The Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica was the site of an ideal respite where I can relax for a few minutes in somewhat cooler air while admiring the architecture — and its doors were open to all.
I sat in a pew towards the rear of the church and observed a few other people on their knees as they prayed.
There were men on scaffolding, working on what appeared to be either maintaining or restoring the basilica.
In addition to the statues, portals and carvings, I especially noticed the detail in the stained glass windows around the church as the noise from the streets outside attempted to infiltrate the quiet atmosphere inside. There is something about the colors and intricacy of stained glass which seem to require it to be a requisite aspect of religious institutions around the world regardless of the affiliation and denomination.
In a not-so-subtle twist of irony, modern flat-screen monitors line either side of the historic church.
This was not the first time that a pope of the Catholic Church has visited the Manila Metropolitan Cathedral-Basilica, as Pope Paul VI celebrated Mass while visiting in 1970; and Pope John Paul II reportedly visited in 1981.
The cathedral was originally known as the Church of Manila when it was officially established in 1571 in order to introduce Christianity in the Philippines.
I would recommend walking there — especially if you are already visiting the Intramuros area — so that you would not have to deal with traffic in Manila.
Although donations are always welcome, admission into the cathedral is free of charge to all.
Hours of Operation
Schedules vary by holiday and purpose. For example, office services are open Tuesday through Saturday between 8:00 in the morning to 11:30 in the morning and between 2:00 in the afternoon to 4:30 in the afternoon; Sunday between 8:00 in the morning to 11:30 in the morning — but closed on Mondays and holidays.
There are separate schedules for such church services as Mass, baptism and confession.