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Old Catholic Churches of the Philippines

The Philippines is considered to be the only catholic country in Asia. It is mainly because of the strong influence by the Catholic faith brought about by the Spanish discovery and occupation of the country. There are innumerable churches and cathedrals all over the country; these are the cogent evidence of the Catholic faith.

OLD CATHOLIC CHURCHES IN THE PHILIPPINES

The Philippines is considered to be the only catholic country in Asia. It is mainly because of the strong influence by the Catholic faith brought about by the Spanish discovery and occupation of the country. There are innumerable churches and cathedrals all over the country; these are the cogent evidence of the Catholic faith.

Here are some of the Old Catholic churches in the country.

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The Philippines was greatly influence by the Catholic faith especially during the Spanish occupation as evidenced by the basilicas and cathedrals scattered along the region, reflecting the architecture of the era – Baroque, Romanesque, etc.

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OUR LADY OF IMMACULATE CONCEPTION, BACLAYON, BOHOL

The Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Baclayon is considered to be one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. It is one of the best preserved Jesuit build churches in the region; although in the 19th century, the Augustinian Recollects added a modern facade and a number of stone buildings that now surround the church.

The first Spanish missionaries or doctrineros in the region, Fr. Juan de Torres and Fr. Gabriel Sanchez, first settled in Baclayon in 1595. Shortly after their arrival, a visita (chapel) was erected on the spot.

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SAN AGUSTIN CHURCH, INTRAMUROS, MANILA

Within the walls of the historical Intramuros stands the oldest church in the Philippines, the San Agustin Church. Built in 1599 and completed in 1607, it is one of the 4 baroque churches in the Philippines.

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THE OLD SIMBORIO CHURCH, KAWIT, CAVITE

Image Credit     SIMBORIO CHAPEL, PLARIDEL, BULACAN

One of the town’s major attractions is the Simborio Chapel. One of the oldest existing structure from the Spanish era, believed to have been constructed in the 1800s, is said to have been greatly unique from other similar structures because of its remarkably rather low height or elevation.

Image Credit  THE PAOAY CHURCH

This is one of the oldest churches in Philippines. Its construction started in 1704 and was completed in 1894 by the Augustinian friars led by Fr. Antonio Estavillo. Its construction primarily was intended to withstand earthquakes. And it could test the strength of the walls, because the church was damaged by an earthquake in 1706 and 1927. The walls of the church are 1.67 meters thick and are supported by 24 carved and massive buttresses. The design of the church is a mixture of Gothic, Oriental and Baroque influence.

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SAN SEBASTIAN CHURCH

The Order of the Agustinian Recollect (OAR) Parishes Manual cited that the San Sebastian church “is the first all-iron church in the world, the first iron edifice in Asia and the second in the world after Eiffle Tower.” It has its beginnings in 1621 when Don Bernardino Castillo, a generous patron and a well-known devotee of San Sebastian donated his lot for the dream of having a steel church in Asia become a reality.

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MAASIN CATHEDRAL, One of the oldest churches in the Philippines, Southern Leyte

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LUCBAN CHURCH is one of the oldest churches we have in Quezon province.

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BINONDO CHURCH is one of the oldest places of Christian worship in the Philippines,

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SAN GUILLERMO PARISH CHURCH

San Guillermo Parish Church is one of the oldest and largest churches in the Philippines. It was accepted as an Agustinian convent on December 31, 1576 on the lot owned by Don Guillermo Manabat. The church was restored by Fr. Manuel Diaz in 1897. The church boasts of having main retablo, side retablos and pulpit that are heavily gilded with gold leaves. The rich decorations of the church depict the Baroque style of architecture. San Guillermo Parish Church, Bacolor, Pampanga.

CEBU PHILIPPINES: PATRICINIO DE MARIA CHURCH IN BOLJOON

Of all of Cebu’s churches, it is the church in Boljoon which best gives one a sense of the Philippine colonial past. The church of Boljoon is the oldest remaining original stone church in Cebu and is relatively well-preserved. It was declared for conservation and restoration in 1998.

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PATRICINIO DE MARIA CHURCH

The first buildings were probably ruined during the Muslim raid of 1782 that destroyed almost all the entire town. Fr. Ambrosio Otero started the reconstruction of the new church in 1783 and Fr. Julian Bermejo finished the church and had a stone fence built to enclose the convent and the church as an added protective measure. In 1880 an old organ was installed and to this day, the organ is still at the choir loft, although it is in danger of getting worn out.

The style of the church is pseudo-baroque-rococo and is the same style and pattern with the churches in Argao and Dalaguete with the exception of some Rococo decorations on the panels and along shallow pillars. The Church of Patrocinio de Maria in Boljoon is a genuine showcase of old and complicated carvings and adornments. The Spanish churchyard beside it is still present up to this day. It has one of the most unusual towers because aside from being Islamic in character, it looks more like a fortress. It has a rectangular belfry, built in 1701 and is still present up to now. The tower has four windows where the cannons were placed to defend against Muslim pirates. It was said that the sound of its silver bells supposedly reached Oslob and Alcoy which is the Southern most town of Cebu, but in 1802, they were stolen by Muslim pirates. Because of their weight, the Moro vinta (boat) allegedly sunk. The bell was never recovered. The interior is beautifully decorated. It has a main nave and transept and has twenty-eight pillars, two meters thick and made of mortar and lime, which support the walls as thick as the pillars. There used to be a communion rail with ornate silver-work but it was never recovered after it was looted.

Image credit BASILICA MINORE DEL SANTO NIÑO

Another downtown landmark is the Basilica Minore del Santo Niño. It is the second oldest in the Philippines after Bohol's Baclayon Church. It houses the country's oldest religious icon, the image of Señor Sto. Niño (Holy Child Jesus).

Standing at the south entrance of Basilica del Sto. Nino is Cebu's most famous landmark, the Magellan's Cross. The cross was planted by Ferdinand Magellan to mark the beginning of the Christianization of Cebu. It is now housed inside an octagonal kiosk and remains to be the most visited historic spot in Cebu.

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BASEY CHURCH, SAMAR, PHILIPPINES

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SAN NICOLAS CHURCH, ILOCOS NORTE, PHILIPPINES

San Nicolas Catholic Church built in 1701 is one of the oldest buildings in this province. Its original structure is one of the must see places of the town. The Church and the attached Sta. Rosa Academy Building, the well preserved Municipal Hall and the old Town Plaza sprawled between them constitute the heart of the town center. These buildings and structures are originally built and continue to be festooned with earthen bricks, which is among the products of the surviving local earthenware industry.

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CAINTA CHURCH, RIZAL

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ST. JAMES FORTRESS

There are still many churches, Catholic churches, cathedrals and basilicas in the country and that makes the Philippines the only Catholic country in Asia.

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Comments (10)

Excellent architecture!

Another phenominal work, Ron.

Great article! The old churches are beautiful.

My favorite among them is Paoay church. Magnificent structure.

Ranked #7 in Philippines

Great work with beautiful pictures, You missed the Bamboo organ Church of Las Piñas which is one of the very important church in the Philippines because of its bamboo organ. Thanks for sharing. I don't know most of these churches.

Ranked #1 in Philippines

Dear all, many thanks for the read, votes and great comments.

Love the pics.. old churches, houses.... love it!!! awesome

Ranked #1 in Philippines

Thanks Kim for visit and comment.

Nice article. You featured the san sebastian basilica which used to be the church of my school,san sebastian college-recoletos. Vote it up kababayan

Ranked #1 in Philippines

Thanks John, its the only steel church in Asia.

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