In the Philippines, the Catholic faithfuls celebrate the days leading up to Christmas through the tradition of Simbang Gabi. From December 16 to 24, Filipinos rise before dawn breaks or set aside an hour of their night to attend Simbang Gabi. Many also believe that if one completes the nine-day vigil, their wish will be granted. A great motivator, isn’t it? If you want a wish granted, better get up early and go to mass. But in case you can’t make the schedule of Simbang Gabi in your local parish, check out these beautiful churches for your Simbang Gabi masses.
Diocesan Shrine and Parish of Our Lady of the Abandoned
Location: J. P. Rizal corner V. Gomez Street, Barangay Sta. Elena, Marikina City
The structure of the church itself was completed in 1572, making it more than 400 years old. Despite its age, or maybe even because of it, the church remains beautiful with its traditional architecture style, low ceilings painted with holy images, and softly glowing chandeliers. In 1902, an image of the Virgin Mary appeared in the church, venerated as miraculous by Pope Benedict XVI last 2005.
San Sebastian Church
(Minor Basilica of San Sebastian)
Location: Plaza del Carmen, Quiapo, Manila
Being the only all-steel church in Asia as well as the only prefabricated steel church all over the world, San Sebastian Church is a unique beauty on its own with many nationalities lending a hand in its construction in 1891. Belgian steel was used and Belgian engineers assembled them, while the stained glass windows hail all the way from Germany. Even architect Gustave Eiffel was rumored to have been involved in the building of the church. Until now, tourists flock to see this wondrous church.
Church of the Gesu
Location: Ateneo de Manila University, Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City
Inside the campus of Ateneo de Manila University is this captivating triangular architecture that harkens back to the bahay kubo, albeit made more modern. The shape of the structure is also said to be a symbol of the Holy Trinity. The crucifix above the altar features Jesus in a pose that is unusually different, as He is looking up to the heavens instead of His head bowed down.
San Agustin Church
(Archdiocesan Shrine of Nuestra Señora de Consolacion y Correa or the Immaculate Conception Parish)
Location: General Luna Street, Intramuros, Manila
A UNESCO World Heritage site, this church drew inspiration from Mexico’s Augustinian temples, with its baroque pulpit, manually operated pipe organ, and Augustinian motifs. There were originally sixteen glass chandeliers hailing all the way from Paris, but some were lost or destroyed during the Japanese occupation.
(Cathedral Parish of St. Andrew)
Location: Quirino Avenue, Parañaque
Another of the oldest parishes in the metro, the Parañaque Cathedral serves as the seat of the Diocese of Parañaque, which in turn serves Parañaque, Muntinlupa, and Las Piñas. It is also where you can find the Nuestra Señora del Buen Suceso, also known as the Patroness of Parañaque City.
Sta. Clara de Montefalco Parish Church
Location: C. Raymundo Ave., Brgy. Caniogan, Pasig City, Metro Manila
Standing at 57 meters high, this church is the tallest in the Philippines. Fashioned after St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, it boasts of a Grecian architecture that contains a belfry with carillon bells and a dome filled with beautiful murals.
(Nuestra Señora de Gracia Church)
Location: 7440 Bernardino Street, Guadalupe Viejo, Makati City
In the middle of the modern skyscrapers and bustling establishments stands this ancient and historical church. It looks so simple and old from the outside, but its Renaissance and Baroque architecture has seen through much calamities and natural disasters in its 400-year history.
Mary Immaculate Parish
Location: Apollo III, Moonwalk Village, Las Piñas City
Famous for its concept of nature, this parish is largely, if not completely, made up of natural materials. It has an open-air structure styled like a nipa hut with a high ceiling made of various native materials. The altar is made of driftwood and marble, while the seats, instead of pews, are made from tree stumps and logs.
Which church will you visit for Simbang Gabi? Tell us below!