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19 Religious Destinations in the Philippines to Nourish Your Spirit

Rouselle Isla

Rouselle Isla

Last updated March 06, 2024

Any serene place can serve as a space for self-reflection. You can do it right at home, where you feel most at peace or comfortable. Or you can be one with nature and enjoy its beauty, quiet, and calm.

Thankfully, there’s no shortage of breathtaking places in the Philippines conducive to meditation, contemplation, and self-reflection. 

If the words “self-reflection,” and “me time” are key parts of your vocabulary, you should consider religious tourism in the Philippines. Here’s a list of pilgrimage places in the country. 

Religious Tourism in the Philippines: Where to Go and What to Do

Although there are many religions in the Philippines, it’s a predominantly Catholic country. It’s no surprise that there are many religious rituals, practices, activities, and events in the Philippines.

From famous historical churches to fantastic cave systems and natural wonders, there are also many destinations for sightseeing, reflection, and learning more about the Philippines’ religious culture.

Famous Churches in Metro Manila

When you think of religious tourism in the Philippines, visiting famous churches is the first thing that comes to mind. The challenge is that there are so many beautiful churches in the Philippines, modern and old. 

According to the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Philippines has 128 churches designated as "National Cultural Treasures," "Important Cultural Properties," and "National Historical Landmarks."[1] In line with this, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines invites locals and foreigners to visit these beautiful old churches.  

👉 Monasterio de Sta. Clara

Location: Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City

With a history dating back to 1620, the Monasterio de Santa Clara is the first women's monastery in Asia. Faithful Catholics usually offer prayer intentions and eggs, which symbolize clarity and purity. If you have a special prayer intention, you can always make the trip to this old church in the middle of the city.

👉 Binondo Church

religious tourism in the philippines - binondo church

Photo: Minor Basilica and National Shrine of San Lorenzo Ruiz (Facebook)

Location: Binondo, Manila

Located in Manila's busy Chinatown district, the Binondo Church continues to attract the devout and faithful. You won't miss it, even if it's your first time to visit. It's just right on the corner of Quintin Paredo Road and Ongpin Street.

It may look out of place in a crowded and busy place like Chinatown, but it's one of the most famous churches in the Philippines for a reason. Aside from its European Baroque architectural style, it's also been around for centuries. It was founded in 1596 by Dominican priests—just imagine all that history!

👉 Manila Cathedral

religious tourism in the philippines - manila cathedral

Photo: Manila Cathedral website

Location: Intramuros, Manila

This Neo-Romanesque cathedral in the Philippines has survived fires, earthquakes, and wars. It was rebuilt in 1954 and remains one of the most beautiful churches in Manila, if not the country. Boasting classic Spanish architectural elements, gorgeous marble floors, and beautiful brickwork, the Manila Cathedral is truly a must-visit religious landmark any time of the year.

👉 San Agustin Church

religious tourism in the philippines - san agustin church

Photo: San Agustin Church - Immaculate Conception Parish (Facebook)

Location: Intramuros, Manila

Aside from being a UNESCO World Heritage site, the San Agustin Church was named a National Historical Landmark in 1976. Stand outside this church and be awed by its beautiful facade. Thanks to the many renovations the church has undergone over the years, its interiors are equally impressive. 

That’s why it's a favorite Visita Iglesia destination among Catholics.

👉 Malate Church

Location: Malate, Manila

Like the other old churches in this list, the Malate Church is another iconic church in Manila. Built in 1588, it has been destroyed and rebuilt many times over the years.

It sits right across the Plaza Rajah Sulayman, with a view of Manila Bay, which means it can be loud and busy. But once you step inside, the atmosphere is solemn and peaceful―perfect for prayer and quiet musings.

👉 Santa Ana Church

religious tourism in the philippines - santa ana church

Photo: National Shrine of Our Lady of the Abandoned, Santa Ana, Manila (Facebook)

Location: Santa Ana, Manila

The Franciscans originally founded the Santa Ana Church in 1578, but the stone church we see now was constructed between 1720 to 1725. The adobe blocks of the church's facade add to its timeless historical appeal, attracting many visitors each year.

More treasures can be found within its walls, like the Santa Ana Site Museum and the Camarin de la Virgen, a chapel room with the image of the Virgin. So don't skip this church when you're in Manila.

👉 Baclaran Church

Location: Baclaran, Parañaque

Another beautiful old church in the Philippines is the Baclaran Church, also known as the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help or the Redemptorist Church. You can't miss this along Roxas Boulevard, especially on Wednesdays when crowds make their way to the church for Baclaran Day. 

You can also visit Baclaran Church for Stations of the Cross during Holy Week or anytime you need to pray or hear mass.

Further reading: 

Famous Churches Outside of Metro Manila

Planning this year’s Visita Iglesia while out of town? Make sure to visit these modern churches and impressive cathedrals.

👉 Paoay Church

Location: Paoay, Ilocos Norte

There's a reason why Paoay Church always makes the list of the most famous and most beautiful churches in the Philippines. Its timeless beauty and rich history make it a must-visit for everyone. 

Include this UNESCO World Heritage site on your list of churches to visit this year for an unforgettable pilgrimage tourism in the Philippines.

👉 Minor Basilica of Our Lady of Charity

religious tourism in the philippines - minor basilica of our lady of charity

Photo: Minor Basilica and Diocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Charity (Facebook)

Location: Agoo, La Union

If you're looking for a basilica in the Philippines, head up north to Agoo, La Union. It’s where you'll find the Basilica Minore of Our Lady of Charity or the Agoo Basilica. Its Mexican-Baroque architectural features are beautiful in photos, but you have to see this basilica in real life to better appreciate its beauty and grandeur.

