Growing up with my maternal grandmother who is a Roman Catholic by faith and having studied in an exclusive Catholic school and at the only Catholic university in the Philippines, greatly influenced me with my fascination with churches.
Being a native of Zamboanga City, I am particularly proud of the famous Fort Pilar. It has been made famous for its historical background. Fort Pilar, like no other churches I know has no walls to enclose the church. The "fort" itself serves as its altar. History says that the fort was built to shield residents from attacks from foreign invaders. Stories were also told, that during the war, the presence of the Nuestra Senora del Pilar de Zaragoza was seen to have protected the residents from bomb attacks from the invaders.
Our family are regular church-goers, although in Project 4 were we reside, we have a parish church, The Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Parish, we sometimes go to other churches to hear mass. There was also a time when my father was active in being a Knights of Columbus, we,as a family was part of the community of the Manila Cathedral Church. It was during this time that my fascination started. I got so amazed with the intricate details of the church and that it being "the" Manila Cathedral.
At the nearby Quirino district, there you'll find the St. Joseph's Parish, from a simple parish in the 80's it has transformed into a Shrine. It is now known as the St. Joseph's Shrine.
In high school, I studied at Stella Maris College, in Cubao, Quezon City. The compound houses the schools, the convent of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary and a quaint chapel, both for student's use and for the nuns.
As mentioned above, I likewise studied at the University of Sto. Tomas along Espana Blvd., in Manila. There you'll find the Santisimo Rosario Parish, most commonly known as the UST Chapel. The church with its bold structure and baroque inspired details is where I used to pass my time waiting for the next class. The structure where the church is is quite big because it also houses the Faculties of Ecclesiastical Studies as well as the Seminary of the Orders of Preachers but church itself is not as much, it's just strategically situated in the middle of the whole structure. This is where me and my husband got married.
As I mature, I was able to visit more churches on my own. Whether to hear mass on a regular Sunday or to attend occasions such as baptism, weddings, funerals and the famous Catholic tradition of Visita Iglesia.
On work related-activities, especially on out-of-town trips, I make it a point to visit churches in the area, be it small chapel or a grand church. In the town of Antipolo, I've visited the Antipolo Church, the altar where you'll find the black Mary most commonly known as the Lady of Peach and Good Voyage is directly under the dome structure which is very visible upon entering Antipolo town proper. I've come to visit an old (if not the oldest) church in Bohol. During our honeymoon, me and my husband visited the famous Basilica del Sto. Nino de Cebu. It is the oldest Roman Catholic church in Cebu and it has retained its original stoned texture and natural color. Its architectural design is a mixture of Muslim, Romanesque and neo-classical design.
When we had a son, we had him christened at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Kamuning, Quezon City. Aside from its gothic design with matching stained glass, it was here that my maternal grandparents had their Catholic wedding rites.
Though I've been to many churches in the metro, I know there are more to be visited.