18 Picturesque Churches and Chapels in the Philippines

18 Picturesque Churches and Chapels in the Philippines

You'll surely want to have your dream wedding in any of these Philippine churches.

The Philippines is predominantly a country that follows the religion of Roman Catholicism. This is due to the influence of the Spanish colonial era, during which the Spaniards have dispersed Christianity to almost the entire country. Centuries after they have left, hundreds of churches and chapels have been erected to continue proliferating the faith. These churches are not just buildings celebrating a particular religion, they also share a particular story and serve as architectural marvels able to withstand life’s ever-changing tides and trends.

Also read: 23 Photos That Will Make You Fall In Love with the Philippines

We now present 18 of the most picturesque churches and chapels in the Philippines. This is a compilation of beautiful churches and chapels scattered all over the country that are considered extremely postcard-worthy.

1. Tukon Chapel, Basco, Batanes

Image credit: Eugene

We will start with the northernmost structure that provides a simple yet heartwarming experience as soon as you walk in. The chapel is made from conglomerated stones, which give it a distinct look. It is one of the most sought after wedding destinations for couples who wish to have an intimate and unique wedding experience.

2. San Jose de Ivana Church, Ivana, Batanes

Image credit: Wanderlass

Another picturesque church in the province of Batanes is the San Jose de Ivana Church. Originally built as a chapel in 1787, the San Jose de Ivana Church was erected to serve the people of Uyugan, Sabtang, and Ivana. The church underwent its first major renovation in 1866, followed by another renovation after an earthquake struck Batanes in 2000.

Also read: How I Travelled Solo in Batanes for 5 Days with Only PHP 8,000 Budget

3. Church of St. Augustine, Paoay, Ilocos Norte

philippine churchesImage credit: Ilocos Norte

We now move on to mainland Luzon with the Church of St. Augustine. Fondly called Paoay Church, it is probably one of the best-known churches in the Philippines. The construction took over a century to finish, and visitors as well as photographers admire the design influences of this church, which include Baroque, Oriental, and Gothic. Now one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites, it is visited by tourists all year round as a destination of faith and as an iconic structure.

4. Callao Cave Chapel, Peñablanca, Cagayan

Image credit: Bert Balonzo

This is not your usual take on a church, which you usually envision as having marbled floors and wooden appoints. The Callao Cave Chapel is located in Peñablanca in the province of Cagayan. As its name implies, the chapel was built inside a cave and several pews have been aligned to accommodate churchgoers. It gives a unique feel, and it might be an eerie experience for some guests.

5. San Guillermo Parish Church, Bacolor, Pampanga

Image credit: Eugene

Located in one of the oldest towns in the Philippines, the San Guillermo Parish Church in Bacolor was built in 1576. This was also the year when the town of Bacolor was founded. The San Guillermo Parish Church already endured several natural disasters through the years. It was destroyed by a strong earthquake in 1880, but was rebuilt six years later. In September 1995, half of the entire church was submerged in the lahar that flowed from the slopes of Mt. Pinatubo. The San Guillermo Parish Church showcases the great influence of the Baroque style. It has become one of the most iconic churches in Central Luzon, as it is associated with standing strong despite recent tragedies.

6. Santiago Apostol Parish / Betis Church, Guagua, Pampanga

Image credit: Project Kisame

Another church located in the province of Pampanga, the Santiago Apostol Parish, also called Betis Church, showcases an awe-inspiring interior and an equally charming exterior. The Betis Church has been declared as a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum, as well as the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Following a Baroque influence, the Betis Church was built during the late 1600s, and despite several incidents of fire that burned the church when it was still made from light materials, it was erected and built with stronger concrete materials by the year 1770.

7. Basilica Minore Nuestra Señora de Piat, Piat, Cagayan

Image credit: JM Kissme

Included as one of the 12 Minor Basilicas in the country, the Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Piat is the home of the 407-year-old Black Virgin Mary, the Our Lady of Piat. The church showcases a unique entrance arch, which is located at the back of the church. It is located on top of a hill to protect it from floods that are often caused by the overflow of the Chico River. It is beautifully built with red bricks, which is quite distinct from the churches established in the province of Cagayan.

8. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish / Barasoain Church, City of Malolos, Bulacan

Image credit: Shubert Clencia

The Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish, also called the Barasoain Church in the City of Malolos, is one of the most visited churches in the country both for its religious and historical significance. It is also a preferred venues for wedding ceremonies. The Barasoain Church has been a meeting place for anti-Spanish and anti-colonial illustrados. It has been featured in the Philippine currency and is currently on the two-hundred peso bill.

9. San Agustin Church, Intramuros, Manila

Image credit: Shubert Clencia

Nestled inside the walled city of Intramuros in Manila, San Agustin Church is one of the four churches in the Philippines that was designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO under the category of Baroque Churches of the Philippines. It is also one of the most historically significant churches in the country. In 1898, it was the site where the terms for the surrender of Manila to the United States was prepared. It also became a concentration camp for prisoners during the second World War. The San Agustin Church underwent rebuilding after several natural calamities and wars. Renovated in 2013, San Agustin Church now showcases a mature stone-coloured hue.

