PHOTO: A slice of Catedral Basílica Metropolitana de Manila

By Gillian Gacuma

Manila, Filipinas– The sun breaks through the walls of Intramuros, it’s a normal weekday again inside the oldest district of Manila or should I say, the grand Manila that was. And I’m on my regular morning walks on its four century old calles.

It’s 7 and I’m only a few yards away from my favorite destination.

Located in front of Plaza de Roma, Catedral Basílica Metropolitana de Manila or Manila Cathedral Basilica stand as the seat of Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila and has the image of the Immaculate Conception, the principal patroness of the Philippines.

Portrait of the Manila Cathedral before the 1880 earthquake. Photo by Google Images
Portrait of the Manila Cathedral before the 1880 earthquake. Photo by Google Images

The current neo-classical church is the eighth church since it was built in 1581 where previous structures were severely damaged by major earthquakes and Japanese bombings during World War II in 1945. 10 years after the disaster, they rebuilt it in 1954 to 1958 under Cardinal Rufino Santos and the supervision of Filipino architect Fernando H. Ocampo to what it is today.

Since my first visit in Intramuros around 9 years ago, I easily become a fan of the cathedral. And the recent improvements done last 2014 highlighted its amusing architectural details. So I took some shots that will give you a bite of the grand structure of Intramuros.

(Regular masses: Monday to Friday- 7:30 am and 12:10 pm, Saturday – 7:30 am and Sunday – 7:00 am, 8:30 am, 10:00 am, 11:30 am and 6:00 pm.)

The ruins of Manila Cathedral after World War II.
The ruins of Manila Cathedral after World War II. Photo by Google Images.

Exterior

Facade of Manila Cathedral and the lighted emblem of the Papal insignia.
Facade of Manila Cathedral and the lighted emblem of the Papal insignia.
Shot from the back of the Cathedral, showing the patinated dome and its four-armed cross.
Shot from the back of the Cathedral, showing the patinated dome and its four-armed cross.
The façade (tympanum) of the cathedral bears a Latin inscription: Tibi cordi tuo immaculato concredimus nos ac consecramus (English: We consecrate to your immaculate heart and entrust to you (Mary) for safekeeping).
The façade (tympanum) of the cathedral bears a Latin inscription: Tibi cordi tuo immaculato concredimus nos ac consecramus (English: We consecrate to your immaculate heart and entrust to you (Mary) for safekeeping).
Our Lady of Fatima garden on the northern side of the cathedral.
Our Lady of Fatima garden on the northern side of the cathedral.
Entrance to the adoration chapel at Calle Beaterio.
Entrance to the adoration chapel/St. Peter chapel at Calle Beaterio.
The well lit Manila Cathedral at night. (Photo by: Manila Cathedral-Basilica).
The well lit Manila Cathedral at night. Photo by: Manila Cathedral-Basilica website.

Interior

The central nave. Photo by Manila Cathedral website
The central nave. Photo by Manila Cathedral-Basilica website
Shot from the left nave showing the vaulted ceiling, well lit interior and recent improvements in the cathedral.
Shot from the left nave showing the vaulted ceiling, St. Peter’s image, well lit interior and recent improvements in the cathedral.
The Baptistry of St. John the Baptist is found at the left side of the vestibule from the side entrance. The baptismal font in bronze is the work of Publio Morbiducci. Over the font is the sculpture of Jesus being baptized by St. John . Three fishes in the form of a triangle, a fish caught in an eagle’s claws, a dove with an olive bough, and stag drinking from the fountain are brought out in relief in the baptismal font. Regular baptisms at the cathedral are usually held here every Sunday, one at 10 a.m. and another at 11 a.m.
The Baptistry of St. John the Baptist is found at the left side of the vestibule from the side entrance. The baptismal font in bronze is the work of Publio Morbiducci. Over the font is the sculpture of Jesus being baptized by St. John. Regular baptisms at the cathedral are usually held here every Sunday.
The chapels, as well the Baptistry, are equipped with interactive monitors for a more detailed informations about the cathedral.
The chapels, as well the Baptistry, are equipped with interactive monitors for a more detailed informations about the cathedral.

IMG_7247

Stained glass details of the recent Papal visit to the Philippines of Pope Francis.
Stained glass details of the recent Papal visit to the Philippines of Pope Francis.
Shot from the Chapel of Mary Help of Christians and Our Lady of the Pillar. The chapel was designed by the Spanish architect Michele Fisac with the image of the Nuestra Señora de la Paz y Buenviaje enshrined in this chapel.
Shot from the Chapel of Mary Help of Christians and Our Lady of the Pillar. The chapel was designed by the Spanish architect Michele Fisac with the image of the Nuestra Señora de la Paz y Buenviaje enshrined in this chapel.
The official coat of arms of the Philippines at the left transept of the cathedral.
The official coat of arms of the Philippines at the left transept of the cathedral.

The Altar

IMG_7225“The principal altar of the Manila Cathedral is a tribute to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. The Blessed Mother is depicted as being paid homage to by the Patriarchs of the Old Testament on one side, and the saints of Christendom on the other. The background shows the Original Sin and the manger in Bethlehem, signifying redemption through the incarnation of the Word. The altar is supported by pillars representing Saints Catherine Laboure, Lawrence of Brindisi, Pius V, and Leo IX – four saints known for their pious devotion to the mystery of the Immaculate Conception.”

The Main Altar 

The center of devotion and veneration in the high altar is the gilded bronze image of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, which the Italian Enzo Assenza crafted based on Esteban Murillo’s painting. The Marian image, also designed by Fiedler, is protected by a canopy or baldachino showing beautiful angels venerating the Cross. The column capitals of this canopy portray the olive, cypress, and plane trees to which Mary has been compared according to Liturgy.

Sources: Manila Cathedral-Basilica website

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. rscotttyler says:

    Great post. I like the historical perspective as well.

    Like

    1. GillianGacuma says:

      Thank you, Scott! I’m really glad that you liked it.

      Like

  2. wow your sentence and the picture you pick was amazing I give it 100/100

    Like

    1. GillianGacuma says:

      Thanks, Vince! Have you been to Manila Cathedral before?

      Like

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