The Philippines is the only Christian nation in Asia. Predominantly, the largest percentage of the country’s
population belongs to the Roman Catholic Church representing more than 80 % of the entire population. Aside
from the Roman Catholic Church, there are other significant Christian denominations/sects in the country most
of which were established by Filipinos.
In the real sense, the primary aim of establishment of a religion is to unite people but due to the mushrooming
of so many Christian denominations not only in the Philippines but from all over the world, and because of the
varying, contradicting and multiple doctrines of these sects people are divided.
1. El Shaddai Movement
This movement is believed to be the largest born-again movement in the Philippines. They don’t have churches or
temples. Instead they gather every Sunday at Quirino Grandstand located at Luneta Park in Manila, the country’s
capital. El Shaddai is a Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement from the Philippines. Its founder and servant
leader is Mariano “Mike” Velarde- better known as Brother Mike. Their Diocesan Bishop is the Reverend Jessie
Mercado of the Diocese of Parañaque, and its Spiritual Director is Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani of
the Roman Catholic Church.
2. Iglesia Ni Cristo
One of the largest Christian sects in the Philippines with more or less 3 million members is the Iglesia ni Cristo or
Church of Christ, a Christian restorationist religious organization that originated in the Philippines. Most
publications refer to Felix Y. Manalo as the founder of the church. In fact, Felix Manalo officially registered the
church as a corporation sole with him as executive minister on July 27, 1914. The INC’s official doctrine, however,
do not teach Manalo as its founder. The most basic component of the INC’s beliefs is that Felix Manalo was sent
by God to reestablish the Christian Church in its true, pristine form because the original church was apostatized.
They believe that this apostatized church is the Catholic Church, and present Catholic dogma, such as the Trinity,
as proof of this apostasy. The organization does not submit to the dogma of the Trinity or the dogmas that Jesus
and the Holy Spirit are Gods
3. Philippine Independent Church
This church is the first Christian denomination founded by a Filipino. The Philippine Independent Church, officially
the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, is a Christian denomination of the Catholic tradition in the form of a national
church. The church was founded by Isabelo delos Reyes on 1902 and made Gregorio Aglipay as its head. It’s
also known as the Aglipayan Church after its first head, Gregorio Aglipay. Since 1960 it has been in full
communion with the Episcopal Church of the United States (and through it with the entire Anglican Communion)
and, since 1965, with the Old Catholic Union of Utrecht Association of Churches.
Today the Philippine Independent Church or Aglipayan Church is the third largest Christian denomination in the
Philippines after the Roman Catholic Church and the Iglesia ni Cristo respectively, with approximately two to four
million members who are scattered all over the Philippines and with large congregations in the United States and
parts of Asia as well. The bulk of the Aglipayans comes from the northern part of the island of Luzon especially in
the Ilocandia region, where its first supreme bishop came from. Now the church is divided into 10 dioceses which
include the Diocese of United States and Canada. But, due to a lack of priests, many parishes in the USA are
priestless. The current Obispo Maximo is the Most Reverend Godofredo J. David, who has his central office in the
capital of the country in Manila (National Cathedral of the Holy Child in Taft Ave, Manila). The line of succession
goes back from the first Obispo Maximo Aglipay and which is followed by 10 other successors. The Philippine
Independent Church is considered the most tangible product of the 1898 Revolution against Spain.
4. Members Church of God International
Another Christian sect with considerable number of members is The Members Church of God International known
colloquially as Ang Dating Daan, a Christian denomination with headquarters in the Philippines. The Church of
God International is primarily known through its television program, Ang Dating daan (The Old Path). It is not
related to the many Church of God groups that descended from the Barney Creek Meeting House revival of the
late 1800s in the US. While calling itself a Christian denomination, it is considered to be a cult by nearly all
mainstream Christian denominations due to their belief that only the leader of their church (Eliseo Soriano) can
interpret and understand the Bible, that Jesus Christ, while “a” god is a lesser god than the Father, and that God
is not Omniscient or Omnipresent. The group claims thousands of church locales in the Philippines, and around
500 international church locales in North America, Europe, South Africa, Asia, and Australia.
5. Jesus Is Lord Church
Jesus Is Lord Church is a Pentecostal movement in the Philippines headed by Eddie Villanueva. Jesus Is Lord
Church is formerly named Jesus is Lord Fellowship, which started with just eight members when it was founded
by Villanueva in 1978. Today, the church claims that it has 3 million members in 36 countries.
6. Most Holy Church of God in Christ Jesus
The Most Holy Church of God in Christ Jesus (Kabanalbanalang Iglesia ng Dios kay Kristo Hesus), is a Christian
denomination founded in the Philippines by Bishop Teofilo D. Ora in May 1922. It has spread to areas including
California, USA; Calgary, Canada and some Asian countries. The World Christian Encyclopedia estimates the
church has a following of about 50,000.
7. The Kingdom of Jesus Christ, the Name above Every Name
The Kingdom of Jesus Christ, the Name above Every Name was founded by Pastor Apollo C. Quibuloy, claiming
to be the appointed Son of God, on September 1, 1985. He started to preach in the slums of Villamor, Agdao,
Davao city with only 15 members. The small-group fellowship grew until it had spread across the Philippines within
a few years. Today, Kingdom Locale Congregations (KLCs) are in every barangay, municipality and city in the
country. This tremendous growth was brought about by the radio and television programs of Pastor Apollo. By
the middle of 1991, the ministry came into the television mainstream with the first airing of the Hour of Truth, which
later became “The Gospel of the Kingdom”.
Other Christian sects in the Philippines with considerable followings include Rizalista, Philippine Benevolent
Missionaries Association, Jesus Miracle Crusades, and others, many of which are considered cult movements.
Christian sects have been continuously sprouting like mushrooms since the days of the Reformation movement.
In the Philippines alone, there are more than 2,000 religious denominations registered in the Securities and
Exchange Commission. This does not include yet hundreds of unregistered sects and cults.
The big questions are –Why do people keep establishing different denominations when in fact we worship the
same God? Do they really exist to preach the Gospel of the Lord and for the salvation of souls OR for business
purposes? Others say it’s a good business because it’s tax-free and it is the only business that doesn’t need
capital. Well, the answers lie in our hand, after all God has given each one of us the gift of wisdom.
Hope you have had a wonderful time reading this. Thanks!