Don't go just yet after your church visit. To the left of the basilica is the Santa Monica Museum, where you can find the 1815 Bell of Santa Monica Parish and other memorabilia.

👉 Callao Cave Chapel

religious tourism in the philippines - callao cave chapel

Photo: Destination Philippines (Facebook)

Location: Penablanca, Cagayan

If you want a unique church visit experience, add the Callao Cave Chapel to your list. Yes, you read that right―it's a church right inside a cave. 

There are pews for churchgoers to sit on and a platform through which natural light shines. You can marvel at the unique natural rock formations all around.

👉 National Shrine and Parish of St. Padre Pio

religious tourism in the philippines - national shrine and parish of st padre pio

Photo: Parish and National Shrine of Saint Padre Pio (Facebook)

Location: Santo Tomas, Batangas

Every day, parishioners and devotees visit the National Shrine and Parish of St. Padre Pio, also known as the Padre Pio Shrine, for prayer and healing liturgies. They also come to venerate St. Padre Pio’s relics, which are located in the parish complex. 

Apart from the church, visitors can go to the Mary Mother of Mercy Belfry, the Chapel of Lights, the Divine Mercy Sanctuary, and the souvenir shop, just to name a few. 

👉 The Pink Sisters Chapel and Convent

Location: Holy Spirit Drive, Tagaytay, Cavite

The Adoration Convent of Divine Mercy, more popularly known as the Pink Sisters because of the pink habits that symbolize the love and joy of the Holy Spirit, is quite famous among pilgrims in the Philippines. 

Leave your prayer requests at the dropbox, and the Pink Sisters will read them when they pray. Many Filipinos believe that prayers will be granted through the aid of the Pink Sisters, which is why many Catholics flock here all year round. 

Related: Religion, Culture, and Heritage: Festivals in the Philippines

👉 Daraga Church

religious tourism in the philippines - daraga church

Location: Daraga, Albay

This famous church in Bicol is another one you should visit at least once in your life. Admire its religious and architectural history, set against a stunning view of the Mayon Volcano. Its facade is also built from blocks of volcanic rock.

👉 Baclayon Church

Location: Baclayon, Bohol

Just six kilometers from Tagbilaran City, this historical church in the Philippines stands tall and proud. The portico and bell tower of this church collapsed in the 2013 earthquake. But after a four-year rebuilding and restoration, you can now experience the beauty of Baclayon Church.

Underground Rivers, Caves, and Parks 

Do you feel more in touch with your spirituality while surrounded by nature? You can also partake in religious tourism in the Philippines by enjoying the beauty of Mother Nature.

👉 Sumaguing Cave

  • Location: Sagada, Mountain Province
  • Price: 
    • ₱100 - Registration fee 
    • ₱800 - Sumaguing Cave guide fee 
    • ₱400 - Shuttle service 

You can also head to Sagada, Mountain Province to swim in the cold pools and explore the Sumaguing Cave. It’s the deepest cave in the country, connected by a network of entrances and tunnels. There are also a lot of interesting formations formed by the rush of water throughout this cave. 

That's your cue for some introspection and soul-searching.


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👉 Pilgrimage Island 

religious tourism in the philippines - pilgrimage island

  • Location: Hundred Island National Park, Alaminos, Pangasinan
  • Price: Approximately ₱4,000 per person for an island-hopping tour

What better way to experience the Stations of the Cross in the Philippines than at Pilgrimage Island in Alaminos, Pangasinan? Aside from the 263-step staircase leading to a 55-foot-tall statue of Christ the Savior, there are life-sized statues on the island depicting the 14 Stations of the Cross. 

Enjoy the panoramic view of the islets, after which you can visit the nearby Bat Island, Marcos’ Island, and Governor’s Island. 

👉 Jackpot Cave 

Location: Sitio Tumallo, Barangay Quibal, Peñablanca, Cagayan Province

Explore the Jackpot Cave in Penablanca, Cagayan, and experience heaven on earth. At an impressive 115 meters deep, it's the second-deepest cave in the Philippines. 

This network of caves gets its name from the fact that it appears to be golden when light shines on the stalactites and stalagmites.

Read more: Sama All This Summer: Best Outdoor Activities in the Philippines for ₱3,000 or Less

👉 Banal na Bundok

Location: Orchard Village, Magalang, Pampanga

If you’re looking for a pilgrimage site near the metro, you can visit Banal na Bundok in Magalang, Pampanga, at the foot of Mount Arayat. Just a few hours' drive from Manila, you can trek the summit for the Stations of the Cross and see the statue of the Risen Christ, which stands 35 feet tall. 

👉 Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park

religious tourism in the philippines - puerto princesa subterranean river national park

  • Location: Puerto Princesa, Palawan
  • Price: ₱2,500 (join-in tour/joiner rate)

How does a boat ride through a cave system sound? The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in Palawan[2] is the longest underground river in the country and the third deepest cave. Enjoy a soul-soothing experience and marvel at the rock formations. 

Final Thoughts

Time passes by so quickly, and life is usually very hectic. Everyone needs to slow down and take a breather. 

Perhaps visiting these natural wonders and experiencing religious tourism in the Philippines will help you reset, recharge, and refocus so that you can appreciate life better. So what are you waiting for?

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Rouselle has over eight years of writing experience in the personal finance niche. She has written feature stories, articles, and how-to guides on various personal finance and trending lifestyle topics. Before that, she briefly worked in banking and was a licensed life insurance advisor. When not writing, Rouselle likes to read books and binge-watch films and series. Follow Rouselle on Linkedin.


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