Architecturally Unique Churches in the Philippines

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Some of these churches are truly unique in the architectural sense. Check out some of these peculiar houses of worship that can be found in the Philippines.

Basilica Minore de San Sebastian: The Only All-Steel Church in Asia


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One of the most unique churches in the Philippines is the Basilica Minore de San Sebastian or better known as San Sebastian Church. This church which was built in 1891 is located in Manila and is the seat of the Parish of San Sebastian and the National Shrine of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. This church is remarkable for its architectural features. This Christian house of worship is the “only all-steel” church or basilica in Asia. This National Historical Landmark is also considered to be the first prefabricated building in the world and the only prefabricated steel church in the world.

Church of the Holy Sacrifice: The First Circular Church in the Philippines


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Most churches are rectangular or square in shapes but the Church of the Holy Sacrifice is circle in shape. It is the first circular church and the first thin-shell concrete dome in the Philippines. This uniquely-shaped church is the landmark Catholic chapel in the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. Like the San Sebastian Church, it is also recognized as a National Historical Landmark and in addition, a Cultural Treasure by the National Historical Institute and the National Museum respectively.

Shrine of St Therese of the Child Jesus, Doctor of the Church: A Unique Military Church


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The Shrine of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, Doctor of the Church is simply gorgeous and unique. It is located in Pasay City in front of the main entrance of the NAIA Terminal III.

St. Augustine Church in Paoay: A Church Made of Coral Stones


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The beautiful and captivating St. Augustine Church in Paoay or simply Paoay Church, a historical church located in Paoay, Ilocos Norte, is a World Heritage Site. The construction of this unique church started in 1694 and was completed 200 years after. This antique church is known as the “Earthquake Baroque” church in the Philippines. It was built of  baked bricks, coral rocks, tree sap and lumber, and has 24 carved massive buttresses for support. It is an architectural solution to the area’s challenging, natural setting. Large coral stones were used for the lower level while bricks were used for the upper levels of the church. The walls are 1.67 meters thick made of the same materials.


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Its bell tower is a three-storey coral stone situated a few meters away from the church. The bell tower served as an observation post in 1896 for the Katipuneros during the Philippine revolution against the Spaniards, and again by the Filipino guerillas during the Japanese occupation in World War II.

The Church of the Gesu: Landmark Church of ADMU


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Another architecturally unique church is the Church of the Gesu, a landmark church of the Ateneo de Manila University campus in the Philippines. The building’s massive triangular structure symbolizes the Holy Trinity, as well as the three-fold mission and vision of the school. Its shape and design is also meant to suggest the outstretched arms of the Sacred Heart, and the traditional Filipino bahay kubo. The site has a total area of 10,200 square meters, and a seating capacity of 1,000 persons.

Minor Basilica of St Michael Archangel: A Church with the Biggest and Oldest Church Clock


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The Minor Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel of Tayabas Quezon is the largest Catholic Church of Quezon and is renowned for having the shape of a key that’s why the locals often refer to the church as Susi ng Tayabas.


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Aside from having a unique shape, the Church Clock that can be found on the belfry is considered to be one of the oldest and biggest in Asia. It was erected in the belfry in the early 1900s and measures one half meter tall and 42 centimeters in circumference. The hour hand measures one half meter while the minute hand is 62 centimeters long. A 70 kilo heavy weight runs the hour hand while a 140 kilo heavy weight operates the whole clock. The heavy weight is suspended from an old steel cable attached to the ancient church clock. The heavy weight strikes a giant bell to announce the time at intervals of every one and a half hour.

Basilica de San Martin de Tours: The Largest Church in Asia


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By simply looking at the picture of Basilica de San Martin de Tours in Taal, Batangas, nothing seems extraordinary about it. It looks like a typical Catholic Church but unknown to many; this edifice is the largest church in Asia. It stands 96 meters long and 45 meters wide. It was built by the Augustinian Missionaries in 1756.

See also

Bizarre and Unique Architectural Designs of Houses of Worship

20 World’s Most Brilliantly Colored Religious Edifices

Amazingly Unique Architectural Designs of Houses of Worships

Famous Historic Shrines and Monuments in the Philippines

Fascinating Temples: World’s Architectural Wonders


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