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Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is a church located in Zamboanga City, Philippines. It is the seat of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga. A new landmark of Zamboanga City completed in December 1999, it is perhaps the country's most modern cathedral and the only one with an elevator.

by Jhaypee Guia on July 25, 2012
Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

Modern Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception with Bell-Tower

The Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception is a church located in Zamboanga City, Philippines. It is the seat of the Archdiocese of Zamboanga.  A new landmark of Zamboanga City completed in December 1999, it is perhaps the country's most modern cathedral and the only one with an elevator.

For an idea of its dimensions: it is a 2-storey cathedral accessible by ramp & side stairs; Cruciform design accented elliptical/oval forms in the shape of candles - 3 at main entrance (foot of cruciform) and 1 each at 3 other ends of the cruciform Ground Floor: Area - 2,303.77 sq. m.; 400-500 capacity Day Chapel; 536 sq. m. Conference Room; 250 capacity Perpetual Adoration Chapel; 355 sq. m. Crypt; Public and Clergy Offices Second Floor: Area - 2,276.82 sq. m.; 1,600 to 2,000 capacities Main Cathedral; 250 each capacity Baptistry and Blessed Sacrament Chapel; 116 sq. m. Sacristy; highly proportional Sanctuary and Altar, elevated Bishop's Chair, ample area for Ordination ceremonies; approached by Front Ramps, side stairs, and winding stairs.

Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

Church Interior


The first church was originally located at the front of Plaza Pershing, where the present Universidad de Zamboanga stands. The church was designated a cathedral in 1910 when the diocese of Zamboanga was created. In 1943, the cathedral was one of the edifices bombarded by Japanese soldiers during World War II. In 1956, the cathedral was relocated beside Ateneo de Zamboanga University, formerly known as the Jardin de Chino.

Features of the cathedral

The original cathedral

The cathedral located at the Plaza Pershing was made of wood and concrete. The image of the Immaculate Conception was located at the main altar, with two Jesuit saints Ignatius of Loyola and Francis Xavier on each side. The image of the patroness was said to be spared from the bombs of World War II and was transferred to a road now known as La Purisima Street.

The old cathedral at La Purisima (1956-1998)

The former structure of the cathedral was designed in 1956. The site was used to be the chapel of the Jardin de Chino. The facade consists of the life-size sculpture of Immaculate Conception at the left side and the bell-tower at right. The chapel of the saints were located inside the area where the image outside was located. The stations of the cross were made of stained glass at each side and the added station, "Resurrection", was located near the right altar at the confession area. Then the bronze relief of the last supper was located at the day chapel which serves later as the perpetual adoration chapel.

The Metropolitan Cathedral (1998-present)

The present structure of the cathedral was built in 1998-2002 in cruciform, of which the candle-like design is appropriate to the cathedral's patron. Inside the main church is marble statue of the Immaculate Conception designed by Philippine National Artist for Sculpture Napoleon Abueva. Along the aisles are the stained-glass symbolic images of all dioceses in Mindanao from 1910 to 1984. The day chapel at the ground floor is used for weekday masses. Fronting the day chapel is the baptistery with the relic of Our Lady of the Pillar, the patroness of the city. Behind the day chapel is the columbarium with a replica of Michelangelo's "Pietà" and the stained-glass images of the 12 apostles around it. The left wing houses the parish office and the adoration chapel, while the convention hall is located in the right wing. The original statue of the Immaculate Conception, which was placed in the main altar of the old church, can be seen at the parish office.

The new structure of the Cathedral was designed by Abarro and Associates through the efforts of former Msgr. Crisanto de la Cruz, who said that the decay of the old cathedral's ceiling damaged by termites was one of the reasons why the reconstruction should take place. The design of the new cathedral was unveiled in December 1997. The old structure had been demolished a day after Easter in 1998, preserving its stained glass window and sculpture from the facade, which respectively are located at the rear portion of the new church and at the left side. The Cathedral was solemnly dedicated on December 6, 1999 with Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal of Cebu and President Joseph Estrada Ejercito as guests of honor. The day chapel, columbarium, baptistery, the multi-purpose hall and office were constructed in 2002.

A new addition to the Cathedral is the PhP4,000,000 Century Bell Tower, broke ground on the day of the Immaculate Conception, 2010. This belfry, located at the Ateneo side of the Cathedral, marks the existence of Zamboanga's archdiocese for 100 years.

Where to stay

Here is the list of accommodations located around the city of Zamboanga.

  • Lantaka Hotel By the Sea - Mayor Valderos St. , Zamboanga City
  • Garden Orchid Hotel - Gov. Camis Avenue , Zamboanga City
  • Grand Astoria Hotel - Mayor Jaldon St., Zamboanga City
  • Zamboanga Hermosa Hotel - Jaldon St., Zamboanga City
  • Woodland Resort & Restaurant - Zambowood, Zamboanga City
  • Vernell Farm & Mountain Park - Cacao, Zamboanga City
  • New Inland Resort & Restaurant - Boalan, Zamboanga City
  • Hotel Perlita - Mayor Jaldon Street, Zamboanga City
  • Hotel Preciosa - Mayor Jaldon Street, Zamboanga City
  • Azenith Royale Hotel - Gov. Camins Avenue, Zamboanga City
  • Blue Shark Pension House - Mayor Jaldon Street, Zamboanga City
  • GC Hotel - T. Claudio cor. Gov. Wood
  • Jardin de la Via - Fidela Bldg., Gov. Alvarez Ave., Zamboanga City
  • Hotel Salwa - Gov. Camins Avenue
  • Yang Hotel Tourist Inn - T. Claudio Street, Zamboanga City
  • Viva Pension House - Urdaneta Street, Zamboanga City
  • La Casa Maria Pension House - Sta. Maria, Zamboanga City
  • Platinum Tourist Inn - 4 Barcelona Street, Zamboanga City
  • MagV Royal Hotel - San Jose Road , Zamboanga City
  • Hotel Paradise Pension House - P. Reyes Street, Zamboanga City
  • David Inn Pension House - La Purisima Street, Zamboanga City

How to get there

By plane

There are daily flights to/from Manila by Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific, flights to/from Sandakan by Asian Spirit and South East Asian Airlines (SEAIR) Philippine Airlines, Air Philippines and Cebu Pacific have regular flights to Manila, Cebu, & Davao and vice versa.

By boat

Super Ferry boats are available 2 days a week for sailing from Cebu City, Davao, and Manila and vice versa. Ferries are also available to and from Sandakan.

The Port of Zamboanga is an international port of entry. It has a schedule passenger trip to Sandakan, Malaysia, a cruise ship destination and several shipping lines offer regular trips from and to Davao, Cotabato, Dipolog/Dapitan, General Santos, Pagadian, Jolo, Bongao, Isabela City, Cebu City, Dumaguete, Iloilo, Bacolod and Manila.

By road

If you are from Luzon and Visayas, the Nautical Highways (RoRo) can bring you here. Buses from major cities in Mindanao are also available.

Jeepneys and motorcycles are available as a common mode of transportation around the city.

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