But before this present structure the first cathedral, made of nipa and bamboos, was built in 1581. It was damaged by a typhoon in 1582 and razed by fire in 1583.
The new cathedral, which was made of stone, was made in 1592. It was destroyed by an earthquake in 1600.
The third cathedral, with three naves and seven chapels, was started in 1584 and blessed in 1614. It was toppled by another earthquake which shook Manila in 1645.
The magnificent fourth cathedral was constructed in 1654 to 1671 under Archbishop Miguel Poblete. It was severely damaged in 1863 by a very strong earthquake that even toppled the Palace of the Governor General of the Philippines. In 1880, another earthquake toppled its bell tower and since then until in 1959, the cathedral remained towerless.
The fifth cathedral was constructed in 1870–1879. It was solemnly blessed in December 1879. The center cross of the dome is a reference point of astronomical longitudes of the archipelago. The magnificent cathedral was toppled into ruins by bombing in 1945.The pictures you are about to see were taken March 10, 2009. This is the present cathedral and was constructed in 1954 to 1958 under Archbishop Rufino Jiao Santos of Manila and under the supervision of National Artist for Architecture Awardee, Architect Fernando Ocampo. It was elevated into the rank of minor basilica in 1981 by Pope John Paul II.