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Constructed in 1587-1604, San Agustin Church is the oldest surviving church in the Philippines. It was the only building left intact when Intramuros was reduced to rubble during the Liberation of Manila in 1945. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is a mandatory destination for any Manila visitor interested in history and culture. Concealed behind the imposing facade is an elaborately decorated Baroque-style interior. Throughout the nave and six side chapels are fixtures of great artistic and historical significance.
Completed in 1951, The Manila Cathedral rises majestically over the remains of five predecessors, the first of which was erected in 1581. Four of the previous constructions were destroyed by earthquakes and fires, the fifth was reduced to a bombed-out shell during the Liberation of Manila in 1945. The new Romanesque edifice incorporates stone carvings and rosette windows salvaged from the ruins and is topped by a cupola that is a perfect picture of strength, delicacy and grace.
Erected in 1596, Binondo Church is one of the oldest places of Christian worship in the Philippines, but over the centuries the original edifice has sustained considerable damage from earthquakes and other natural disasters. Today the octagonal bell tower is all that remains of the 16th century construction. The upkeep of the present church is largely funded by the Catholic Chinese community, many of whom reside or operate businesses in neighboring Chinatown.
Looking at its Gothic spires, one would not think that San Sebastian is constructed of prefabricated steel. The story goes that the Augustinian Recollect Order, having seen their church thrice leveled to the ground by earthquakes, decided to have the new one cast in steel so that it would endure Manila's temblors. With its vaulted ceilings, jewel-like stained glass windows and generally romantic air, San Sebastian is understandably a much-favored venue for weddings.