Check out this list of churches in Rizal!

Rizal, the booming province sitting in the eastside of Metro Manila, is a place where the beauty of nature and the wonders of history collide. If you want a quick getaway from the hustle and bustle of Metro Manila, then Rizal is one of the places you can seek refuge.

Aside from its notable natural beauty, Rizal is also famous for its collection of historical churches scattered all throughout the province. These churches not only serve as religious landmarks but also stand as cultural treasures that withstood the test of time. Each of these churches whisper a unique story to tell, from the wonders of the Spanish colonial era to the promises of the present time.

Let Vista Land International take you on to an astonishing journey of unveiling some of the most famous churches in Rizal province. Whether you are a history buff, a devotee looking for Visita Iglesia churches this holy week, or simple a curious traveler, this post will take you on a journey through time and help you appreciate the beauty and significance of these historic churches.

What are some of the famous churches in Rizal?

St. Mary Magdalene Parish Church (Pililla, Rizal)

churches in rizal
Pililla Church. Photo: Judgefloro, Wikimedia Commons

St. Mary Magdalene Parish Church, also known as the Pililla Church, started its humble roots way back in 1572, when Franciscan missionaries first arrived in the town to spread the word of God. In 1583, the priests decided to erect a church in honor of St. Mary Magdalene. Far from what the present church looks like, the establishment was firstly made out of nipa, cogon grass, and straw. However, in 1632, a fire devasted the burned the structure to dust.

But no fire can burn down the faith of its devotees. In between 1670 to 1673, the reconstruction of the church started, using more durable materials such as adobe. Its bell tower is also reported to have undergone restoration as well. Today, Pililla Church stands as one of the famous seven churches destinations in Rizal.

San Ildefonso Parish Church (Tanay, Rizal)

Sitting a few kilometers away from Pililla Church is the San Ildefonso De Toledo Parish Church located at Tanay. Also called Tanay Church, this religious destination boasts early Renaissance architecture, with the construction and completion dating back to 1773 to 1783.

A testament to the town’s rich history and culture, Tanay Church was declared as National Cultural Treasure by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) in 2001 and as a historical site by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) in 1939. Excellent craftsmanship is also shown through its famed retablos or altars and the 14 Stations of the Cross depicted through bas relief technique believed to be created by the natives of Tanay.

With its magnificent architecture and preservation of history, Tanay Church stands as one of the famous destinations in Rizal.

St. Jerome Parish Church (Morong, Rizal)

St. Jerome Parish Church
St. Jerome Parish Church. Photo: Jonald P. Dimaano, Wikimedia Commons

Upon visiting this church, one may immediately notice the two statues of Chinese-inspired lions guarding its entrance. Another notable feature is the octagonal church belfry offering a scenic view of the area. As striking as these features are, is also the church’s history.

This is because St. Jerome Parish Church was built under forced labor way under the Spanish colonization way back in 1615. Men, women, and even children were forced to dig and carry lime, stones, sands, and gravel from various sources such as the mountains and the Morong River.

This church also had its fair share of witnessing the Filipinos strife for freedom against its colonizers, evident in the bullet holes sustained by the structure.

NHCP declared this church as a historical site in 1939. It also houses a first-class relic of their patron saint, St. Jerome.

Sta. Ursula Parish Church (Binangonan, Rizal)

Nested at the heart of Binangonan is a three-century old church, bearing timeless stories and secrets of the Philippines’ history.

Built way back from 1792 to 1800, the church was erected in veneration to the Romano-British Christian martyr, St. Ursula. It started out as small chapel during the 15th century and expanded to a bigger one with its convento added in the 17th century to cater to its growing number of followers. While it has undergone major renovation, especially in its interiors, the red bricks of the stone church remains as that of the original.

Our Lady of Light Parish Church (Cainta, Rizal)

The Diocesan Shrine – Our Lady of Parish Church was initially constructed way back in 1707. It has seen and survived a handful of calamities and destructions– from an earthquake that struck the town in 1853 to a fire caused by Filipino American War in 1899. The present church began its restoration in 1966.

Their patron saint is Madre Santissima del Lume, which is known through its other names such as Nuestra Señora de la Luz, Our Lady of Light, Virgen ng Caliuanagan, and Maria, Ina ng Kaliwanagan. The patroness was introduced via a painting brought Fr. Bartolommeo Cavanti, SJ all the way from Italy. Unfortunately, the original painted perished in the fire in 1899.

NHCP declared this church as a national historial site in 2007. In addition, Our Lady of Light Parish is also one of the Jubilee churches of the Diocese of Antipolo.

Saint Joseph Parish Church (Baras, Rizal)

baras church
Baras Church. Photo: RamonFVelasquez, Wikimedia Commons

One of the oldest churches in Rizal, Saint Joseph Parish Church is highly regarded for its distinct Baroque Architectural design that stood the test of time. The construction of the church started in 1595 and was completed in 1686.

The exterior of the structure possess the typical elements of a Franciscan church built during that time. From the balustrade design to the triangular pediment perched atop the chequerboard pattern of brick walls. Like other churches in Binangonan, Saint Joseph Parish lacks a ceiling, thus exposing the wooden trusses that support the roof can be seen. And since the walls are not plastered, church goers can easily see and appreciate the bricks of which the church was made, highlighting the century-old elegance and integrity of the building.

Old Churches in Rizal: Standing the Test of Time

Rizal’s old churches hold a rich history that is deeply intertwined with the cultural fabric of the region. Preserving and promoting this heritage is crucial in ensuring that future generations can appreciate and learn from the architectural and historical significance of these landmarks. By actively engaging in restoration efforts, community events, and educational programs, we can help to safeguard these treasured sites for years to come.

Exploring the rich history of old and famous churches in Rizal has been an enlightening journey through time and faith. These architectural marvels stand as testaments to the enduring legacy of the past and the spiritual devotion of the present. As we uncover the stories behind these sacred landmarks, we are reminded of the cultural heritage and significance they hold within the hearts of the community. May this exploration inspire you to embark on your own pilgrimage to discover the beauty and history of these cherished churches in Rizal.