Posted by: neblinoso | November 24, 2009

Church Hopping

I spent my Saturday touring around town visiting several of the neighboring churches.  Some were new sights and others I’d been to before, but was unable to get certain photographic angles.  Every church we visited had weddings going on, which was understandable, since it was a weekend.

The first church we stopped at was the Manila Cathedral, located in Intramuros.  As i wandered around, i thought i heard my name being called, but i’m always hearing things and besides, who would know me here?  Turns out it was someone calling my name.  Another group from the office was there  accompanying one of the US director’s who had a short, one week visit.  Just as we were about to leave, a female vocalist for the wedding started singing “Think of Me”, a song from Phantom of the Opera.  This is probably my favorite musical, so i was thrilled to hear the song.

Our next destination was in an area i’ve been so many times, i’ve lost track.  The Malati Church is across from Manila Bay and a few blocks from the US Embassy.  One evening, shortly after Typhoon Ondoy, there was a mass going on.  I happened to be in the area and stepped in for the short prayer for the typhoon victims.  I enjoyed being here during the day as every other time was at night and i wasn’t able to get very close to the front. 

The Binundo Church is located in Manila’s Chinatown.  This area is also famous for a local pastry called Hopia.  It has a flaky outer shell with different types of  fillings.  I think my favorite was mundo, which tastes like jellybeans.   Another flavor i tried was baboy.  The package said “winter melon” under the title, so it would only be natural to assume this flavor would have some sort of watermelon or sweet fruit taste, right?  Wrong.  Unless you equate meatloaf with melon.  I sure don’t, but that’s what it tasted like.  I was informed it had onions and pork in it.  It was deliciously, but not what i was expecting with my first bite.  The most popular flavor is ube, a purple yam-based paste.  Also good, but not as flavorsome as the others.

The fourth church we stopped at was my favorite.  The basilica of San Sebastian is a gothic style church, painted pale green, and known for being the only steel-made church in Asia.  An architect came up with the plans after fire and earthquakes kept destroying the originally brick facade.  Off to one side was a peaceful looking garden with benches and a fountain.  This structure seemed so out-of-place with its rising indoor arches and pointy spires.  I felt like we’d stepped right into Europe when we exited the van in front of the church.

Our last stop was at the Quiapo Church.  At this point it was raining and after dark, so the picture you see is from a previous trip.  There was a mass going on and when we entered the hall from a side door, a guard came and informed us we were not allowed to take pictures.  I was hoping to get one of the Black Nazarene as this is what the church is famous for.   Our visit was short as Jing was worried one of us might be kidnapped.  Quiapo is not the safest place in all of Manila, but i never felt  like i was in any danger.  I laughed at the thought of someone trying to kidnap me, as i’m not little, and would definitely put up a fight.  One look and you should know not to mess with me. 

After Quiapo we went to MOA briefly to look around for some beach ware for our upcoming trip to Boracay.  The world in front of the mall was all lit up, cycling through various christmas themed light displays.  After some small purchases and wandering around a bit, we grabbed some halo-halo to go and called an end to our church hopping day.



  1. allison,
    these pictures are beautful!!! and the stories about your grampa etc. are heart warming.
    did you notice the rescue sign on a truck in front of the curch(pic 3), how appropriate.
    church for me has always been special.i sang in the choir w/ organ music too.maybe we could visit some of the churches in the cleveland area when you get back?

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