(SPOT.ph) Weave through the narrow streets of Intramuros, and you will eventually stumble upon the behemoth landmark that is the Minor Basilica and Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, or as it is more commonly known, the Manila Cathedral.
Greeting you on Sto. Tomas street, across from the lush urban oasis of Plaza de Roma, is the church’s unmistakable façade. Wide stone steps lead to the imposing archways of this popular tourist stop. Once inside, marble floors and columns, high ceilings, and detailed iconography offer a remarkable blend of sanctity and opulence. All at once, the Manila Cathedral manages to be both an important religious hub and an architectural marvel. More than anything, however, what this edifice offers visitors—regardless of their beliefs or architectural knowledge—is a strong sense of history. In fact, its history is described as “not only a story of the Church, it is also a story of Intramuros, a story of Manila, a story of the Philippines.”
True enough, the humble beginnings of the cathedral go as far back as the recorded history of our nation’s capital city. In 1571, a Spanish Conquistador named Miguel Lopez de Legazpi allocated a piece of land for a church. The church was to be named La Purísima Immaculada Concepción—and it is where the Manila Cathedral stands today.