Today marks the centennial anniversary of one of the most influential Philippine-based religious groups, the Iglesia Ni Cristo. While they will be celebrating their centennial at a wider and bigger venue outside Metro Manila, the Ciudad de Victoria complex in Bulacan, particularly in the 25,000-seater outdoor venue Philippine Stadium and the 55,000-seater (the biggest indoor venue in the country) Philippine Arena, the Urban Roamer has chosen to highlight today the INC’s current headquarters, their Central Complex located along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City’s Barangay New Era.
The INC has set up its central office in the present area by the early 1970s, but the Central Temple itself was completed in 1984, bearing the all-too familiar neo-Gothic grandeur that INC worship places are known for. The architect behind this massive edifice is Carlos Santos-Viola, a student of Juan Nakpil (who designed the INC’s former central temple at San Juan) and a friend of the Manalos.
For non-INC members, one place of interest to see in this complex is the Iglesia Ni Cristo Museum located at the ground level of the temple. Unfortunately, no cameras are allowed inside, so I wasn’t able to take photos of some of the interesting pieces in the museum, particularly the dioramas depicting the life of its founder Felix Manalo, reproduction of what its old worship places were like, (they used to hold those in a nipa and bamboo structure typical of bahay kubos) and the study/office of Felix Manalo which was arranged the way it was. There are also audio recordings of Felix Manalo preaching, as well as some audio-visual presentations about his son, the late Eraño Manalo, and his grandson and current executive minister of the INC, Eduardo Manalo.
While I have not managed nor dared to enter the temple itself (as much as I want to) the good folks at Net 25’s program “Landmarks” managed to give us a tour of what it looks like, as well as one of its newest features:
Currently, there are more changes ahead on the horizon in the complex as a new building is being constructed for the INC Museum. In addition, there is also being planned a convention center and a headquarters and TV for its television network, INCTV.
Regardless as to whether our beliefs are similar to those of the INC or not, there is no doubt to how much the INC has changed the landscape of the metropolis as we know it. INC structures have become landmarks in themselves that it is hard to ignore them.
That being said, the Urban Roamer greets a happy centennial anniversary to our brethren in the Iglesia Ni Cristo!
Acknowledgements as well to SkyscraperCity