Waiting for Iglesia ni Cristo's PH Arena
MANILA, Philippines - The Iglesia ni Cristo is one of the largest religious groups in the world with more than two million adherents.
It is widely regarded to be the largest independent Christian church in Asia and the largest entirely indigenous Christian denomination in the Philippines.
The INC's influence is felt most during elections, when politicians woo its solid voting bloc.
The INC is set to celebrate its 100th year anniversary on July 27, 2014. It was on this day in 1914 when founder Felix Manalo officially registered the church with the Philippine government. His grandson, Eduardo Manalo, is the INC's current Executive Minister.
Any doubts on the group's clout and resources will be banished by their literally monumental preparations for their 100th year.
The major feature of these preparations is the Philippine Arena now nearing completion in the Iglesia ni Cristo complex in Bocaue, Bulacan, near the North Luzon Expressway.
It will include a hospital, school, and stadium open to non-INC visitors and nearby residents. But the most glorious feature is the Philippine Arena, which, upon completion, will be the world's largest multipurpose domed arena.
Taking up 810,000 square feet (7.5 hectares) of land, it holds up a dome spanning 390,000 square feet (3.6 hectares) and can seat 50,000 people. In comparison, the dome arena next in size – Staples Center in Los Angeles, United States – holds only 21,000 people.