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The New Cathedrals

The Philippines, a third world country of which 80% are Roman Catholics, is known for the many number of huge malls. It is the new community center where most of the Filipinos’s leisure time is spent. In fact, four of the largest in the world, are found in Metro Manila alone. Several big malls are also scheduled to open in other major urban centers around the country. Population in the top 10 cities alone where these major structures are found stood at 17 million, 19% of the total (2007 census).

The malls provide a venue for the mainly consumerist lifestyle of the Filipinos fuelled by remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFW) who, in 2010, sent over $18.8 billion in remittances. This coupled with the booming business process outsourcing (BPO) industry with the country now considered the top provider followed by India employing 350,000 Filipinos and in 2010, revenues are at $5.7 billion.

It is in these circumstances: a large Catholic population in cities and the booming mall culture that the Roman Catholic church has extended church services to the malls. The holy mass, a common sight, is often held on specific days of the week either held at the main atrium, at some quite area at the upper floors or at dedicated chapels within the mall.

These are the new cathedrals.

This is an ongoing project and has been exhibited in Noorderlicht Photo Festival 2011

About the Photographer

Estan Cabigas is a freelance photographer based in Makati City, the Philippines. His work has been exhibited locally and abroad including Chobi Mela V International Festival of Photography. He got his Diploma in Photojournalism at the Konrad Adenauer Center for Journalism and focuses on Filipino Faith and Spirituality as his long term project.
More about the photographer