The Manila Cathedral is the sixth structure to rise on this site. The first church was built of nipa and bamboo in 1581. It was burned in 1583. The second church lasted until 1588 when it was destroyed by a typhoon.
Work on a third cathedral of “three naves and seven chapels” started in 1584 and was completed in 1614. This was destroyed in the 1645 earthquake. A fifth church was built from 1872 to 1879 but this was severely damaged in the 1880 earthquake when its bell tower collapsed. It was destroyed in 1945 during the Battle of Manila.
The sixth cathedral was built from 1953 to 1958. It was elevated to the rank of Basilica Minore by Pope John Paul II in 1981 and officially named Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.
The cathedral underwent earthquake retrofitting in 2012.