Giant Bells of Manila Cathedral

I attended a wedding of a friend at Manila Cathedral last week. It was the first Catholic wedding that I attended and I am moved so much that my heart skipped a beat or two. My beloved commented that she felt a heavy feeling during the wedding. Me and my beloved got “emotional” while the bride is walking toward the altar. That scene is still imprinted on my mind. A bride, all adorned in white, walking slowly in a cavernous cathedral to bind herself, for life, with the man she loves. I almost cried during that long, slow, walk to forever.
Manila Cathedral

Suffice it to say that my friend's wedding went on smoothly. His guests also enjoyed the reception that they hosted in an events place inside Intramuros. What delighted me, aside from my friend's wedding, is the discovery of something big in Manila Cathedral.

While we were waiting for the wedding to start, I decided to walk around Manila Cathedral. I noticed a signboard on the left part of Manila Cathedral. The signboard points to interesting parts of the cathedral grounds like the souvenir shops, basilica office and the carillon bells.
Signpost pointing to bell garden of Manila Cathedral.

What caught my attention are the words “carillon bells” because it made me recall my visit to Cebu Cathedral Museum, which showcased very old bells collected all around the island of Cebu. I pulled my beloved to where the carillon bells are due to excitement. What I saw made my jaw drop.
Two giant bells of Manila Cathedral.
Giant bells of Manila Cathedral

The bells is truly gigantic! The bells that I saw in Cebu Cathedral Museum can be considered as baby bells compared to the bells of Manila Cathedral. The bells, which are seven in total, are housed inside the Jaime L. Cardinal Sin Ground Belfry. The ground belfry was inaugurated in April 2011 in honor of Cardinal Sin, who is the archbishop of Manila during the turbulent historical events like the Marcos dictatorship and the first EDSA People Power Revolution. The seven big bells were taken down from the adjacent Bell Tower to deload it of 17 tons of weight as a safety measure.
Manila Cathedral's bell tower
Manila Cathedral's bell tower

The seven bells of Manila Cathedral were foundered by Friedrich Wilhelm Schilling, who is considered as one of the best bell-founders in Germany after the Second World War. This fact explained the word “teutonicus” that I saw embossed on one of the bells.

According to the plaque outside the ground belfry, the bell of Manila Cathedral dethroned Pan-ay Bell in being the largest bell in the Philippines. Pan-ay Bell can be found inside Santa Monica Church in the province of Capiz. I haven't yet seen the Pan-ay Bell so I can't validate if what plaque said is true. What I can ensure is that the Manila Cathedral is very big. The bell's clapper is thicker than my fist.
Manila Cathedral - giant bell clapper
My hand touching the bell's clapper.

What delighted me more is when I discovered that the ground belfry is operational. The belfry guard told me that the seven bells can be rung for just for a small amount of donation to the cathedral. An idea struck me, I want these bells ring during my funeral.
Manila Cathedral- machine that operates the bells
The machine that makes Manila Cathedral's giant bells ring.

The ground belfry also serves as a souvenir shop of Manila Cathedral. Available inside the souvenir shop are religious items like the Rosary, images of saints and devotional books. The ground belfry is the centerpiece of the Rufino J. Cardinal Santos Bell Garden. Anybody can enter the bell garden and the ground belfry for free. Taking photos of the giant bells are allowed and the person who mans the souvenir shop is courteous.

I highly recommend that tourists visiting Manila Cathedral to also visit the ground belfry. Your visit will not be complete if you only saw the giant pipe organ inside Manila Cathedral. You should also see Manila Cathedral's giant bells.


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  1. I think the last time i went here eh nung 3rd year high school ako as a part of our field trip... and i remember sa may labasan may nagtitinda ng mga souvenirs

  2. Bluedreamer

    Wala na sila ngayon. Mukhang pinaalis na sila ng namamahala sa Intramuros.

  3. i never been there. gusto kong magpunta! hahaha. sabi nga nilang sobrang ganda nga raw. maraming gustong magpakasal dun eh... iba raw kasi ang dating pag dun kinasal e. dun ba kayo magpapakasal ni beloved? hahaha

    sayang... hindi kita muka mo na naka-barong! :))

  4. very nice and informative post. i have nver visited this place. what a nice place to visit!

  5. I too get emotional at weddings. Especially when it's one of my closest friends walking down the aisle. Just can't help it. You just feel so happy for them. =)

  6. Tine

    He he...OK lang na hindi mo makita yung naka-barong ako. Kasi kapag nakita mo ang kulang ng lang kabaong at lalarga na ako sa libingan. :-P

    Maganda nga sa anila Cathedral pero hindi kami duon magpapakasal. :-)


    I hope that you visit Manila Cathedral when you go home here in our country. ^_^

    Average Jane

    Tama ka. Iba talaga ang feeling kapag nasa wedding ka. Ramdam mo ang mga emosyon. :-P

  7. This bells were founded in 1958 by the German bellfounder Friedrich Wilhelm Schilling in Heidelberg, one of the most famous bellfounders of the 20th century.

  8. Thanks for the added information Anonymous.


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