10. Nuestra Señora de la Porteria Parish / Daraga Church, Daraga, Albay

Image credit: CB Agulto

The Daraga Church was built in 1772 under the patronage of the Our Lady of the Gate. It was heavily damaged during the Second World War in 1945, but it was speedily renovated thereafter. It follows an elegant mix of Gothic, Mexican Baroque, and Renaissance style. Volcanic rocks were used in its construction.

11. The Basílica Menor de San Sebastián / San Sebastian Church, Manila

Image credit: Asolrac1

You don’t need to stray too far from the city to visit some of the most magnificent architectural works of art. One example is the San Sebastian Church in Manila, which exudes the classic example of Gothic architecture in the country. San Sebastian Church is the only temple in the country that is made of steel. Another fact that’s nice to know about the San Sebastian Church is that it somehow shares the same roots with the Eiffel Tower, because Gustave Eiffel was involved in the design and construction of the said church.

12. San Sebastian Cathedral / Lipa Cathedral, Lipa, Batangas

Image credit: Junsierra

From picturesque churches, we proceed with this Romanesque church located in Lipa, Batangas. Romanesque architecture is known for its semi-circular arches that give it a unique and fairy-tale-ish look. Like a lot of churches that have been built several centuries ago, the Lipa Cathedral sustained significant damage, particularly in the year 1944. It was revitalised, rebuilt, and completed on December 1957.

13. The Church of Saint Thomas of Villanova / Miag-ao Church, Miag-ao, Iloilo

Image credit: Alienscream

Miag-ao Church is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site for the category of “Baroque Churches of the Philippines.” It has a distinct blend of native and Spanish influences that completes its unique look. The primary feature of the church is a bas-relief facade, which is a large coconut tree, taking its roots from the importance of the tree to the Philippine landscape and culture.

14. Sta. Monica Parish / Sarrat Church, Sarrat, Ilocos Norte

Image credit: Angelonce

If you are the hopeless romantic type who always imagines getting married someday, enter the church that offers the longest aisle in the country. The Sarrat Church in Ilocos Norte holds this title, making it one of the most successful wedding destinations in Northern Luzon. Showcasing a serene appeal that is elegant and pristine at the same time, Sarrat Church should be on your list if you wish to visit the Ilocos Region anytime soon.

Also read: 20 Experiences Every Filipino Traveller Must Complete Before Getting Married

15. St. John the Baptist Church / Liliw Church, Liliw, Laguna

Image credit: Carlo Joseph Moskito

When you get by the town of Liliw in the province of Laguna, your attention will be drawn to a church that has a red-brick façade and was constructed in the style of Baroque architecture. This is the St. John the Baptist Church that was constructed in 1605. After several improvements from the original wooden construction, it is now highlighted with adobe and red bricks, together with stained glass images that complete the look of this church.

16. San Matias Church / Tumauini Church, Tumauini, Isabela

Image credit: Cabajar

This is an interesting church, and it is considered as one of the most beautiful churches in the country. Its position offers great lens-worthy shots both in the morning or just before the sun sets. It has been the subject of architecture enthusiasts, as well as photographers and travel bloggers. The belfry looks like an oversized wedding cake, tastefully adorned with shells that have been shaped to fit in the design.

17. Sanctuary of Nuestra Señora de La Caridad / St. Augustine Parish, Bantay, Ilocos Sur

Image credit: Rosesale

The belfry of the St. Augustine Parish is believed to have been turned into a watchtower for pirates. However, in popular culture, it has been linked to a famous Philippine icon, who is no other than the famous Panday.

18. Patrocinio de Maria Church / Boljoon Church, Boljoon, Cebu

Image credit: Rabosajr

Located in the southeastern part of Cebu, the Boljoon Church displays a clay tile roof for both the church and the convent, as well as historic structures like the Casa Catolica and the stone blockhouse. There are also the remnants of the cemetery that highlight a bas relief, as well as several defensive walls that stood up to show the rich history of how it used to be a fortified church complex.

Also read: Insider’s Guide to Cebu: All You Need to Know Before Your Trip

As we complete our list of picturesque churches, you may want to start your own adventure by visiting these churches for a holistic experience coming from architectural inspiration, historical significance, and even spiritual connection. There are a lot more churches all over the country that are not included in this list, especially the churches that have been previously revered by admirers but were recently damaged by natural calamities.

Try to take this as an inspiration to incorporate your passion for travel, history, and religion into one by having your own personalised church visitation endeavor.

About Author

James Aquino
James Aquino

After visiting more than fifty international cities in three continents (and still counting), James is on a quest to visit at least two new countries each year. A registered nurse, a stage father, and a grumpy husband, he has always believed that travelling offers something that you will never learn from school. His best advice is to always take pictures along the way, but never forget the stories behind them. Read more of his travel stories and his passion project at The Panoramic Soul.


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