In every town of every province in the Philippines, historical churches are waiting to be visited. There’s a certain distinct charm these holy, vintage places exude aside from their grand architecture that withstood the test of time.
I’m a fan of old churches. I make sure at least one church/parish/cathedral/shrine/chapel is included in the itinerary to complete the trip. Little did I realize now, that I have already been to 3 of the oldest churches in the country. All of these are in Visayas – Cebu and Bohol.
Back in 2009, Cebu is among the places of my early travels. I went there as part of a group tour and we were able to visit Basilica del Santo Niño (Minor Basilica of the Holy Child). It is the oldest Roman Catholic church in the country, founded in 1565 and built on the spot where the image of the Child Jesus was found during the expedition of Miguel Lopez de Legazpi. It is later renowned by Pope Paul VI as the symbol of birth and growth of Christianity in the Philippines.
Also in 2009 I had the chance to visit Baclayon Church aka The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary Parish, located in Bohol. This coral stone church was found in 1596 and has been the oldest Christian settlement of the province. Its structure was severely damaged by an earthquake in 2013 that required major restorations after. Today, some renovations are still ongoing and hopefully this gem will be back in glory soon.
In 2015, I went back to Cebu to explore its stunning northern most island of Bantayan. Aside from its pristine white beach resides another old church that can’t be missed. The St. Peter and Paul Parish in the simple and quaint town of Bantayan was found in 1580 by Augustinian priests.
It’s an amazing experience to see and explore these old world charms in our lifetime. Here are other cathedrals found in Visayas: San Diego Pro-Cathedral of Silay, Bacolod, Lazi Convent and Church of Siquijor, St. John the Baptist Cathedral of Kalibo, Aklan and Jaro Cathedral in Iloilo.
MORE vintage churches… St. John the Baptist Parish in Camalig, Albay, Our Lady of Immaculate Conception in Oslob, Cebu, St. William the Hermit Cathedral in La Union, St. James the Great Parish in Pangasinan and Minor Basilica of the Our Lady of Peñafrancia in Naga, Camarines Sur.
While most churches are made of coral stones, there are also those made of bricks and concretes in pastel color. 🙂
The privilege of traveling to different places whether local or international is a blessing on its own. It’s definitely worth the visit to say a little prayer of gratitude and make it a fulfilled journey. 😉