of Parañaque. Also known as the Parañaque Cathedral, it is one of the oldest churches in the Philippines.
It was built in 1850.
Archdiocesan Shrine of St. Anne
Though the original church was destroyed by major earthquakes and calamities, St. Anne;s church still retained the original beauty of its barn-style Baroque architecture design.
Its facade underwent major changes but it remains a magnificent structure nestled in Taguig City.
Read: The brightest, prettiest places to enjoy Christmas in Manila
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